|Just time for some lunch and to recharge the camera battery before heading back across to the ground of Blackpool Mechanics FC to watch the Division 2 Cup final. A great match in prospect between Division 2B's Fleetwood Car Centre FC and Division 2A title chasers Ward Heating FC. Who would lift the trophy?|
The weather in the afternoon wasn't much different from that of the morning. Although the sun was shining April showers were still threatening and the temperature remained cool. One positive from this is that the Blackpool Mechanics pitch was in a lot better state than last season when it was little more than a sandy dustbowl.
It was about the same time last year that Ward Heating FC went into the Division 3 Cup final very much the underdogs against unbeaten 3A champions Wrea Green. However, commitment, effort and some good football saw them through and they lifted the trophy. In Division 2A this season they've gone from strength to strength and despite my poor pre season prediction the leaders are still in with a great shout of winning 2A as they enter into a dog fight with Visualise North FC and Little Fat Jacks FC during the closing week's of the season.
To reach today's final they started off with a 5-2 away win against Brannigans (2B). In round 2 they beat the Central Club 6-4 (2B) before knocking out Little Fat Jacks (2A) 3-0 in the last eight. In last week's semi final they needed penalties to end the strong resistance of Highfield Social Reserves (2B) after the game finished at 2-2 after 90 minutes.
Today's opponents Fleetwood Car Centre FC are playing their first season in Sunday football. Even though it's highly unlikely that they'll fulfill my pre-season prediction of winning the league they won't finish too far off the top. The young side has received many plaudits for the good football and attitude they display on the pitch. It's little wonder that a good number of them have already broken into Saturday football at places like Mechanics and Fleetwood Reserves.
The team are currently in fifth place in Division 2B. With games in hand on the teams above them they may yet finish in third behind strong sides the Saddle and Pulcinellas. The Car Centre had a good run in the Gledhill before being knocked out by Prem side Hydronics after a replay. In round 1 of this competition they received a home walk-over aginst the now defunct Bispham Hotel (2A). It took a replay to get past the Queens FC (2B). A 2-2 draw was followed by a narrow 2-1 away win. They had to play well against 2A side Visualise North FC and they did asa they came away with a 4-1 win. In last week's semi they struggled to get past Great Eccleston FC with a 1-0 win.
There's been lots of arguments as per usual over the relative overall strengths of Division 2A and Division 2B. To my mind they're fairly even and I'm sue that this will be evidenced by this morning's match. Today's referee was John Hay. On the line were Sam Johnson and Simon Moore. The Car Centre were playing in the dark blue.
Ward Heating FC
Fleetwood Car Centre FC.
Sam Johnson, John Hay and Simon Moore.
They could be related?
Anthony Warwick (Right)
Never mind the football let's catch up on the gossip.
Good catch from ward keeper Lee Bonney.
Car Centre manager Terry Hargreaves almost looking smart but the Missus forgot to sort out his collar. Good effort.
'Come 'ere you'. Bonney scrambles across to retrieve the loose ball.
The Car Centre started off brilliantly and the team's passing offensive football had their opponents well on the back foot. It was little surprise when a fast flowing move upfield ended with Kieren Allen playing in Anthony Warwick who made no mistake from eight yards. 1-0.
Fleetwood celebrate Warwick's opener.
Rarely apart – Woolcock (Left) and Warwick.
On 36 minutes it was 2-0. Craig Sibbald cut inside and encouraged to shoot by his teammates he unleashed an unstoppable dipping half volley from 25v yards that left Bonney rooted. 2-0 and the Car Centre in dreamland. Ward Heating having to regroup after the loss of influential skipper Nigel Marlow through injury.
Hydronics FC celebrate a good morning's work with four cups of tea.
Martin Marlow fancies his chances but he failed to trouble the keeper.
Just before the interval Ward Heating pulled one back against the run of play. A throw in from the left was met by the head of Graham Hutchinson who flicked it on to Mick Morrison at the far post who headed home. 2-1.
Morrison (9) heads it into the net to make it 2-1.
Half time score : Fleetwood Car Centre FC 2 – 1 Ward Heating FC
The gorgeous Fleetwood Car Centre M A G S.
The not so pretty Viz North contingent keeping a close eye on rivals Ward Heating.
Colder than it looked.
An eventful game from start to finish as usual for Ward's battling midfielder Woodsy.
Morrison goes close to getting his second.
I think it's fair to say that Ward Heating were rubbish in the first half and were largely outclassed by the better football of the Car Centre. However, the late goal in the first half combined with a half time rollicking from manager Mick Hutchinson resulted in a huge improvement. Ward were searching for the equaliser with menace and the Car Centre were struggling to cope especially with set pieces.
Chris Debar (Right).
Whilst Ward Heating continued to pile on the pressure the Car Centre were struggling to mount any decent offensive pressure. Ward Heating went very close but the ball flew back off the post.
Order is quickly restored.
A free kick goes close but Dickov saves.
88 minutes, the ball comes in from the left, the keeper catches the defender's head instead of the ball and Woolcock (15 far right) is poised to react. Can he score?
Yes he can, the Ex PPM star bangs it into the top corner for a dramatic late equaliser. 2-2.
The Car Centre just can't keep it out.
Score after 90 minutes : Fleetwood Car Centre FC 2 – 2 Ward Heating FC.
We're into extra time.
The first half of extra time saw Ward Heating kicking with the breeze behind them but the Car Centre defended resolutely. In the second period of additional time it could have gone either way but unsurprisingly we had the penalty shoot out.
The penaly shoot out was dramatic. After five penalties it was 4-4. As for the two that were missed Lee Bonney made a good save for Ward and Martin Marlow hit the post. Sudden death. The first two were converted successfully. The Car Centre went 6-5 up before midfielder Woods was just too accurate as his penalty rebounded off the post.
Ward Heating FC's Woodsy hits the post in the penalty shoot out.
The Car Centre mob the keeper.
Waiting for the presentation.
Ward Heating FC. This season it's their turn to be on the losing side.
Get the camera ready.
Break open the champagne.
What a great final. A good reflection of Division's 2A and 2B which has proved to be geat entertainment for the neutral all season.
Final score : Fleetwood Car Centre FC 2 – 2 Ward Heating FC (Fleetwood Car Centre FC won 6-5 on penalties).
Division 2 Cup winners 2007/08 – Fleetwood Car Centre FC.