|Round 2 of the Division 3 Cup this week at Blackpool Road, St Annes where Autoweld FC were taking on Pump & Truncheon Celtic FC under blue skies.|
Down to the last sixteen of the Division 3 Cup and surprisingly there were only four teams still left in from Division 3A. Two of them met at Blackpool Road, St Annes this morning.
Autoweld FC and Pump & Truncheon Celtic FC have already met twice in league action with Autoweld doing the double but as we witnessed last week the Cup can throw up some strange results.
Autoweld FC, under manager Rick Melling, are having a very good season. After three seasons struggling at the wrong end of Division 2B they were finally relegated last season. Into the final third of the season they're well placed for an immediate return if they can retain their form for the remainder of the campaign.
Currently, they're in second place one point behind leaders Mythop Leisure FC. With four games left three wins will guarantee them at least third place along with a good chance of promotion. In the Gledhill they beat 3B's Fairhaven in Round 2 after receiving a 1st Round bye. In Round 3 all further hopes of advancement were crushed as they were hammered 15-0 by Alliance Champions Quilligans FC. To reach round 2 of the Divisional Cup they initially had to get past Blackpool Area Divers FC who they beat 3-2 at Boundary Park.
Opponents Pump & Truncheon Celtic FC are also having a very good season. They believe in steady improvement and in recent seasons they've finished 12th, 10th and 8th in Division 3A. Unsurprisingly, they currently occupy 6th position in the 3A table.
Manager and genial Irishman Dave Smyth is one of the Alliance's great characters with few displaying as much enthusiasm for Sunday football. They too have four games left and in all honesty a sixth place finish is the best they can hope for. Saying that, they've taken four points off Clifton Skye and a point off favourites Wrea Green so they can take a lot of confidence from those results into next season.
They received a bye to Round 2 of this competition and in their only other Cup game of the season thus far they were eliminated from the Gledhill Cup at the furst hurdle after going down 2-1 to 2A side Talbot Sports & Social.
All set then for an entertaining Cup tie. Great conditions for football all weekend long and no change this morning. Flat calm, blue skies, a very good surface and warm sunshine at 11am as stand in referee John Coyle's whistle got the game underway with Autoweld in the blue and black kicking towards the sea. I'm becoming a bad omen for games with no referee in recent weeks.
Autoweld FC 2006/07
Pump & Truncheon Celtic FC 2006/07
Pump's prolific Italian goalscoring legend Luigi Farina
Celtic veteran John Coyle (Injured) takes up the whistle after the referee 'no show'.
In-form Autoweld FC striker Tyrone Melling.
Celtic keeper Steve Deakin.
Autoweld FC keeper Chris Parkin.
Well over the bar.
It's a beautiful day.
In all honesty Autoweld were a shambles from the start. No manager (Unavoidable circumstances), six players missing and no corner flags they didn't look like a side that's currently second in the table. Pump Celtic took full advantage and straight from the off they were the dominant force creating some good spells of possession.
On 27 minutes they were free around the back. The ball was cleverly laid back for the striker and although his shot was initially well saved by Parkin the Italian legend Luigi Farina was on hand to make sure of the rebound. 0-1.
Pump & Truncheon Celtic take the lead.
Parkin is deflated.
As the half progressed Autoweld went from bad to worse as inter player niggling set in. However, on 38 minutes Tyrone Melling found space and his fierce 25 yard drive had to be palmed away by Deakin. As the half time whistle approached Deakin pulled off another save from Thompson but the ensuing corner was safely cleared away.
Half time score : Autoweld FC 0 – 1 Pump & Truncheon Celtic FC
Autoweld FC mascots Callum King (right) with his mate Ethan Kirkham.
After an frank exchange of views at half time Autoweld went out with a better attitude but they suffered a collective body blow only thirty seconds into the second period when Farina danced through beating three defenders before placing a left foot shot past Parkin into the bottom corner. A great goal. 0-2.
Farina receives the congratulations of his team mates after scoring a glorious second goal.
Celtic's manager Dave Smyth.
The Pump Celtic bench.
At 2-0 down Autoweld finally got their heads down and began to play a bit more football. Player spats were self defeating so at last they began to pull together. On 57 minutes a neat exchange of passes left the impressive Ryan Thompson through on goal with pace and he finished with aplomb with a cross shot into the bottom corner. 1-2.
Thompson hurries the ball back to the centre spot.
The Pump substitute makes an appearance.
The game was far more entertaining than earlier in the match with Autoweld pushing forward leaving gaps at the back. On one such break Farina had a fantastic chance to kill the game off but after taking one touch too many his shot was very well saved by Parkin as pictured in the photograph below.
Autoweld were still going forward and during a good spell of pressure they almost equalised. Click here to see live video of a good shot and save along with the resultant corner.
47 year old Scot Ed Fallon uses all his experience to outjump the Autoweld youngster and win the high ball.
Celtic go close at the other end.
Final score : Autoweld FC 1 – 2 Pump & Truncheon Celtic FC
A poor display from Autoweld but take nothing away from Pump Celtic they were well organised and well up for the match this morning. Manager Dave Smyth can be well pleased with his team's performance this morning. An excellent forward display from Farina. They'll be flying the flag for Division 3A in their Quarter Final tie aginst 3B's Ward Heating FC.
Autoweld FC don't need me to spell out the reasons for their defeat this morning but I will do. Disorganisation and a poor attitude against a team they've beaten twice in the league and who they thought they would beat once more by simply turning up this morning but it wasn't to be. If they're to gain that all important third place they'll have to get their act together and recapture their earlier season form.