Sportspy Reports – Sunday August 26th 2007

Today, it was off to Moor Park, Bispham to watch the all Division 3B clash between Uncle Toms Cabin and The Burlington.

Off to Moor Park then to watch the embryonic top of the table clash between Division 3B outfits Uncle Toms Cabin and The Burlington.  Although having played a game more than todays opponents, Uncle Toms currently top the Division with The Burlington a point behind.  Last season was perhaps one to forget for Uncle Toms with only Staining CES Electrical below them in the BFSFA charts.  They only managed 3 wins all season, accumulating a disappointing 11 points and conceding an incredible 145 goals over their 26 games.  A somewhat different story for The Burlington finishing just above mid-table winning 12 of their 26 games and accumulating a respectable 42 points.  So, if Uncle Toms could emulate last season's “run-in” form, against a team who Sportspy tips for a top 4 finish, we should be in for a good game.

The Burlington FC

Uncle Toms Cabin FC

Uncle Toms got the game underway on a decent pitch with the wind at their backs.  We didn't have to wait long for the first goal when a foul by the Burlington on the edge of their area saw Kelly curl a peach of a free kick round the wall and into the net on 5 minutes.

Two minutes later Uncle Toms were two to the good, a ball into the Burlington area was only half headed clear, the ball fell to Fairnie and he made no mistake slamming the ball right into the corner.

Almost from the restart, it was more misery for the Burlington when a cross come shot from Barlow found the net after good work down the right flank – only Barlow can say if he meant it or not!  Inside 10 minutes the Burlington manager was already cursing me saying I had brought them bad luck, and that they hadn't conceded this many goals in a short space of time for years!  Worse was to come.

Burlington had had the wind knocked out of them and struggled to get going, but went close to reducing the arrears when Coppock flashed a shot inches past the post.  Gill also went close after a long punt upfield from his keeper, but failed to hit the target.

Uncle Toms were playing some good stuff, and limiting the Burlington to the occasional long ball tatics, and shots from distance.  However, as the half wore on the Burington began to have a half decent spell.  A good turn and run by Coppock ended with him laying the ball off for Saxon who blasted just over.

Uncle Toms nearly made it 4-0, when the Burlington keeper didn't come to collect, but he redeemed himself with a smart save with his legs, as the shot from the rebound headed goalwards.  The Burlington responded with a couple of efforts, the best of those a curling shot from Coppock but again it was wide of the mark.  Uncle Toms finally made it four with 10 minutes or so of the half remaining.  A long ball found Kelly lurking in the Burlington final third.  He picked the ball up ran goalward, drew the keeper and finished with aplomb with a delightful chip.

The Burlington were still trying to get back into the game, and nearly opened their account when Sherwood blasted just over from a short corner.  With five minutes remaining Uncle Toms made it five, Kiernie latched onto a poor back pass and made no mistake.

The Burlington did finally open their account just before the break, when Swift muscled his way into the Uncle Toms area and slotted home well.

Half-time 5-1.

The Burlington were hoping to redress the balance now that they had a fairly strong wind at their backs for the second period.  The half started brightly for them, and within seven minutes of the restart they had pulled a goal back.  A good ball found Coppock in space in the Uncle Toms area, his initial shot was saved, but he made no mistake from the rebound heading home.

Uncle Toms soon restored parity with Kelly completing his hatrick with a deft finish from a good through ball.  After scoring seven last week the Burlington were about to concede seven, when Kelly got his fourth picking up a rebound from an initial shot from Fairnie.  His yellow Nike's were on fire.

This was too much for the Burlington manager as he donned a kit to try and help his troops.  Things seemed to improve for a while with a couple of good efforts on goal, one forcing an excellent save from the Uncle Toms keeper, tipping it onto the bar for a corner.  The resulting corner was taken quick to the manager, who beat his man and found Saxon who in turn found the gap and prodded home to reduce the arrears once more.

It was shortlived though when Stone made it 8-3 to Uncle Toms, the Burlington defence failing to clear when they had numerous chances to do so, and he slotted home.

The Burlington were not dead and buried yet, and pulled another back when a well delivered corner found the 42 years young Donald Hasson, whose bullet header breached the Uncle Tom's net.  Soon after it was 8-5 when Buchanan – probably the smallest player on the pitch rose unchallenged to head home.

The scoring wasn't finished though, and just before the final whistle, Uncle Toms caught the Burlington on the break, when they missed a chance to make it 8-6.  Holdsworth collected the ball and after a good run curled the ball into the bottom corner to complete the rout.

Final score – Uncle Toms Cabin 9 The Burlington 5

As a neutral it was a great game to watch with plenty of goals, and from the performance today you wonder why Uncle Toms finished second from the bottom of the whole Alliance last season.  To be fair their improvement is probably down to the shrewd acquisitions they have made, and I suspect that the Burlington may have underestimated them a little given their league position last season.

There were several good performances today, but for me Kelly stood out, if only for his clinical finishing.  He was calm and composed in front of goal and took his chances well, and there is no reason why he can't play at a higher level on his performance today.  If Uncle Toms play like this every week then they will be nearer the top of the league than the bottom – but it is along season.  The Burlington will be disappointed with their performance today, and they will cite that they had players missing etc., but you can only beat what is put in front of you.  They showed good fighting spirit towards the end to make the score more respectable, and can hopefully build on that.

Overall an excellent game with more goals than any other BFSFA match today.  You'll be glad to know that Sportspy will be back next Sunday, so normal service will be resumed.

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