|The third visit of the week to the ground of Blackpool Wren Rovers FC to watch the Division 1 Cup final between CTK FC and Fylde Coast Gates FC. Gates were the losing finalists last season, could they lift the trophy this time around?|
Last season CTK FC finished third in Division 1 after picking up fifteen wins and two draws from a 24 game league programme. There's a lot said about their disciplinary problems but no team finishes third unless they can play a bit of good football. This season James Taylor's team have had another good campaign and with two games left to play they still have an outside chance of finishing as high as fourth place which they currently occupy.
In reaching today's final they've had to knock out the Philharmonic, Blackpool Rangers and Bispham Juniors. The quarter final saw CTK FC beat Blackpool Rangers 4-1 and the semi-final epitomised their fighting qualities as they came back from 3-1 down in extra time to draw 3-3 before going through on penalties.
For opponents Fylde Coast Gates this is their first season in Division 1 after they achieved promotion from Division 2A. It took them a good while to acclimatise. After suffering seven defeats in the first nine league matches it looked as though an early return to the second division was a good bet but they stuck at it and after finding their feet they've become very difficult to beat.
The league table shows them in ninth and with one game left to play I'd be very surpised if they didn't finish in that position. I expect them to finish much higher next season. Brian Carr's men have reached today's final by beating the Dunes, Bloomfield Vets and the Waterloo Hotel. The semi final at Boundary Park against the Waterloo ended 4-3 in their favour. Last season Gates also reached the Division 2 Cup final but the Gardeners Arms FC beat them 2-1.
In the league this season the teams have taken three points off each other. Back in February CTK FC won 1-0 away at Commonedge and a few weeks ago Fylde Coast Gates won 3-1 away at Boundary Park. Not an easy final to predict the outcome of.
Today's referee was Sandy Gear. On the line were Andy Byrne and Kelvin Dyson. Fylde Coast Gates FC were playing in the dark blue. The weather was still cold for April with the strong easterly wind persisting and for most of the game we had light rain. The Wren Rovers' pitch was in excellent condition as it has been all season. CTK in the red kicked off defending the changing block end.
CTK FC 2007/08
Fylde Coast Gates FC 2007/08
Andy Byrne (Left), Sandy Gear and Kelvin Dyson.
Robbie Gardner and Wayne Taylor.
CTK kick off as the winger sneaks a yard or two.
Only four minutes were on the clock when Gates opened the scoring. A pass over the heads of the CTK defenders found Simon Oswell onside. He let the ball do the work before lashing it home. 1-0.
Oswell fires Gates into the lead.
Gates celebrate as the Shovels' contingent watches on.
Only a minute later and it was two nil. In the above picture the initial shot was well saved by CTK keeper Chris Brown. Another blocked effort rebounded to the edge of the six yard box and like all good strikers Simon Oswell was on hand to smash it into the net. 2-0 and CTK all at sea.
CTK were awarded a free kick on the edge of the Gates' box. The daisycutter wasn't hit too well and looked to be heading for the gloves of Mick Hopkins.
However, it hit a bobble and as with 'Scott Carson' for England the ball bounced of his shoulder but luckily for Hopkins it just looped over the bar – a let off.
Gates keeper Mick Hopkins.
Not long afterwards Gates broke upfield once again. Another diagonal pass found Steve Creelman onside and as keeper Brown rushed out to meet him Crealman coolly chipped the ball over his head and into the back of the net. 3-0. Surely game over?
On 38 minutes CTK FC were handed a lifeline. A cross into the box looked as though it was going to be cleared by Tony Ball but the defender slipped on the greasy surface. The ball broke loose but before the CTK forward could score he was tripped by Tony Ball in an effort to clear it – nailed on penalty.
Steven Farquhar scores from the spot. 3-1.
“You OK Fisher?”. The young CTK player couldn't answer after taking a shot at pace in the nether regions.
Deep into first half injury time and CTK forced a corner. Wayne Taylor wants to go up for it but he's hauled back to defend the break. The corner came in, it was missed at the near post and Marc Taylor pounced to flick it past Hopkins. 3-2. Game on – it was to be the last action of the half.
Marc Taylor puts CTK FC right back in the match.
Half time score : Fylde Coast Gates FC 3 – 2 CTK FC.
Into the second half.
On 50 minutes CTK had a great chance to equalise. A long ball had to be headed clear by the Gates keeper outside his own box. The ball fell to Steve Taylor but with the keeper in no mans land he fired high and wide.
Anymore back chat and you're in the book.
On 61 minutes CTK FC conceded a free kick about 40 yards out. The ball was played into the box and flicked on for Steve Creelman. He twisted and turned, beat a defender and shot past Chris Brown to make it 4-2.
Creelman dummies the CTK defender before putting his side 4-2 up.
'Can't say I didn't warn you'.
Great credit to CTK FC as they once again refused to lie down. On 67 minutes they pulled another goal back rather fortuitiously thanks to the Gates' defender. This time it was Gates' turn to concede a silly free kick. The ball was played into the centre of the penalty area. Facing his own goal Gates' skipper Robbie Gardner stretch out a leg and flicked the ball over the head of Hopkin and into the back of the net. 4-3.
Comedy moment. Referee Mr Gear reverses backwards without checking the rearview mirror and falls head over heels over the prone Gates player. Biggest cheer of the day.
'Thanks for helping me up young laddie'.
Head in hands as Gates have a goal ruled out for handball.
In the latter stages CTK were pushing for an equaliser and there was a controversial moment as they had a goal ruled out for offside as three men broke from the half way line. Gates were still dangerous on the break.
CTK FC threaten late on.
Cramp sets in
It's all over as Sandy Gear blows the full time whistle.
Good game mate – well played.
Final score : Fylde Coast Gates FC 4 – 3 CTK FC.
A very entertaining Division 1 Cup final packed with action and goals from start to finish. Being 3-0 up after only twenty minutes most of the sizeable crowd thought we were in for a rout but as we know a 3-0 lead means nothing in Sunday football. As I said, credit to CTK FC who stuck together and maintained their shape and composure. Poor defending had given them a mountain to climb but when the half time whistle went they were right back in it at 3-2.
The fourth was an important moment in the match as it restored Gates' two goal cushion. Still CTK came back and the OG by Gardner help set up an interesting and exciting last half hour. Well refereed by Mr Gear this was a hard fought match with hardly a bad tackle in the game. In the end Gates deserved the win and it made up for last season's Cup final disappointment against the Gardeners Arms. Young Sam particularly caught the eye today. A brave effort from CTK FC and I look forward to seeing both of these teams do battle in Division 1 again next season.
Wayne Taylor collects his runners up medal.
Wayne Taylor with eight year old son Jack.
Robbie Gardner hoists the Division 1 Cup aloft.
Henry Wright is doused with champagne.
Wayne Binks (Left) and Steve Creelman.
Fylde Coast Gates FC manager Brian Carr with young son Nathan.