|Today saw an early return to the Thornton Sports Centre this time to watch Premier Division side Hydronics FC host Wigan team Golborne Parkside FC in Round 3 of this season's Lancashire Sunday Trophy.|
Last season was a memorable one for John Egan and his Hydronics players as they strolled to the Division 1 title finishing a massive sixteen points ahead of second placed Fleetwood Cricket Club FC. In a tough Division they only dropped eight points from the twenty-four league games played.
Injuries finally caught up with them late in the season and they ended with two disappointing defeats. The Cup semi-final against the Dunes at Boundary Park was the low point of their season. The Premier Division is still a big step up on Division 1 but heading towards the end of October the team are still unbeaten in all competitions. In the league they've enjoyed three wins and a draw and this morning they were sixth in the league six points behind leaders Highbury but with five games in hand.
In the Gledhill Cup two wins against high flying Progress Sports & Social FC (3A) and last season's finalists Red Rose Catering FC have set up a fourth round home tie against fellow Prem side Highfield Social FC on November 4th. After a first round bye a 7-0 thrashing of Bolton outfit Darcy Lever FC in Round 2 set up this morning's third round tie at the Sports Centre.
Their opponents this morning were Wigan side Golborne Parkside FC. Golborne is a district of South Wigan deep in old mining country. They play in the South Lancs Sunday Football league. A fourth place finish in Division 2 was good enough to achieve promotion at the end of the 2006/07 season. Adapting to the higher Division has not been easy. This morning they were tenth in the fourteen team Division after having had four wins from the first ten games. However, three of those wins have come on the road. Their latest win came last week in the 2:30pm kick off at Laithwaite Park against top four side Orrell Runners FC. That was the Runners' first home defeat of the season.
After a first round bye Golborne went away to Rochdale Nomads FC in Round 2 and came away with a 4-2 victory. They'd face a much tougher task today. Joint manager Dennis Pittman was in charge today as his colleague Simon Jones was away on holiday.
Yet another fine October day for Sunday morning football. Perfect conditions at the Sports Cente. This morning's official was Alex Walker and at 11am exactly he got the game underway with Hydronics FC in the black and white kicking towards the bowling club.
Hydronics FC 2007/08
Golborne Parkside FC 2007/08
“Which hand is it in?”
Golborne joint manager Dennis Pittman with his bookies' pen.
The visiting side could only muster a bare eleven but for the first twenty minutes they completely outclassed the home side. Running off the ball, quick to close down and dangerous on the break they created a couple of golden opportunities to score. A lob over the keeper just went wide. At the other end Hydronics could only force one shot from outside the box that went wide.
Hydronics FC keeper Mike Davies.
Bad miss ! Golborne's Anthony Rowe had an excellent chance to put his side 1-0 up but a yard out and with an open goal he put his foot on the ball and it was scrambled away.
Matthews (Left) heads it away.
Goal ! The pressure finally reaps rewards for Golborne as a wicked swerving corner proves too hot to handle for Davies as referee Mr Walker correctly adjudged that the ball had been carried behind the line. 0-1.
Two lovely lady visitors from Wigan out and about early to follow the team on the road. Sam (Left) and Jenny.
On twenty four minutes the girls were celebrating again as their team increased the lead. Golborne picked up the ball at the back and played a neat low ball into the midfield. Jason Ridyard looked up and played a peach of a throughball for the onrushing Gareth Thomas. He took it on at pace, rounded the keeper and cooly slotted it away. A quality passing move at pace from the visitors and they were deservedly 2-0 up.
Gareth Thomas goes around Davies to make it 0-2.
We're a shambles !
On 28 minutes the home side pulled one back against the run of play. The only player switched on in the opening 25 for Hydronics was Phil Archibald. He picked up the ball thirty yards out, shrugged off a couple of challenges and then unleashed a left footed drive that flashed past Golborne keeper Liam Prescot. 1-2.
Prescot retrieves Archibald's fine effort.
I've seen the future !
35 minutes – Golborne's William Dougan is down with a twisted knee. It was to prove a key moment in the game.
It's all over for Dougan as despite his best intentions he cannot continue. With no substitutes Golborne were down to ten men.
Hydronics FC keeper Mike Davies.
On 43 minutes a cross shot just eluded the lunge of the Hydronics number 8 denying him a great opportunity to equalise just before the break.
The Golborne wall.
Hydronics FC suck…………..on the half time oranges with much to think about.
Half time score: Hydronics FC 1 – 2 Golborne Parkside FC
Hydronics FC started the second half much the brighter. Golborne were down to ten men and had to resort to only playing one man up front. On 48 minutes the home side equalised. An Adam Hutley corner wasn't dealt with and Mike McGarvey crashed home the loose ball past Prescot.
McGarvey (Five) equalises for Hydronics FC.
Phil (Minty) Forbes.
The visitors were now struggling with ten men as the home side grew ever more confident. On the hour mark a throughball found Paul Bailey who danced around the Golborne keeper and made it 3-2.
On seventy-two minutes it was game over. Once agin, Golborne failed to deal with Hutley's expert delivery from the corner and this time Paul Bailey out-jumped the keeper to flash a glancing header into the back of the net. 4-2.
Paul Bailey (9) climbs the highest to score his second of the match.
Although Golborne's chances had gone they never gave up for one minute. Despite only having Rowe as the singular outlet up front they continued to probe and keep the home defenders busy.
Golborne try to get back in the game but great handling from Davies.
Usual keeper Romeo Littlewood playing as substitute striker this morning for Hydronics.
Phil Forbes is replaced by Dave Glass.
“It's so heavy”.
There was an easy red over the pocket for Dave 'John Parrott' Glass but he skied it over from six yards.
It's all over as the players shake hands.
Final score : Hydronics FC 4 – 2 Golborne Parkside FC.
So Hydronics FC are though to Round 4 but not without a major struggle. It was good job manager John Egan was absent due to work commitments as he would have been far from happy with his team's performance. In the first half hour they were inept and on another day could easily have found themselves 4-0 down. Defensively they were wide open at times and failed to cope with the pace and tenacity of the visitor's play. Even when against ten men they failed to dominate and it was mainly due to the visitors inabilty to cope with corners that they ran out eventual winners. A repeat performance in Round 4 will see them go out.
As for the visitors they can be well proud of their efforts this morning. If it wasn't for Dougan's forced withdrawal from injury taken together with the lack of substitutes they would have had a great chance of progressing, especially if they'd finished better in the opening half hour. I've said it many times before but if you fail to get your best team to travel then you won't last too long in this difficult competition. The lad Rowe played very well up front but every credit to all the players who made the trip.
Golborne were badly let down by those players who failed to materialise this morning – you know who you are! We all watched the rugby and had a drink last night but most of us made it out in the sunshine this morning. If you didn't shame on you. Good luck to the Golborne lads for the rest of the season.