|It should have been a first time visit to the Stanley Park Oval to watch the Division 1 Cup quarter final match between Real Kingsfield FC and Bispham Juniors FC but a late switch of venue resulted in the game being played at Commonedge Road. The Juniors were still looking for their first win of the season. Would they get it today?|
Teams such as Additions, Progress Property Management and the Bispham Hotel didn't much fancy finishing bottom of the league so they threw the towel in and walked away during the season. Not so with the young Bispham Juniors side who will no doubt finish bottom of Division 1 this season.
Last season Bispham Juniors finished rock bottom of the Premier Division and were duly relegated. That group of players had a decent few seasons in the top flight before splitting up and going their separate ways to other clubs. Instead of folding their place in Division 1 was mostly taken by one of the club's junior sides. Although the highly successful record of junior clubs joining adult Sunday football in recent seasons is clear for anyone to see going straight into Division 1 was an over-ambitious step for such a young and inexperienced side.
However, despite gaining only one solitary point in a 2-2 draw against the Shovels FC in the week before Christmas the team have stuck in there and deserve great credit for it. Working on the premise of what doesn't kill you makes you stronger the overall experience of this difficult rookie season will ultimately work in their favour and if they are relegated to Division 2 at the end of the season then expect a better much performance from the lads in 2008/09. With only five games left to play manager Mike Townsend is still hopeful of getting that elusive win.
After a first round bye they were knocked out of the Gledhill Cup in round 2 by the Fleetwood Car Centre. They entered the Lancashire Sunday Trophy and another first round bye set up a difficult match against last season's semi-finalists, Elton Vale Sports Club who edged out the juniors with a 3-2 win. Another first round bye has led to today's Division 1 Cup quarter final against Real Kingsfield. Kingsfield took all six points from the two league matches following a 5-2 away win and a 3-2 home win.
Opponents Real Kingsfield FC are managed by Roy Atkinson who is currently the BFSFA's longest serving manager. Roy has been managing the same team under various names for over thirty-nine years. The man epitomises Sunday football and is a credit to the grassroots game. The last few seasons have not been easy for Roy and his team but like the Juniors they just get on with it waiting and hoping for better days.
In each of the 2004/05 and 2005/06 seasons the club finished second bottom of the Premier Division. During those two seasons they only managed to win eight of the 44 league games played and it was of little surprise when they were relegated at the end of the 2005/06 season. After regrouping they managed to finish in eighth position in Division 1 last season when winning nine of their twenty-four games.
This season has once again been difficult and this morning's league table showed them in eleventh place and with nine games to play the season could either end with a second bottom or mid table finish. Their four league wins this season have come against Bispham Juniors (Twice), Northern Care Reserves and most impressively, a 4-1 victory over high flying Bloomfield Vets.
Disappointingly, the team failed to play against Northern Care FC in the second round of the Gledhill Cup. As with the Juniors they received a first round by in the Division 1 Cup which set up today's tie.
It's not though want of trying that I haven't covered a match at the Oval. It's now been three occasions where either wet weather or athletics has led to postponements but football and javelins do not mix very well in close proximity. Cold and windy at Commonedge as usual this morning but unusually the wind was blowing in from the North East adding to the windchill factor. Still, at least it wasn't raining.
The referee for today's Cup encounter was the reigning 'Referee of The Year' Mr Kelvin Dyson. Unlike myself, Mr Dyson and the Bispham squad had initially fetched up at the Stanley Park Oval so it wasn't until 11:15am that the game got underway with Kingsfield in the blue defending the sea but with the wind in their faces.
Real Kingsfield FC 2007/08.
Bispham Juniors FC 2007/08. (Note: Mid March, not won a game but still fifteen players !)
The Bispham liner.
Bispham keeper Daniel Hogg.
Sear's corner is half cleared.
After a relatively even opening Bispham went ahead in the ninth minute. A corner from the right was floated over by Steve Sear. It was half cleared to the edge of the box and Zak Williams hit an eighteen yard shot that found the bottom corner. Stand-in Kingsfield keeper Niall Eaves should have had it but he claimed to have seen it late. 0-1.
Eaves is beaten for the opener.
Eaves retrieves the ball from the back of the net.
Kingsfield threaten at the other end.
On thirteen minutes the Juniors were two nil in front. Poor defending from the home side as the defence failed to clear the loose ball. It starts in the picture above.
………….and ends with Rick Sear scoring from close range. 0-2.
Five minutes later and Kingsfield were back in the game. A Danny Barnes corner found Antony Cox completely unmarked and he headed home to make it 1-2.
A flashpoint in the Cash & Carry Kitchens v Central Club match on Pitch 8. Central Club manager/liner Archie Harrison has a rush of blood and runs twenty yards into the box to start refereeing the game. Bad decision.
Bispham keeper 'Oggy'. Also known as the inspirational or irritating Blackpool FC drummer depending on your perspective. Once heard you can never forget his challenging rendition of 'Barmy Army'.
Martin Bolland on the ball. Blackpool Mechanics' manager Stuart Parker and dog Charlie out for a morning stroll.
On the adjacent pitch Fylde Coast Gates player Henry Wright (10) fires his penalty high over the bar against the Vets.
Back to the featured game and Eaves claims the ball.
Kingsfield come very close to equalising but the ball just went wide.
The Kingsfield centre halves.
Bispham await the threatening Kingsfield long throw.
But they just about manage to keep the home side at bay.
'You never lose it'
Half time score : Real Kingsfield FC 1 – 2 Bispham Juniors FC.
Bloomfield Vets FC supporters out braving the cold.
When you've gotta go you've gotta go even if it is against the home of Fylde Coast Sunday morning football.
Kingsfield manager/liner Roy Atkinson close to the action.
Kingsfield's Antony Cox.
The second half was largely uninspiring with very few clear cut chances. Bispham were failing to get the ball forward and Kingsfield were struggling against the wind.
Darren Atkinson (Centre)
Bispham looking for a third.
One of the few highlights of the second half as a fierce dipping volley from twenty five yards thumped back off the Kingsfield crossbar. Keeper Eaves said he got a touch – if he did then it was a fine save.
BFSFA discipline secretary David Hall.
Yet another player foolishly remonstrates with referee Dyson.
Bispham go very close but Eaves saves well at the near post.
On 85 minutes Bispham wrapped things up. A break down the right sent Scott Cheyne clear and with keeper Eaves going walkabout he fired it past him into the empty net as seen in the above picture. 1-3.
The end of the match and Bispham are through to the semis.
Final score : Real Kingsfield FC 1 – 3 Bispham Juniors FC
Not the most exciting of Cup quarter-finals this one especially in the second half which was frankly dire. In defence of both teams the strong wind made good football difficult once again at Commonedge. Take nothing away from Bispham, they fully deserved their first win of the season and can now look forward to a difficult looking match aginst CTK Fc in the semi final who knocked out Blackpool Rangers this morning. Bispham are a very young side but they're gaining experience all the time. They'll do well if they find themselves in Division 2 next season.
Kingsfield will be very disappointed with their overall performance this morning. Apart from long throws and corners they failed to creat little and despite the hard working efforts of Bolland in the middle and Cox upfront they were largely ineffective in front of goal and hardly created a decent effort of note in the second half. They didn't look like a team fighting for a semi-final place and in the end they can have no complaints about being turfed out of the competition by the bottom club.
Good luck to Bispham Juniors in the semi-finals.
Two of the three Bispham scorers – Rick Sear (Left) and Scott Cheyne.