|The second trip of the season to the Guardian pitches to watch the big Division 3 Cup quarter final between Mythop Leisure FC who were second in 3A against 3B leaders Cash & Carry Kitchens FC. Who would go through to the semi final?|
Fortunately, the gales of last weekend had eased to give a good week of weather. Great conditions for the Cup at last. A semi final place against either Ward Heating FC (3B) or Pump & Truncheon Celtic FC (3A) was the prize on offer for the victors of today's match.
Home side Mythop LeisureFC are in their second BFSFA season under manager Matt Smith. In their debut season they only lost two out of twenty-two league games winning fifteen and drawing five. In any other season it would probably have given them the title but with champions Progress Property Management FC and runners up Blackpool Rangers FC only losing one match each Mythop's commendable effort was only good enough for third place. The Rangers' manager, in a very rare compliment, stated that they were the best team they'd played all season.
Mythop were unhappy to only receive promotion to 3A rather than Division 2 but they quickly shrugged off that disappointment and got their heads down. Going into late March the team are second in the league level on points with Wrea Green FC who have two games in hand. One more point will guarantee Mythop at least runners up spot and promotion to Division 2. Last season they reached the semi-final of the Division 3 Cup before being knocked out by AFC Dunes at Commonedge Road after extra time. In order to reach this morning's quarter final they beat Clifton Skye FC 5-1 in the opening round before receiving a home walk-over against the now defunct Welcome Pub FC in round 2. In the last nineteen games they've only lost twice and both defeats came in the league against Clifton Skye who beat them easily. This season's Gledhill ended in round 2 after a 2-1 defeat against last season's rivals Progress Property. With two crucial back to back games coming up home and away against leaders Wrea Green this will be the biggest week of Mythop's season.
Today's opponents started their Alliance participation in Division 3B as the Brunswick FC but after recently securing a new sponsor they've now renamed as Cash & Carry Kitchens FC. Both names have been a familiar site at the top of the 3B table for many months now. Currently, they're twelve points clear of second placed Fairhaven FC. They only need one more league win to guarantee promotion and runners up spot. The title looks the more likely outcome but they still require three wins from the last four games to make sure as fierce rivals Royal FC still have the games left to catch them if they slip up.
Cash & Carry Kitchens FC, like Mythop, are motley collection of lower league journeymen, ageing talent and fresh faced youth. Their only league defeat in twenty-two league games already played came against Spindles FC in a 3-2 defeat back on September 17th. Since then manager Russell Perrett's men have put together an impressive eighteen game run in the league and this competition. Reaching the quarter finals has been a relative stroll. They beat 3A strugglers Brun Grove FC 5-1 in round 1before going on to knock out the Alliance's bottom club Staining CES Electrical FC 2-0 in round 2. Gledhill Cup interest ended in round 1 with an opening round 5-2 defeat to Blackpool Area Divers FC. Along with Hydronics FC of Division 1 they're the only BFSFA team to break through the one hundred league goals barrier.
An intriguing fixture then to look forward to between two teams who were very much in form. Amazingly, it looked as though most, if not all, of the players, officials and supporters had successfully negotiated the complexities involved with the move to British Summer Time. This morning's referee was Peter Jones and with the sun breaking through his whistle shattered the peace and quiet of Lytham suburbia and we were underway with Mythop in the blue and black kicking towards the sea.
Mythop Leisure FC 2006/07
Cash & Carry Kitchens FC 2006/07
Mythop stopper Glen Bould in the spiderman type ensemble.
Kitchen's keeper Dave Rimmington.
The Kitchens began the game with the chill easterly breeze in their faces but they started confidently against higher league opposition. On five minutes they took the lead. An incisive throughball from John Whittle found Paul Stanger on-side and the prolific striker made absolutely no mistake as he rifled it under the body of the advancing Mythop keeper. 0-1.
Stanger acknowledges the Kitchen's followers.
“He'll live, let's get on with it.”
Both teams finally settled down with each trying to play football on the deck. Few chances at either end as defences dominated.
Russ Perrett (Left) and Paul Allen in a midfield tussle.
The ref parks his van in the best place for maximum publicity.
A bad tackle on Mythop centre half Allen results in a yellow card.
It's the end of Shaggy's involvement in the game as he can't continue. An eventful 30 minutes as he put himself about in numerous crunching challenges but eventually came out on the wrong side. “I only woke up at twenty to eleven, I should have stayed in bed” was his insightful comment.
