|At Fleetwood Road, Thornton watching the 4th Round Gledhill Cup tie between Fleetwood Car Centre FC and Marshall Court Sandpiper FC.|
Into November but still little sign of winter. Throughout the whole of last season Fleetwood Road, Thornton was removed from the list of BFSFA venues in order to give the pitches, which are very vulnerable to waterlogging, a chance to recover. Although it's the month of the 'yellow ball' there were no such problems this morning for the 4th Round Gledhill Cup tie between Fleetwood Car Centre FC and Marshall Court Sandpiper FC.
The Car Centre are new to the Alliance this season but as a number of their young players have experience playing for Saturday clubs such as Fleetwood Reserves the league elected to place them straight into Division 2B. They're sponsored by the Fleetwood Motor dealers of the same name who's website can be found here. They're also sponsored by Gennar's Italian Restaurant in Poulton. The club name has a lot of history in Sunday football and current manager Terry Hargreaves was associated with the club at its peak and now appears intent on making the current crop of players the best Sunday team in Fleetwood.
The team were my pre-season tips for the Division 2B title but after seven games they've realised that they are not going to have things all their own way. I saw them pre-season as they demolished a veteran's team but sides such as the Saddle, Mythop, Pulcinellas and Queens have started off in great form. Whoever wins this interesting league this season will have to play well throughout. The Car Centre were sixth in the Division this morning after taking thirteen points from the first twenty-one available. A great run of seven wins and one draw was brought to an end last week by in-form Queens FC in the local derby.
Three of those wins have come in this competition and what emphatic wins they were. They opened up with a 13-2 win over experienced Inkmasters FC before putting out Bispham Juniors FC 5-3 in round 2. They went on to murder fellow 2B side Pulcinellas FC 6-0 in Round 3 inflicting a rare heavy defeat on 'the Blues'. The proper reaction to last week's league defeat was required if they were to reach the last eight of this competition in their first season.
Standing in the way of that dream were opponents Marshall Court Sandpiper FC of Division 2A. This morning's venue was well known to Marshall as it's been their home ground in previous seasons. After finishing fourth in Division 3A in the 2005/06 season Mick Chappell's team were at last promoted to Division 2. In 2A last season they consolidated their position in ninth place but in all honesty it was something of a struggle throughout as they never looked much like finishing any higher.
That struggle has continued this season. Going into November the team are twelfth in the table with only one win and a couple of draws on the board from the first eight games played. That solitary league win came on the opening day against bottom club Jacks FC. They carried this on with a 5-5 draw against high flying Ward Heating FC but it wasn't until last week's 3-3 draw against fellow stugglers Claremont Cons FC that they gained another point.
In the Gledhill Cup they received a first round bye. In Round 2 they knocked out 3B newcomers North Mount Hotel FC 4-3 and in the last round they knocked out 3A side MA2 FC 6-3 away. This season the club have added the Cleveleys Pub 'The Sandpiper' to their sponsorship package. It's fair to say that on paper the side were much the underdogs this morning but with such a big prize on offer as the reward they plainly had great motivation to try and upset the odds. The reward for this morning's winners would be a home tie against one of the Fylde Coast's top Sunday sides in the shape of either Hydronics FC or Highfield Social FC.
Yet again we had optimum conditons for Sunday football this morning. Flat calm, blue skies and although the heavy morning dew was slow to burn off we stil had a decent surface for this 4th Round Gledhill Cup tie. Out referee today was Mark Ayre and at three minutes to eleven a sharp blast of the whistle on the crisp autumnal air got the match underway with Marshall in the red and white stripes kicking off towards the sea.
Fleetwood Car Centre FC 2007/08
Marshall Court FC 2007/08
On four minutes the Car Centre took the lead. A rasping drive from Craig Sibbald wasn't held by Marshall keeper Mick Fuce and Christian Dust was the first to react to the loose ball as he puts his side 1-0 up in the above picture.
