Out watching the 3rd Round Gledhill Cup tie between Division 2A sides Inkmasters and the Squirrel at the ground of Blackpool Mechanics FC.

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I think it’s fair to say that the 40th Gledhill Cup has not bean easy on the lower league teams this season with many of them receiving very tough draws in the early rounds.  Because of this only two sides from outside of Division 1 are guaranteed a place in the last sixteen.  One of them will come from the Little Fat Jacks v Great Eccleston tie and the other from today’s featured game between Inkmasters and the Squirrel.

Inkmasters were in seventh place in the table this morning.  They’ve picked up eleven points from the first twenty-one available which has made for a decent start.  Last season a strong finish to the season saw them finish fourth in the table.  They’ll have to work hard to finish as high especially when you consider their recent 10-0 defeat to favourites Gardeners.

In order to reach round 3 they’ve already had to negotiate two tricky ties against FC Reebok (3A) and Talbot Sports & Social (2A).  Last season manager Colin Sweeney and his team took an early exit in round 2 after being knocked out 10-2 by Highfield Social.

Opponents Squirrel were one place above Inkmasters in the 2A table this morning in sixth.  They had a point more and a game in hand.  Last season they were relegated from Division 1 after finishing bottom. 

In a season to forget the Bispham outfit picked up only fourteen points.  After relegation they’ve regrouped and almost exceeded last season’s paltry points total already.  After beating Claremont Cons and Talbot Sports as well drawing against little Fat Jacks Martin Ramsden’s men have proved themselves as a force for promotion.

To reach round 3 they had to beat 3B’s the Burlington in round 2 after receiving a first round bye.  Like Inkmaster they too fell in round 2 last season as I watched them get beat 2-0 by AFC Dunes.  Having yet to face each other in the league I expect this was the first meeting ever between these two clubs.

After a season’s absence it was good to see Sunday football back at Blackpool Mechanics.  A lot of work and expense has been ploughed into the ground over the close season and it’s paid off as the venue is currently looking in a very good condition. 

We’ve had a lot of rain this week and despite Mechanics Reserves playing on it yesterday the pitch was in great shape as referee Peter Jones got the match underway at 11am with the Squirrel in the blue kit defending the factory end in mild, dry and calm conditions.

Inkmasters FC (Manager Colin Sweeney far right)

Squirrel FC (Manager Martin Ramsden far left)

Squirrel get the game underway.

The Squirrel were slow to get going and found themselves under some early pressure.  It was little surprise when the home team took the lead on twelve minutes.  A long ball wasn’t dealt with properly by Squirrel centre back Danny Davies.  The two Inkmasters forwards worked a neat one two with Mark Wright smashing a first time right footed shot past Eggleston from the edge of the box.  Great finish. 1-0.


Inkmasters celebrate the opener.

They were still enjoying going 1-0 up two minutes later when the Squirrel equalised.  A great through ball from Steve Beattie found Adam Silver alone and unmarked.  He turned and made no mistake as he placed the ball past the onrushing Smedley from eight yards.  1-1.

“Good goal mate”

Squirrel legend Eddie Kay

On twenty five minutes Inkmasters regained the lead.  The Squirrel again failed to clear the ball from their own box.  Inkmaster’s Andy Barrow was upended and referee Jones quite rightly pointed to the spot.  Keith McGivern made no mistake. 2-1.  (Click here to lee live video of McGivern’s penalty)

Squirrel boss Martin Ramsden struggles to get his team going.

The Squirrel go close from a corner.

Yes……………….grass in the Mechanic’s penalty area.

Inmasters were having the lion’s share of possession and looked far more comfortable on this wide pitch.  On 31 minutes they made it 3-1.  An incisive defence splitting pass was latched onto by Andy Barrow and he made no mistake as he fired it past Eggleston.  Another quality finish.

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