|At Collins Park watching the Gledhill Cup semi final between Red Rose Catering FC and Bloomfield Vets FC. Could the Division 1 side reach the 40th final of this prestigious competition? Pictures from the Quilligans v Fleetwood CC tie are also included.|
Decent weather and good pitch conditions for this morning's Gledhill semi finals. Both matches consisted of in-form Premier Division sides taking on confident opposition from Division 1.
At Collins Park Red Rose Catering FC were taking on Jim Baker's Bloomfield Vets FC. Whatever happened this morning reaching the semi-finals of the 40th Gledhill Cup had been a great achievement for the veterans. The team is rich with ageing talent and full of players who are used to success. A number of them may have played at the top level but every one of them would be trying their utmost to reach the 40th final of the Gledhill Cup.
Bloomfield have had another decent season in Division 1. With five games left to play the side are currently in fourth place and still have every chance of finishing third. As well as reaching the semi final of the Gledhill Cup they're also through to the last eight of the Division 1 Cup where they'll play the Philharmonic next weekend. To get this far in the Gledhill they've had to beat some tough sides.
After a first round bye they overcame talented new boys Secure Health FC 4-3 in round 2. Next they beat fellow Division 1 side CTK FC 3-1 in round 3 before beating Division 1 strugglers St Annes Ex Service 4-0 in round 4.
In the last eight they caused one of the shocks of this season's competition when they turned over Premier Division leaders Poulton 4-0 at Boundary Park. The team would be well up for it this morning. As I said before the last game the Vets are a very strong physically and have little concern for the reputation of other sides.
This morning's opponents Red Rose Catering FC were covered in their 2-1 Quarter Final win against Wrea Green on February 4th so I won't repeat myself with a review of their excellent season except to say that since that game they've picked up a further seven points from nine in the league which included a 2-2 draw against Quilligans. A strong finish to the season could see them yet finish in third place.
Everything in place for a fascinating game of football. This morning's referee was Mark Errington with John McDonald and son Ben assisting him on the sidelines. A fair sized crowd were in attendance as we got underway a couple of minutes before 11am with the Vets in the dark blue kicking towards Commonedge Road.
Red Rose Catering FC 2006/07
Referee Mark Errington (Centre) flanked by Ben McDonald (Left) and John McDonald.
Bloomfield Vets FC 2006/07
With the wind strengthening from the South West Red Rose started the brighter heading up the hill. The Vet's keeper Trevor Gray displayed some nervy handling early on and the Vets were guilty of overplaying it. Red Rose looked threatening on the break.
Dropped it ! Vet's keeper Trevor Gray.
On twenty minutes the Vets created their first real opportunity when Neil Mitchell pounced on a poor goal kick and fire over. Both keepers were struggling with goalkicks in the wind.
Red Rose fans – bizarre moon boots from North Fylde.
Strong in the air these veterans.
Ex Pool star Andy Gouck
On 34 minutes Bloomfoeld Vets took the lead. Gouck won a skirmish in midfield but still showed great composure to play a neat through ball for the pacey Tony Whittle to run on to. The Vet's striker beat the onrushing keeper to the ball and dinked it past him into the net. 0-1.
Goal scorer Tony Whittle.
Bloomfield Vets defend the free kick.
Vet's manager Jim Baker.
Neil Mitchell (Right)
Half time score : Red Rose Catering FC 0 – 1 Bloomfield Vets FC
Red Rose start the second half.
The Vets started the second half brightly. A shout for hand ball in the middle of the park was over-ruled. Mitchell took the ball on and went close.
On 54 minutesthe Vets received a thow on the left. The keeper dropped it under the challenge and in the ensuing melee Mitchell went down. There was a big shout for a penalty but referee Errington waved it away.
The injured keeper recovers with a drink.
Sweet. You should be playing mate. Hopefully, he was either injured or suspended.
Highfield Social without a game this morning.
Some of the Bloomfield contingent.
Red Rose were finally getting to grips with the wind and on 67 minutes they finally produced the equaliser. A decent pass over the full back played in the quick footed Danny Gillett and his shot across the keeper found the far corner. 1 -1.
Vet's keeper Gray can only watch on as Gillet's shot finds the target.
The chances of going through a Gledhill semi-final without contoversy were slim and it came in abundance in the 67th minute. Another great through ball found Tony Whittle clean through against the Red Rose keeper. Once again Whittle won the race but his goalbound effort was handled outside the area by the keeper. Referee Errington blew his whistle before consulting his assistant John McDonald.
The Vets players and supporters were of the view that a red card should have been produced but referee Errington ruled it accidental and a yellow was the result.
The Red Rose keeper breathes a sigh of relief as he heads back to his area.
An incensed Andy Gouck goes too far with the ref and joins the keeper in the book.
Lee Miles has his five pennyworth.
Back on with the game as the Vets went very close from the resultant free kick. The cross was headed back across goal and a shot went wide.
Nick Horne (Right)
Darren Hall goes close but the keeper makes himself big.
Well held by the Red Rose keeper under pressure in the closing stages.
Score after 90 minutes – Red Rose Catering FC 1 – 1 Bloomfield Vets FC
Into the first period of extra time and it was as you were with Red Rose kicking towards the road with the wind advantage. Three minutes in and the Vet's had a major let off. Gray was beaten by a great effort from outside the box that came back of the angle of the bar and post. The rebound looked easier to score but the striker smashed it wide.
As the games finish on Commonedge the crowd is boosted by Gardeners Arms players.
Cramp sets in.
With the last kick of the half the Vets almost scored. A corner was nodded on and Keith Johnstone with time and space fired it low and wide.
The Vets get the second period of extra time underway.
The Vets go close again.
Both teams were now dead on their feet and it could have gone either way but it was Red Rose Catering who snatched the all important goal. It had lots of similarities to the first. A break down the right played in Gillett and he shot with power and precision across the keeper and it went in off the bottom of the far post. Great finish. 2 – 1.
Brief handbags as emotions boil over.
A couple more yellows.
The final whistle goes and the rival managers shake hands.
As expected with so much at stake this was a close, interesting and hard fought Cup tie from start to finish. Heartbreaking for the Vets and their supporters to come so far and then fall at the final hurdle. They had some good chances to increase their tally but it wasn't to be. They gave it everything they had and deserve a lot of credit for giving a team heading for a third place finish in the Prem a mighty scare. Whether or not the opposition keeper should have gone is one for debate but the handball certainly denied a goalscoring opportunity. Unlucky Vets.
Congratulations to Red Rose Catering FC. They deserve a lot of praise for standing up to the physical presence of the Vets and maintaing their discipline. They did well to come from a goal behind and in the end two quality strikes from Danny Gillett made the difference. Red Rose are heading for a memorable season and will no doubt prove stern opposition for Quilligans in the Bloomfield Road showpiece final in May.
Final score : Red Rose Catering FC 2 – 1 Bloomfield Vets FC (AET)
Two goal hero Danny Gillett.
Across the road at Wren Rovers Quilligans FC took on Fleetwood Cricket Club FC of Division 1. Photo's courtesy of www.quilligansfc.co.uk
Quilligans take the lead.
Wolfie takes his number.
Back in front in extra time.
Fleetwood CC man of the match 47 year old Paul Benson who even had the audacity to nutmeg Steve Palmer. Good luck to both teams in the final