|An early start this morning across at the ground of Blackpool Mechanics FC for the 10:30 kick off. The Division 3 Cup final was taking place in calm and dry conditions. Progress Sports & Social FC were taking on fellow Division 3A side the Fairhaven FC with both teams looking to pick up their first ever piece of BFSFA silverware.|
We're used to seeing the Divisional finals played in the warm Spring sunshine but not so today as the the threat of April showers and chilly temperatures were forecasted. Fortunately, the inclement weather was over exaggeretated and instead it was calm, dry and relatively mild. The Division 3 Cup final is always one of my favourite matches of the football season. For most of these players it's just as important as reaching a Gledhill Cup final. It's a memorable day for all concerned, especially if you win.
Progress Sports & Social FC are currently second in Division 3A. They've had a great season and still haven't given up hope of a league and Cup double although FC Eden currently look favourites to lift the league title. In order to reach today's final they've had to put out some decent sides. In round 1 they beat Ansdell (3A) 4-3. Waterloo Sports & Social FC (3A) were their next victims in round 2. In the quarter final they knocked out Frenchman's Cove (3B) 7-2 and just last week they won their semi final of FC Excelsior(3A) 4-2. Going into today's game they'd won seven out of the last eight games.
Opponents Fairhaven FC are currently third in the Division 3A league table four points behind Progress and having played a game more. If they hold their nerve they may yet finish in third and possibly win promotion. Fairhaven received a bye in round 1 before having a comfortable 8-1 win against the Ship, Fleetwood in round 2. In the quarter final they had a great 4-1 victory against top 3B side Spindles. MA2 FC (3A) were their semi final opponents but they reached the final following a 3-2 scoreline.
If the two league games are to be an indicator then Fairhaven would be favourites. Back in September they beat Progress 3-2 away and just a couple of week's ago they completed a league double after 3-1 home win. Today's referee was Dave Wolfenden ably assisted by Dale Harvey and Peter Lamb. Progress kicked off playing in the light blue kit kicking towards the Edge.
Progress Sports & Social FC
The Fairhaven FC
Peter Lamb, Dave Wolfenden and Dale Harvey.
Rick Roberts – Fairhaven keeper
As expected both sides were rather nervy in the opening exchanges. Possession was being given away far too cheaply. On 14 minutes Progress almost too the lead through Rodwell but in the picture below the ball was scrambled away.
Fairhaven manager Darren Openshaw.
A good leap from Gillett.
A scuffed opportunity.
On 28 minutes the Fairhaven made the breakthrough. Progress conceded a silly free kick by the left touchline. Nick Greenall fired it across and the ball eluded everyone including keeper Teasdale before finding the far corner. 0-1.
It's in ! Greenall's free kick finds the net to put Fairhaven in front.
Half time Score : Progress Sports & Social FC 0 – 1 The Fairhaven FC.
Progress player ineligible through lack of games due to injury.
On the hour mark Progress levelled things with a great goal. A Fairhaven clearance was met with a tremendous header on the touchline by Shaun Meehan. It gained great distance before falling to the feet of Ryan Chatterjee. He took the ball across the goal, beat a man and smashed it past Roberts. 1-1. Game on!
Chatterjee equalises for the Progress.
Fairhaven sub Parlane.
In the latter stages of the second half the game swung between the two sides with each team having decent spells. It looked to be heading towards extra time but in the 87th minute the Progress grabbed a dramatic winner. Tenacious tackiling and closing down in midfield resulted in the ball falling to the feet of O'Loughlin. The Progress left winger had caused Fairhaven problems throughout the whole game. Not for the first time, he took it past the Fairhaven right back, dribbled the ball inside and placed it across keeper Roberts and into the net. 2-1.
O'Loughlin puts the Progress 2-1 up in the dying minutes.
Progress keeper Chris Teasdale.
Fairhaven almost snatch a late equaliser as Teadale spills it.
Mr Wolfenden blows the full time whistle.
Final score : Progress Sports & Social FC 2 – 1 The Fairhaven FC.
Runners up – The Fairhaven FC.
BFSFA Treasurer Dennis Wilde presents the Cup to the Progress captain.
Division 3 Cup winners 2007/08 – Progress Sports & Social FC.
'Well played Dad', Man of the Match Alan O'Loughlin of Progress.