A trip to Boundary Park for the first time this season to watch the Division 1 league fixture between the Philharmonic FC and Fleetwood Cricket Club FC.

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The pre-season predictions claimed that Hydronics, the New Castle and Bloomfield Vets would occupy the top three places next May and as we reach mid October those three same clubs are already up there but what about the rest ?

Two clubs who always fancy their chances of doing well in this difficult Division are the Philharmonic and Fleetwood CC.  This will be at least each sides sixth consecutive season in this Division.  Although rarely in any danger of relegation they’re yet to make a serious challenge.  The Philharmonic’s best finish in the previous five seasons was fifth whilst Fleetwood CC have yet to make a top six finish.

The last ten matches between the two has seen the overall points tally shared with four home wins and one away win apiece.  In the previous two seasons Fleetwood CC have had the edge with three wins out of the last four.  Both sides have had a decent start in 2006/07.  The Philly claim to be the oldest club in Sunday football with secretary Steve Newton there since day one.  They’re celebrating their twenty fifth season as the Philharmonic.

This morning the Philly were fourth in the table two points behind third placed Bloomfield Vets but having played a game more.  Three wins and two draws account for the eleven points they’ve racked up from the first twenty-four available.  Their best league win came on October 1st with a 5-1 win over Highcross.

Last week Dave Moss’ men crashed out of the Gledhill Cup to 3A side Wrea Green.  This after a round 2 win aginst Elswick.  Could they pick themselves up for this week’s important fixture ?

Fleetwood CC are one of the Division’s in-form teams.  They were only a point behind the Philharmonic in the table this morning but crucially they had three games in hand.  They’ve enjoyed three wins and a draw in the first five league matches.

At start of play they were the only team to have beaten leaders Hydronics in the league when winning 4-1 on September 17th.  Their only defeat of the season came in midweek on August 9th when losing 3-1 to the Highcross.

After a first round bye in the Gledhill it took a replay to get past Division 2A side West Coast Tackle Postal.  A 3-3 draw in the opener was followed by a 6-2 win in the replay.  In round 3 they beat another 2A side in the shape of Claremont Cons 5-2 last week. Their reward for that win will be a Round 4 money spinner away against Premier side Highbury in a local derby on November 12th.

A win this morning would put them in a great position and with those games in hand help set them up for a possible promotion challenge.

Good weather and pitch conditions once again.  The listed referee Mark Errington had to cry off so it was left to Fleetwood CC manager Kev Thompson to take up the whistle.  He got the match underway a little late with Fleetwood CC in the blue and white white stripes kicking off.

Philharmonic FC  (Manager Dave Moss bottom right)

Fleetwood Cricket Club FC (Manager Kev Thompson back left)

The blue boots of Stuart Geddes get us underway.

An oldie but goodie, Philharmonic stalwart keeper Geoff Barnsley.

Carl Simkin.

The lovely Jenny out watching boyfriend Jordan play for the Philly.

Fleetwood CC started much the brighter but it was the Philharmonic who created the first good chance.  Jordan Brownlie blocked a clearance by Fleetwood keeper Simon Crellin.  He latched on to the loose ball but his shot across goal ended up going out to safety.

On thirty munutes Philly keeper Barnsley had to scramble across his goal to keep out a great effort from Tony.

The Philharmonic went close firstly from a cross then from a corner.  Click here to see live video of the Philly pressure plus some good goal keeping from Simon Crellin.

After a half of relatively few clear cut chances the game came alive in the last five minutes of the half.  Fleetwood’s Mark Smith found himself clear in the opposition area.  Neat control and a composed deft finish from eight yarde gave his team the lead. 0-1.

With the half time interval rapidly approaching the Philharmonic broke quickly upfield.  Simkin was played clear on the left flank.  His perfect cross found the head of Gilmartin who’s effort on goal could only be parried by Crellin and first on to the loose ball was Jordan Brownlie who fired home for the equaliser.  1-1.

Gilmartin gets on the end of Simkin’s cross to set up the Philly equaliser.

Half time score :
  Philharmonic FC 1 -1 Fleetwood Cricket Club FC

Dave Moss gives his half time team talk.

Some players find it less inspiring than others.

The start of the second half.

The Philharmonic were struggling for a team today.  Striker Glen Worden was missing at a wedding for one.  At the half time interval two players (Including keeper Geoff Barnsley) had to leave as their junior team were involved in an early cup kick off.  This meant that the old guard had to step into the breach.  Manager Dave Moss had to go in goal whilst long standing club servant and secretary Steve Newton went up front.

After only twenty seconds manager Moss may have been thinking that this wasn’t a good idea as he retrieves Staurt Geddes’ fine left footed finish from the bottom corner.  1-2.

On 51 minutes a Fleetwood player was lucky to stay on the pitch after petulantly lashing out at a Philly player.  Yellow card.

Three minutes later and Fleetwood increased their lead.  The Philharmonic conceded a free kick just outside their own area.  Keeper Moss lined up the wall but a swerving free-kick from Kevin Deary eluded both wall and keeper.  (Click here to see live video of the free-kick)

Steve Newton.

Fleetwood CC fans.  Jordan Gregory (Left) out watching dad Paul alongside pal Cameron McGee.  Having a good drink of the St Annes Ex Service water bottles.

On 58 minutes the Philly fell further behind.  A corner was poorly dealt with and Stuart Geddes nodded over the top of Moss to score his second of the game.  1-4.The Philharmonic looked a beaten side.  Dave Moss’ fifteen eventful minutes in goal ended as Dave Beardsworth took over the gloves with Moss moving into defence.

This week’s ‘Spot the Ball’ competition.

The changes apeared to have the desired effect as Newton rolled back the years to beat his man and cross the ball for the advancing Ossie Gilmartin to fire home on 63 minutes.  2-4

Dave Beardsworth

Five minutes later and after looking dead and buried the Philharmonic were right back in the match after Richard Irving scored a good goal to make it 3-4.  Game on.

Fleetwood CC keeper Simon Crellin.

Philly’s spirited fightback seemed to spur Fleetwood back into the match.  A Stuart Geddes effort was brilliantly tipped over by Beardsworth before a Fleetwood CC player missed a golden opportunity to wrap things up.

Dave Moss (Left) now in defence.

Jordan Brownlie

There were to be no more chances of note.

Final score :  Philharmonic FC 3 – 4 Fleetwood Cricket Club FC

When the match finally came alive late in the first half it turned into an interesting game with lots of goals and a few twists and turns.  A good three points for Fleetwood CC who move up into fourth spot.  They full deserved the victory  Their excellent early season form continues.  Stuart Geddes was on his usual good form and is a great signing for Kevin Thompson’s squad.

A depleted Philharmonic squad will take a lot from this game.  The 1-1 half time scoreline was fair enough but losing the keeper at half time ultimately took its toll.  Still, good to see Moss and Newton make rare appearances.  No longer spring chickens they’ll be aching in the morning.  The Philharmonic have a good front two in Gilmartin and Brownlie and the winger Simkin is a good provider.  They may still finish in the top six this season but they’ll need to increase the size of the squad.

Sportspy 2006/07