|The weather affected this morning's listed Gledhill Cup quarter finals but at Commonedge Road the tie between the Waterloo Hotel FC of Division 1 and the Queens FC of Division 2B went ahead as planned. Who would make it through to the semi-finals?|
The months of December and January on the Fylde Coast are a challenging period for playing Sunday morning football. Many matches are lost to weather during this spell and when they do go ahead the added elements of mud, driving rain, gale force winds, snow, ice and frost all add a different dimension to the game. However, if teams do not display the right and proper manly attitude and adapt well to the conditions then the chances of lifting silverware in the Spring are greatly diminished.
Commonedge Road was in a fairly mean mood this morning with a gusting southerly wind. Eight games were listed for the venue and thanks to its famous drainage all of them finally went ahead as planned.
The major attraction took place on Pitch 2 where the Waterloo Hotel FC of Division 1 were taking on the Queens FC of Division 2B in the last eight of this season's Gledhill Cup. Since gaining promotion to Division 1 in the 2003/04 season Darren Meehan's team have established themselves as a decent Division 1 side. In the last three season's the team has finished 5th, 7th and 5th respectively playing as Brannigans FC. This season they've changed their name to the Waterloo Hotel FC and currently they're lying in ninth spot although they do have a number of games in hand over the teams above them.
In round 1 they received an automatic bye. Round 2 saw then knock out Bar 19 FC of 3B 5-1. Doubts over the Old England continuing in Sunday football resulted in another bye in round 3. No such luck though in round 4 as they pulled out an in-form Dunes side of Division 1 but they progressed thanks to a 3-1 win. They reached the final of the Division 1 Cup a couple of season's back where they lost to Harris & Co. Reaching the semi-finals of the Gledhill Cup would at least match that achievement.
As for opponents Queens FC they're having a great season. Playing as Fleetwood Kings FC they finished sixth in 2B last season which was rather disappointing. This season, the team have been in top form having lost only once in all domestic competitions. That defeat came last time out against promotion rivals Saddle FC just before Christmas. The team are currently fifth in the table and are no doubt looking forward to an exciting run-in where any of the top six sides in the Division still have an opportunity of winning the league.
Reaching the quarter-finals of the Gledhill Cup is a creditable achievement for a 2B side. No bye in Round 1 for the Queens as they beat the Central Club 5-2. It took another away victory in round 2, this time a 6-1 win against the Trades Club to put them through to round 3 where they pulled off one of the shocks of the season in beating Blackpool Rangers 2-0. That still represents Rangers' only loss of the season so far. A more fortunate draw in Round 4 saw them see off 3B's South Beach 9-3.
Even without the added elements of the weather this was always an unpredictable tie. Undoubtedly Sunday morning Cup football at its best to look forward too. This morning's official was top referee John Hay and in front of a sparse crowd boosted he got the game underway with the Waterloo in the orange kicking off towards the sea at 11:08am.
The players observe a minutes silence for Alliance player Mick Elgee who sadly died on Friday evening.
The Waterloo Hotel FC 2007/08.
There was no time for a Queens FC picture due to the delayed arrival of some of their squad.
Skippers Kev Moran (Queens) and Ian Nicholls (Waterloo)
Waterloo kick off.
Queens FC manager Graham Quinn.
This match took a while to settle down which was unsurprising as these sides were probably meeting for the first time. Although possession was shared the Queens enjoyed the better chances. On 12 minutes a punch by Waterloo keeper Kevin Kennerley fell to the edge of the box and the resultant shot was almost deflected in. On 25 minutes Kennerley had to tip a long range effort over the bar and from the resultant corner the Queens went close once again.
Waterloo winger Mark Lisgo
Dean Chadwick who's pace and quick feet were providing the early danger for the Queens defenders.
Waterloo Hotel FC player/manager Darren Meehan.
On the half hour mark the Waterloo opened the scoring. A great throughball from Mark Lisgo sent Matt Derby clear. He raced into the box and flicked it past the advancing keeper with the outside of his right foot into the far corner. 1-0.
The aftermath of Derby's opener as the ball finds the far corner.
In the closing moments of the first half the Queens were awarded a corner. The ball was only half cleared to Alan Perkes who's dribble drew a trip from Mark Green. A nailed on penalty and Mr Hay had no hesitation in pointing to the spot.
Kevin Moran makes no mistake with the penalty as he sends Kennerly the wrong way. 1-1. The half time whistle blew immediately after the kick.
Half time score: The Waterloo Hotel FC 1 – 1 Queens FC
Divided loyalties on the sidelines as sisters Jo (Left) and Becky (Centre) were out supporting the Waterloo and Queens respectively. Queens fan Claire makes up the brave trio facing the elements this morning.
Waterloo supporters Jessica (left) and Ellie were also out enjoying the football.
The Queens having just scored are the happier at the half time interval.
Queens FC start the second half. The wind which was blowing across the pitch rather than end to end provided little advantage for either team.
Referee Mr Hay.
Surprisingly, after the late first half equaliser from Queens, the Waterloo started off the second period much the stronger. They were almost camped in the opposition third for the first ten minutes. Queen's keeper Williamson's handling deteriorated as his box was peppered with corners and free kicks. In the picture below a goal line block on 55 minutes saved the Queens from going behind.
More pressure on the Queens goal.
The Queens were not entirely quiet either. On the hour mark young Alan Perkes was sent clear but his shot flew horribly over the bar.
Waterloo skipper Ian Nicholls.
Queens striker Kevin Moran – up there amongst the all time top Sunday football scorers.
Williamson prepares for the corner.
On 71 minutes Mark Green, (far left) rises the highest to smash a powerful header into the back of the Queens net to make it 2-1 for the Waterloo.
A minute later Matt Derby almost increased the lead but his clever chip just evaded the far post. The Queens were now struggling to put any real pressure on the Waterloo defenders.
Waterloo's Lee Rogers.
The Queens search desperately for an equaliser.
Waterloo sub Neil Charles jumps highest for the ball.
On 89 minutes the Waterloo put the game beyond doubt. A harmless looking cross into the box wasn't claimed by keeper Williamson and the ball dropped kindly to Gary Jakins who had the simplest of tasks in nodding the ball home. 3-1.
Jakins (10) heads home for Waterloo's third goal.
Ecstasy and agony in the same picture. Waterloo celebrate as the Queens defender knows it's all but over. Referee Hey ended the match shortly afterwards.
Final score : The Waterloo Hotel FC 3 – 1 Queens FC
A major win then for the Waterloo Hotel FC who reach the semi final of the Gledhill Cup for the first time in the club's history. A proud day for manager Meehan who more than recognises the importance of such an achievement. The Queens put them under a fair amount of pressure in the first half but the score at the break of 1-1 was a fair reflection of both team's efforts.
The Waterloo Hotel's defence have played together for a very long time and the back four of Nicholls, Percival, Green and Sumner had to play well to nullify the threat of Perkes and Moran who have been on great goalscoring form in recent weeks. Keeper Kennerley just adds to the quality. Up front Derby worked hard and deserved his goal whilst Chadwick and Lisgo provided good ball throughout.
The Queens were not as effective in the second half as the Waterloo played some of their best football. The Queens can now concentrate on trying to achieve promotion to Division One.
The Waterloo can now sit back in relation to the Cup and await their fellow three semi-finalists but if they're hoping for an easy draw they can forget it. Good luck to them in the semi finals.
Top refereeing this morning from John Hay in a very well contested Cup quarter final in which both teams more than played their part.
Waterloo Hotel FC scorers Mark Green (left), Matt Derby (centre) and Gaz Jakins.