|A few snaps from this morning's tasty-looking Division Two Cup clash between Excelsior FC and the league's so-called 'dirtiest' team North West Kitchens FC at Squires Gate FC's fine ground.|
Clear skies this morning although a tad chilly. You know it's cold when you see the likes of local footballing legend and regular marathon runner Ian “Nico” Nicholls taking to the field with gloves on.
As of this morning Excelsior were well placed in Division 2B in fourth place just 4 points off leaders Fleetwood Cricket Club. Just 3 defeats in the league all season, one to the leaders and two unexplainable disappointments against Paris Casino and Brun Grove.
In the Gledhill they were hammered 9-1 by Red Rose but they progressed in this competition by defeating Claremont Cons 2-0.
This season they have added experience to the squad, importing most of last season's Waterloo FC from Division One in Ian Nicholls, Marc Green, Mark Truby, Gaz Jakins, Martyn Percival, Ben Hopes and Mark Lisgo.
North West Kitchens sat a creditable sixth in Division 2B this morning, 11 points adrift and a game in hand on the leaders.
Again, just 3 defeats all season in the league, twice to leaders Fleetwood Cricket Club and a narrow 1-2 against AFC Marton.
In the Gledhill they defeated St. Annes and then Kingsfield before losing out to Red Rose Catering. A 2-0 against Links earned them today's tie at one of the best grounds in the area.
Both sides were missing key players but Kitchens were the worst off, having only player/manager Russ Perrett on the bench.
Excelsior kick off. The giant in the pic is top scorer Craig Worrall, 23 goals in 12 games
North West Kitchens' John Whittle, the youngest of the 3 Whittles on display today
A great run by Worrall down the right wing exposed the Kitchens' back line, easy tap in for Gary Baird (left). 1-0 after 3 minutes
Worrall '”palming off” Paul Whittle
The Excelsior striker just dragged this effort wide
Gaz Jakins with the flag for Excelsior
Today's referee Lee Willetts
Kitchens' winger Liam Jenks was bright early on
Rikki Roberts (centre) with this week's 'Camp' award winning pose
Excelsior in the ascendancy in the first half hour
Excelsior's star midfielder Mark Truby
Craig Worrall lashed home Excelsior's second after cutting in from the left wing. 2-0.
Martyn Percival was immense at centre half for Excelsior, winning everything in the air.
Goal number three for Excelsior as skipper Chris Topham celebrates his effort. This brought the immortal line from Kitchens' player/manager Russ Perrett – “The only way we'll get anything out of today is if we rifle the changing rooms!”
Excelsior's Ian Nicholls, complete with nancy gloves
Excelsior's Marc Green was uncharacteristically late today, earning himself a place on the bench
North West Kitchens began to play a bit towards half time, only Percival between them and a goal from a corner on this occasion
Nick Shorrock with a clearing header
Worrall sees this effort well saved just before half time, 3-0 to Excelsior at the break, as Kitchens no doubt prepare for some thrown tea cups from Perrett.
The first yellow of the game, Tony Whittle a little peeved after a questionable offside flag.
Good running from Kev Everton as Kitchens press
Percival taking a 'no-nonsense' approach to the aerial threat of Tony Whittle
Spongeman 'Tony the Turkey' rushes on to attend to Whittle after Per's challenge
In the away stand with the Kitchens' 'Ultra'
Truby bossed midfield and was always dangerous on the break
Worrall fending off Shorrock with some fancy footwork
The first bad tackle of the match earns Truby a yellow. More from over-enthusiasm than malice though.
Big Russ Perrett enters the fray, narrowly wide with this header
The Excelsior backline soon got his measure though…
Per again with a clearing header
A glimmer of hope for Kitchens as Kev Everton's long throw is glanced into the net by Tony Whittle
So close as John Whittle lobs the keeper only for brother Tony to fumble in the 6 yard box and miss the target. Should have been a goal for 3-2.
Nick Shorrock clears from Paul 'Smudge' Smith
Marc Green brought on for Excelsior to beef up the defence
Tony Whittle, normally so clinical, could have had a hat-trick today
Green beats Whittle to the ball
'Arty' shot. 4-1 and game over as the impressive Truby causes havoc in the final third and lashes a shot in from a tight angle. Goal of the game.
As time ran out Marc Green fouled Whittle in the area to earn himself a booking and Kitchens a penalty.
Unfortunately for John Whittle he skied it. Fortunately for him though, I was too busy changing the batteries in the camera to catch it for posterity.
A deserved win for Excelsior today although Kitchens will rue their slow start and wasteful finishing. On another day the result could have been much closer.
A cracking game played in excellent spirit by both teams and well officiated by Lee Willetts.
High-res pics available from today's game if you are pictured above and would like a memento for free. Email firstname.lastname@example.org