Mythop were soon to miss Allen's presence at centre half as on 35 minutes the visitors increased the lead. Stanger's strength saw off the challenge of Rob Cracknell. In the above picture Stanger weighs up his options before crossing to the far post. It still should have been cleared but more shoddy defending saw the Mythop defender miss it. The ball fell kindly to Paul Whittle who had acres of space and ample time to smash it past Bould. 0-2.
GET IN THERE !!! Paul Whittle spins away to celebrate as the dejected Bould is beaten.
On 43 minutes Mythop were back in the tie but we had controversy. Midfield maestro Jimmy Duckworth showed great vision to play in James McKenzie who took the ball into the box. A last gasp sliding tackle looked to have taken the ball but referee Jones signalled PENALTY !!! The Kitchen's staff and players were mightily aggrieved but as usual all of their protestations got them nowhere. In the picture below Duckworth converts the spot kick despite a great effort from Rimmington. 1-2.
Jimmy Duckworth makes it 1-2
Half time score : Mythop Leisure FC 1 – 2 Cash & Carry Kitchens FC
Mythop on a half time buzz after the late goal.
Seven year old Lewis Henshall (Clifton Rangers FC) out watching Dad Ryan skipper the Kitchens.
The second half gets underway.
Rob Cracknell (Right)
After the break there was only one team in it for the first twenty minutes and that team was Mythop. Confidence raised after the penalty just before half time they turned around into the breeze playing the best football of the match. Pass and move, pass and move they were making great progress up the pitch. It was of little surprise when they scored a well worked equaliser. Andy Kozlowski looked up and played in Carl Williamson who lobbed it over the onrushing Rimmington and into the back of the net. 2-2. Game on.
Three minutes after the goal and the Kitchens had a good shout for a penalty themselves. John Whittle looked to have been barged over for a penalty but referee Jones waved it away. The Kitchens looked in trouble as Mythop had by far the best of the possession whilst the Kitchens embarked on a running conversation with the Man in Black. At this stage it looked as though there would only be one winner.
Bould makes a good diving save.
Enough is enough. Referee Jones finally loses patience with John Whittle's constant backchat and shows him a second yellow card – OFF ! The ref had warned him and his captain to calm it down on numerous occasions but Whittle couldn't keep his discipline.
“Careful mate, you'll do yourself a nasty”.
The Kitchens began to get a grip. Now down to ten men they were facing a stern test. On 79 minutes Mythop conceded a free-kick in a dangerous area over on the right. The ball was played in by Paul Whittle and his great delivery found the stooping head of man of the match Russ Perrett who sent keeper Bould the wrong way giving him no chance. 2-3.
Perrett !!! Goal !!! Russ Perrett (14) stoops to nod it past Glen Bould.
With time running out Mythop were pushing hard for an equaliser and in the photograph below they went extremely close as a chance was cleared off the line.
The Kitchens hoof it off the line.
Kitchen's player manager Russ Perrett.
It's all over as the players shake hands.
Final score : Mythop Leisure FC 2 – 3 Cash & Carry Kitchens FC
As expected this was an entertaining and closely fought Cup tie from start to finish. Mythop Leisure tried to play their passing game throughout but in the end they came up short today. A couple of strikers light up front they lacked a bit of punch in the attacking third this morning. The loss of Shaggy at the back through injury was also a blow. Still, with the score at 2-2 and their opponents down to ten men and in some disarray I expected them to go on and win it but in the end it wasn't to be. Matt Smith's side now have to pick themselves up for some important league action in the next seven days.
Another great win then for Cash & Carry Kitchens FC who are still very much in the hunt for a league and Cup double. They showed great resolve to regroup in the latter stages when the chip were down. True, a couple of decisions went against them today but that's Sunday football. You've just got to accept it and get on with it. Arguing with patient referees is ultimately fruitless and leads to dismissals.
Top performances this morning from John Whittle (Whilst he was on the pitch) and the boy Stanger (Give up the fags and sort that cough out !) Captain Perrett led by example, strong in the tackle, fluid and accurate distribution all capped off by a match winning goal that put his side through to the semi-finals.
Happy Goalscorers Paul Whittle (Left), Russ Perrett (Centre) and Paul Stanger.