Sportspy Reports – Sunday February 3rd 2008.

After some early morning confusion regarding the venue it was eventually my second visit of the season to Moor Park, Bispham to check in on two sides new to the BFSFA for the 2007/08 campaign.  Layton Institute Juniors FC were hosting fast improving South Beach FC in Round 2 of the Division 3 Cup.

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It was an important day of Cup action across the Blackpool Sunday Alliance this morning with games taking place in the Gledhill Cup as well as Round 2 of both the Divisional Cups for leagues two and three.  I had planned to watch this fixture when it was initially listed but along with so many others it was postponed due to the wet weather.

Both of this morning's featured  teams are new to Sunday football this season and it's been a mixed start for each of them.  Layton Institute Juniors FC are sixth in Division 3B at present and as they have games in hand on many of the sides above them then Greg Wallace's young side are still in with an excellent chance of achieving promotion during their first season. 

Unsurprisingly, it took them a little while to achieve some consistency but they've only lost once in the last nine games and that came in a narrow 2-1 defeat to Spindles FC.  In the Gledhill they were knocked out at home by Claremont Cons in the opening round.  They reached Round 2 of this competition by beating Division 3A's Stanley Arms, Wesham FC 4-0 just prior to Christmas.

Opponents South Beach FC experienced a far more difficult baptism into Fylde Coast Sunday football.  Manager Michael McHenry's men could only manage to take two points from their first ten matches and it wasn't until November 18th that they finally achieved their first league win.  However, they had a decent run in the Gledhill.  A first round bye set up a second round tie against Frenchman's Cove FC who they beat 5-3.  Round 3 saw them progress after a 1-0 win over fellow 3B side Falcon FC.  In Round 4 they were finally knocked out by top 2B side Queens FC in a 9-3 defeat.

South Beach FC have climbed up to tenth spot in recent weeks and after gaining three straight wins confidence in the camp was extremely high prior to today's game.  The club received a first round bye in this competition which helped set up today's second round tie.  Both of these 3B sides met back in October when Layton ran out 3-1 winners in the first league game.

After a wild night, (weather wise), conditions had improved early doors as the wind had eased and thankfully it was dry.  However, by kick off time the Southerly wind was once again strengthening and it was very cold.

This morning's referee was ex Anchorsholme player Tony Docherty who was making his first appearance on  Layton Institute Juniors were in the light blue kicking towards the changing room with the strong wind on their backs.

South Beach FC's Wesley Renshaw.

At 10:55 I was still wandering around Commonedge looking for this match before realising my error and heading off to Moor Park.  I arrived at 11:20 but fortunately the game was still only ten minutes old with the score at 0-0.  Pitch 1 at Moor Park is one of my favourites.  For many lower league players this is the nearest they'll ever get to a private pitch as it's surrounded by trees on three sides with the changing rooms behind the goal.  The pitch was a little sticky but easily playable.

Eight year old Lucy Mason out braving the elements watching Dad Gordon turn out for South Beach FC.

11:30am – South Beach manager Michael McHenry (Left) makes a polite enquiry as to what held up two of his players.

Veteran Irishman Rick Madden keeping goal for South Beach FC this morning.

On 22 minutes keeper Madden makes a great diving save from Layton's Dave McNicholl's drive.

It's not often we get such a strong wind blowing from the South and this was one of the most affected pitches.  South Beach were heading up the slope into the teeth of the gale and they were really struggling to escape their own half.  At the other end Layton were putting the South Beach defence under extreme pressure from a succession of corners.

The lovely Nina was the week's loyal WAG out watching the Layton Institute Juniors boys in the cold this morning.  Bubbly extrovert but the steel grey eyes tell another story.  Deep.

Tony Docherty.

Spot the yellow ball !  There were unsurprisingly no volunteers venturing in to retrieve it.

On the half hour mark the Layton Institute pressure finally paid off.  Paul Hallet's deliveries from corners were growing ever more accurate.  His corner from the left flew straight over the head of South Beach keeper Madden and into the back of the net. 1-0.

Hallet's corner beats Madden and finds the back of the net.

'BeJeezus…what the hell happened?'

A rare South Beach FC excursion down the other end.

South Beach FC prepare to face another Hallet corner.

This time Hallet's delivery finds the head of captain Mike Ingham who powered a great header past Madden and into the back of the net.  2-0.

Gordon Mason (Right).

Comedy moment !  Layton manager Greg Wallace was walking backwards to try and catch the ball when he fell over the drinks basket and straight into the mud.  Disrespectful hilarity from the Layton followers duly followed.

Layton Institute Juniors FC skipper Mike Ingham.

Half time score :  Layton Institute Juniors FC 2 – 0 South Beach FC.

During the half time interval Layton kindly agreed to pose for a half time team picture.  Apologies to the South Beach lads for missing theirs due to my late arrival.

Layton Institute Juniors FC 2007/08.

South Beach FC Michael McHenry.

Layton keeper Anthony Kibbler.  Suffered frost bite through inaction in the first half.  Would he be kept busier in the second period?

Ryan Bonney.

As expected, South Beach at last began to put some offensive possession together as the strengthening gale was to their advantage.  Layton tightened up tactically at the back but still tried to play their football in an attempt to move upfield.  South Beach created a few corners and long throws but all too often the delivery was unsatisfactory and ineffective.

Well held Kibbler.

Whilst the score remained at only 2-0 the Beach were still in contention.  On 62 minutes they found the net with a screamer but referee Docherty ruled it out for offside.

A great strike from No.11 (Right) but it was disallowed for handball.

On 70 minutes disaster struck for South Beach.  Layton's Dave McNicholl played in a curling long cross.  The Beach's Mike Miah reached it first but his header back toward goal sailed over the head of the advancing keeper and rolled into the net.  3-0.

Rick Madden retrieves Layton's third from the back of the net.

The sub's on.

South Beach FC go close.

If wearing gloves wasn't bad enough then ear-muffs was just too much.

Clean through against the keeper the Layton forward is denied by the legs of Rick Madden – good save.  We're into the last few minutes.

Tony Docherty's whistle goes siganlling the end of the match.

Final score :  Layton Institute Juniors FC 3 – 0 South Beach FC.

Cruel weather making for difficult conditions this morning and it showed as there wasn't much decent football on offer from either side, especially against the wind.  Both defences had little to do when they had the wind behind them.

Another good win then for manager Greg Wallace and his young side.  The need for a couple of jolly good haircuts aside, (Not you Frank), they look to be a decent outfit who are improving with every game.  This morning's win sets them up for a quarter final against FC Excelsior who surprisingly knocked out Burlington FC this morning.  Paul Hallet caught the eye not only with his expert dead ball delivery but his hard work off the ball.

A bad day for South Beach as their recent good run came to an end.  They looked disorganised with late arrivals and no-shows and they were suitably punished.  Only Wes Renshaw earned his wages this morning as all too often possession was wasted.  In the end Hallet's deliveries from corners proved to be the real difference and they'll be no complaints from South Beach about the result.

An easy game for referee Docherty with hardly a bad tackle in a well contested Cup tie.  Good luck to Layton in the last eight.

Sportspy 2007/08

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