Sportspy Reports – Sunday December 30th 2007.

The latter stages of this season's Lancashire Sunday Trophy has not gone to plan for the LFA following three or four weeks of inclement weather.  Quilligans should have played their fifth round tie many weeks ago so it was a relief to see the match finally go ahead at Collins Park today.  Burnley side Rose & Thistle FC were the visitors for the lunchtime kick off with both sides looking for a place in the last eight.

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Quilligans FC reached the semi final of the Lancashire Sunday Trophy in 2005/06 and last season they went one stage further in reaching the final where they lost to Arkwrights.  This season they had a gentle start.  A round 1 bye was followed by yet another bye in round 2 as opponents and last season's winners Arkwrights FC surprisingly folded.  In Round 3 they went away to Preston and narrowly beat Cadley 1-0.  Another trip to Preston in round 4 saw them come away with a 2-1 win against in form Hoghton FC. 

Unbeaten this season in all competitions Quilligans still have ambitions of pulling off the grand slam of Sunday Football honours.  Late December 2007 and January 2008 will be an important few weeks for the Alliance champions if they're to keep that dream on track.

In order to get this far Rose & Thistle FC had had to overcome the following teams.  In round 1 they received a bye, in round 2 they beat FC Dale at home.  Another home tie in round 3 saw them win against Cabin End FC 5-1 and just last week they finally played their 4th round match against Littleborough FC 3-1.

Despite extensive 'googling' there didn't appear to be any internet presence for either Burnley Sunday football or the Rose & Thistle Pub so the men from the East remained something of an unknown quantity before the match.  Thanks though to Quills manager Mark Spedding who provided us with the link for the Burnley Sunday league table.  Click here !  Tom Morris is the Thistle manager and he confirmed that they play in the same league as Havelock who Cahoots put out last season.

It was good to see the wet and windy weather of the last few days blow away.  By kick off time the weather was dry and relatively calm.  This morning's official was Barry Cropp.  He and Quilligans were re-united for the first time since last Spring's Gledhill Cup final when he showed three of them the red card.  Unsurprisingly, he wasn't welcomed with open arms.  The game kicked off at exactly 12:30pm.

Quilligans in the white strip today kick off towards the changing rooms.

The Thistle captain and centre half.

Quills under early pressure.

Hydronics FC spies.

The first ten minutes were fairly even with the home side looking sluggish.  The visitors managed to get a couple of crosses whipped over but they couldn't get bodies forward to take advantage.

Looks like he had a good Christmas.

On 16 minutes Quilligans broke the deadlock. Danny Rowe looked lethargic early doors but he came alive with a typical shimmy and quick feet before rifling it past Rob Bennett in the Thistle goal.  1-0.  The strike helped settle Quilligans and from that moment on they never looked back.

Rowe, (Out of shot), opens the scoring with young Ioannou watching on.

Thistle keeper Rob Bennett.

Danny Rowe.

These two were brilliant in their day up in that box on the muppet show.

Young Ben Gorrie (Left) and Theo Ioannou out watching Quilligans this morning.

On 23 minutes a good interchange between Rowe and Swallow resulted in the latter going close from the angle.  The resultant corner was cleared.

Six minutes later Quilligans increased their lead.  Another corner was only half cleared to the edge of the box.  Palmer pounced on it, looked up and chipped a delightful shot over the flailing keeper.  2-0.

Out of focus but you get the picture as Palmer's chip finds the back of the net.

A minute later and the Thistle were down to ten men.  A rash two footed lunge with both feet off the ground resulted in a straight red for the visiting player.  No hesitation from referee Cropp and few arguments from the visiting side.

The tackle provokes a negative Quills reaction.

Mark Ashall (right) retaliates after he claimed an elbow found his ear.

……..and then receives a yellow card from Mr Cropp.

It's almost certain that the big Thistle centre half has never heard of Danny Rowe before but trying to go around him in your own penalty area is not recommended.  On 36 minutes he tried it, Rowe predictably dispossed him and almost scored but it was cleared for a corner.  Rowe took it and with great precision found the head of Phil Thompson who's powerful header flew past Bennett and into the net.  3-0.

Thompson's header beats everyone to put Quills firmly in control.

Thompson acknowledges Rowe's delivery.

Two minutes later and the Thistle skipper tried the same trick with Lee Broadbent.  Once again he was left flat footed as Broadbent took it off him, cut inside and smashed a low drive into the far corner.  4-0 and game over.

Half time score :  Quilligans FC 4 – 0 Rose & Thistle FC.

The Thistle get the second half underway.

Thistle manager Tom Morris.

The second half was only two minutes old when Quilligans scored another.  Danny Rowe was left unchallenged thirty yards out and his fierce dipping shot was too good for the keeper.  Strong hands were required from the young goalie to tip it over but on this occasion he came up short.  5-0.

Beaten again.

Net rash.

Time for some show-boating.  I'd have loved it if he'd tripped himself up – I'm a patient man.

On 56 minutes Danny Rowe scored his hat trick.  A great through ball left him one on one with the keeper.  Fair play to the Thistle liner who rightly kept his flag down.  Typical composure from the young striker resulted in him slipping it under the body of the advancing keeper.  6-0.

Rowe keeps his head to score his third and Quilligans' sixth.

'Friends re-united', Lee Broadbent in trouble with Mr Cropp once again.

'I'm listening'.

Substitute Jordan Spedding makes his entrance.  Somebody should have bought him some boxing gloves for Christmas.

On 68 minutes Sam Gorrie made a charge into the box but his progress was impeded by a Thistle defender.  Referee Cropp pointed to the spot.

Mr Cropp measures out the yardage.

6-0 up and keeper Clowes is called upon to take the penalty.

He tried to find the bottom corner but his shot struck the outside of the post and was cleared.

A rare foray upfield for Thistle brought about a free kick but it didn't trouble keeper Clowes.

“Now then, I've worked out how to find the smutty videos but how on earth do I actually phone someone?”

As is usual when a team is 6-0 up the introduction of the substitutes and the change in shape knocked Quills out of their rhythm.  However, on 84 minutes there was still time for another as sub Jordan Spedding found space on the left wing, cut inside and curled a great shot into the far top corner.  7-0.

Spedding, out of picture, finds the net to make it seven.

In the dying minutes the visitors produced their best chance of the match.  A mazy run through midfield saw the Thistle player beat a couple of defenders before hitting a low drive that left Clowes praying.  In the picture below the ball just flashes past the post.  It was to be the last significant action of the game.

The Thistle go close near the end.

Final score :  Quiilligans FC 7 – 0 Rose & Thistle FC

Quilligans FC reach the last eight of this season's Lancashire Sunday Trophy in style.  Little was known about today's opponents prior to the match but any side that reaches the last sixteen deserves respect.  After the initial exchanges Quilligans quickly settled down and in the end strolled to a comfortable victory.  Even with a few of the big names missing their strength in depth allowed them to put out a very good team who gelled quite well together, especially for the first hour.

They'll probably have a quarter-final in Wigan to face next week and few few would bet against the reaching the semi-final for the third season in a row.  Opponents Rose & Thistle were well beaten by the better side this morning and can have few complaints about the scoreline.  Even before the sending off they looked beaten at 2-0.  They were finding it very difficult to link up the midfield with the strikers and with the score 4-0 at the interval the game was over.

A decent effort nevertheless in reaching the last sixteen and going out to last season's losing finalists is certainly no disgrace.  Good luck to the Burnley lads for the rest of the season.

Sportspy 2007/08

bfsfa.com/fyldesport

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