Fleetwood Car Centre FC manager Terry Hargreaves.
Despite his best efforts Goober cannot talk Mark Ayre from dishing out a yellow card to one of his team-mates.
On thirteen minutes a half hit shot from Joel Cowell beat the keeper but was scambled away to safety. On fifteen minutes however the Car Centre forced a corner. Craig Sibbald provided the perfect delivery for centre half Chris Debar to rise the highest and he headed home to increase the lead. 2-0.
Debar beats the keeper to the ball to make it 2-0.
This time it's Goober himself who gets on the wrong side of referee Ayre.
The loveley Joanna and Louise out admiring the Car Centre talent in the sunshine this morning.
Despite being 2-0 down and on the backfoot Marshall were still in the game. They looked especially dangerous from set-pieces and put the Car Centre defence under a certain amount of pressure from corners and throw-ins.
Half time score : Fleetwood Car Centre FC 2 – 0 Marshall Court Sandpiper FC
Sponsor's son Louis Calafiore of Gennar's Italian Restaurant keeps safe charge of the Car Centre Man of the Match award.
Messrs Chappell & Bonney rally the Marshall troops during the interval.
Car Centre supporter Tia Webster out watching brother Kyle.
Free kick – Blue
Early in the second half Marshall created their first real chamce of note when a low shot just flashed past the post.
The Marshall management team of Mick Chappel (Centre) and Graham Bonney (Right) watch on.
Sam Truesdale uses all his experience to win a free-kick.
On 51 minutes the Car Centre dished out the killer blow. A Debar header from deep caught the Marshall defenders flat footed and this allowed Kevin Murray to race clear and lob it over the advancing keeper. 3-0.
With the keeper stranded the Marshall defender can only watch as Murray's lob finds the target.
I think I'll go and watch the Car Centre every week.
On the hour mark the Car Centre made it 4-0. Once again the Marshall defence failed to cope with a corner and this time it was James Rawcliffe who headed home from Warwick's delivery.
Credit to Marshall they maintained their discipline and effort and went close again as a shot from the edge of the box had to be hoofed clear of the six yard box.
Rawcliffe heads home to make it 4-0.
Referee Ayres in the right place as usual.
Webster rides a tackle.
Marshall keeper Mick Fuce.
Andy Cowell makes a substitute appearance for the last ten minutes.
In the dying moments the Car Centre scored again. Poor defending by Marshall meant that they failed to clear on more than one occasion. Eventually, a neat pass from Murray found an unmarked Tallentire in the box and he made no mistake from sixteen yards. 5-0.
The final whistle goes and James Myers (Left) congratulates Debar on a fine performance.
Final score : Fleetwood Car Centre FC 5 – 0 Marshall Court Sandpiper FC.
A scrappy game at times but entertaining nevertheless. A match played in good spirit and well officiated by Mr Ayres.
A comfortable Cup win then for Hargreaves' young Fleetwood Car Centre FC team who were just too good for opponents Marshall on the day. They'll host Premier Division outfit Hydronics FC in the quarter-finals in mid January dreaming of a place in the semi-finals of this most prestigious competition. They're a decent team who like to play football and have more than a couple of good youngsters who like to run at the opposition. Gaining experience with Fleetwood Reserves is definitely an advantage and this team can only get better. It remains to be seen if they're good enough for promotion but a tough upcoming month against a number of the better sides should make the picture clearer.
A good effort from Marshall Court. They're a hardworking team full of honest players who've played together as a unit for a good number of season's. They may not be the most talented set of players but each of them always give 100% and they play to the extent of their capabilities as epitomised by their best player today, Chris Flynn. Well managed and well organised they may struggle through the forthcoming winter but opposing teams will still have to try hard to beat them. Hopefully, they can survive in Division 2 and come back stronger next season.
Chris Debar is deemed Man of the Match by the owner of Gennars and his son Louis and receives a bottle of champagne. (Best keep it on ice for now). Trust the Italians to pick out a defender.