|Great news from Victory Park, Chorley as Quilligans overcome a very good Elton Vale side to reach the final of the Lancashire Sunday Trophy.|
With all the rain of last night and throughout the morning I thought that this fixture may have been in some danger but an improvement in the conditions during the afternoon left the Victory Park pitch in good nick.
Elton Vale started very much the brighter and two decent efforts from distance troubled keeper Roskell. The first took a deflection and shaved a post and the other moved in the air and had to be palmed away for a corner.
Straight from the off it was clear that Elton were a very good footballing side playing short one touch passes at pace. In the end it was their desire to pass it about in all areas of the pitch that proved to be their undoing.
On six minutes and following their first real offensive move Quilligans took the lead. Palmer picked up the ball in midfield and sprayed it out wide. The cross picked out the feet of Wayne Gardiner who controlled it well, took it across the defender before shooting it low on the turn past the Elton keeper into the far corner. 0-1.
A great finish by Gardiner.
On 13 minutes and following Quilligans second attack they were 2-0 up. Elton like to pass it across the back four no matter what the occasion or whatever the danger. Instead of clearing it down the line the Elton defender played a poor pass across his own box. Broadbent intercepted and did well to maintain control of the ball under a heavy challenge but he came up with it, looked up and placed it past the keeper. Good strength and composure from the big man. 0-2 and something of a cushion.
For the rest of the half Quilligans were on the back-foot. Elton look capable of passing any team to death but all too often their good work broke down on the edge of the opposition box either as a result of a poor last ball or good defending. Lots of possession but few clear cut chances and when they did get through Roskell dealt with it.
Half time score : Elton Vale FC 0 – 2 Quilligans FC
The majority view of the travelling Quilligan's supporters was that their team were fortunate to be 2-0 ahead at the interval. All agreed that the first fifteen minutes of the second half would be crucial. What was needed was another quick goal after the break like we had at Ingol in the Quarter Final. Four minutes into the second period and Quilligans scored the all important third. Once again Elton pressed the self destruct button. Playing it out from the back they came unstuck as another ambitious (suicide) pass square across the back four came up woefully short. The Elton keeper rushed out to try and save the day but Broadbent was always the favourite. He took it round the keeper and from the angle and 20 yards out he still had a lot to do but he rifled it into the far corner to make it 0-3.
After the usual inquest and headshaking Elton came back strong once again. Quill's took the injured Gardiner off and replaced him with Ryan Roberts. This left five in midfield with Lee Broadbent as the lone striker. For so long it worked but on 79 minutes Elton pulled one back. Some loose control in midfield gifted possession to Elton.
The player took the ball on with great pace but seemed to get the ball caught under his feet. This combined with a Quilligan's challenge forced the referee into awarding a free kick in a dangerous position. Despite the best efforts of the wall the Elton player converted a great free kick. It was in all the way. Great finish but yet another goal conceded by Quills from a free kick.
Quilligans needed to keep the ball but Elton were tenacious in going forward. On 87 minutes they were awarded a penalty. I was behind the far goal but it looked to me as though the Quilligans defender slid in and got the ball. Anyway, the penalty was well converted setting up a very nervous last few minutes.
Elton Vale make it 2-3 from the penalty spot.
Fingernails are bitten by the travelling Fylde support.
Elton pushed forward searching for the equaliser and went close on a couple of occasions. At the other end with gaps appearing Quilligans had a couple of chances to put the game beyond doubt, Pearson going the closest with a golden opportunity. After, what seemed five minutes of additional time the referee finally blew to put Quilligans through to the Lancashire Sunday Trophy final.
A strange game. 0-3 would have certainly flattered Quilligans and perhaps 2-3 was by far a better reflection of the match. To be honest the Bury outfit enjoyed a lot more possession, they are undoubtedly an excellent footballing side but over confident defending gifted two guilt edged chances to Quilligans and Lee Broadbent made them pay. At the other end Quilligans were strong in defence and for all their possession and passing Vale's best efforts came from outside the box. A gutsy, disciplined performance from Quilligans.
Quilligans FC will either play Arkwrights FC (Preston) or Gathurst FC (Wigan). They play their semi-final at the same venue next Thursday.
We started with 156 teams, Quilligans have made it through to the last two – let's hope they now go on and win it.
Final score : Elton Vale FC 2 – 3 Quilligans FC