|Starting the new season in the summer sunshine at Stanley Park watching the Division 2B match between Boars Head FC and newly promoted Fireplace Superstore FC.|
Last season referee Max Cobb tried his hand at BFSFA club management instead and the move paid off as his side Fireplace Superstore FC finished the season strongly to take runners up position behind brother Paul's FC Matrix. The gap may have been six points on the final day but the Fireplace took some consolation by taking four points from six off the eventual champions. Runners up spot handed them promotion to Division 2B and come next May I fully expect them to be in the final shake up for promotion once again. They finished last season in 3B by far the strongest taking nineteen points from the last twenty-one and it was this late surge that took them past Hampton Road Social Club FC who faded toward the death. After early round wins in the Gledhill against Frenchman's Cove and Teamsport FC they eventually succumbed to Premier Division outfit Red Rose Catering FC who eventually went on to reach the semi finals. In the Divisional Cup they went out early to the Loft FC. Still, with only three league defeats all season it was a campaign to remember and no doubt the team would be itching to get going again this season.
Standing in the way of an opening day victory this morning were the Boars Head FC. The pub has a long tradition of sponsoring local Sunday football teams and it was good to see them back challenging in the BFSFA after an approximate absence of seven seasons. On paper they're a new team for 2009/10 but with Michael Hughes as manager and Jason Hughes as club secretary they have some experience in their ranks. With players joining from other clubs including last season's Brun Grove FC they were largely an unknown quantity going in to today's game.
Warm sunshine, blue skies and no wind at Stanley Park this morning with the crowd boosted by bemused holidaymakers and local families along with their assorted collection of dreadful children and pets. In the middle of all this mayhem was ex football league referee Mark Cowburn and not long after the little hand touched IX (Eleven) on the big clock his whistle got the long Sunday football season underway with the Boars Head in the orange strip kicking towards the clock tower.
Fireplace Superstore FC frightening the passers by with al fresco changing.
Boars Head FC 2009/10
Fireplace Superstore FC 2009/10
The captains shake hands.
The new season is underway.
Boars Head FC kick off.
Boars Head FC started the brighter but following their first attack the visitors took the lead through Rob Wilkinson. Adam Clayton's cross from the left found Robinson completely unmarked and he headed home as shown in the above picture. 0 – 1.
Fireplace manager Max Cobb happy with the opener.
Boars Head FC keeper Nathan Gourley.
On ten minutes it was 2-0. A short pass found Robinson just inside the box and he made no mistake as he lashed the ball past Gourley.
“I'll have the soup please”. This snaggled toothed observer was enjoying the early goals.
Boars Head FC player manager Mick Hughes.
Watched on by his seven year old son James.
Thomas Chappell (Centre)
On 23 minutes a Fireplace free kick was cleared for a corner. It was initially cleared to the the taker who laid it back for Clayton to cross first time. Again Robinson was left unmarked and his glancing header found the back of the net for his rapid fire hat-trick. 0-3.
Rab Moore receives a yellow card for dissent from Mr Cowburn after questioning a hand ball decision that went against his side. Only four years ago Mr Cowburn was sending Leeds United players off at Elland Road handling 18 man brawls in front of 30,000 baying fans (Read about it here!) so one angry Scotsman at Stanley Park on a Sunday morning isn't going to upset him.
Fireplace skipper Luke Dust.
Anton is left on the deck.
Marauding Fireplace left wing back Adam Clayton
Mr Cowburn gets the wall to retreat.
But not enough pace to trouble the keeper with the free-kick.
Just before the break the Boars were unlucky not to pull one back. Firstly Rab Moore forced Fireplace keeper 'JD' to display his perfectly sculptured stomach as he tipped it over the bar and then Danny Kelly saw his shot tipped on to the bar moments later – unlucky but good saves.
Kelly's shot comes back off the woodwork.
The Boars Head FC supporters curse their team's bad luck.
Sucking on oranges
Half time score: Boars Head FC 0 – 3 Fireplace Superstore FC
Staurt McGarrity looks set for a return to Sunday football with the Boars Head FC
On 52 minutes a good move upfield ended up with Robinson turning just inside the box to smash his shot in off the underside of the cross bar ending all hopes of a Boars Head comeback. 4-0
On 59 minutes the visitors made it 5-0. This time poor communication between keeper and defender allowed Robinson to shoot. The keeper blocked it but the ball fell kindly for Tom Chappell who slotted it home side footed. 0 – 5.
No picnic in the park this morning for Boars Head FC striker Rab Moore.
Lee O'Neil has an enforced absence as his side were unable to play this morning. Instead it was off to the park with the tribe for some egg sandwiches. I didn't get a bite of that sausage roll.
A late booking.
The final whistle goes.
Final score : Boars Head FC 0 – 5 Fireplace Superstore FC
In summary this was a comfortable win for the Division 2B favourites who coasted to victory well within themselves. Home side Boars Head FC can count themselves very unlucky not to score. They gave it full effort for the whole ninety minutes with big performances from Rab Moore, subsitute Gaz and Danny Kelly who worked tremendously hard all over the pitch. Although they deserved to be beaten they gave away four bad goals, especially the headers when the defenders were caught ball-watching instead of man marking. They have a decent team who I expect will win more than they lose. A goal before the break may have provided a lifeline but Fireplace keeper JD kept them out. A tough opening day fixture.
As for Fireplace Superstore FC they've now gone eight matches unbeaten taking the end of last season into consideration. They're a very attacking minded side who played 3 – 4 – 3 for most of the match especially having gone 2-0 up. Foxy maintains the shape of the back line allowing young Clayton to cause havoc on the flank as he largely went unmarked. His runs and crosses created two out of the three opening goals and he had a good game, Aspin in the middle is a good player as is fellow ex Progress Property player Byrne Carter. Today's Man of the Match was four goal hero Rob Wilkinson (Although he should have had six). Fireplace Superstore FC will be the team to beat in this Division alongside Highfield Social. Fleetwood Kings FC (The Loft) and maybe Progress Sports who all started with wins this morning. I'll be keeping an eye on Division 2B. Well refereed by Mr Cowburn who apart from having to deal with some Boars frustration as their pre-season bubble of anticipation burst had a largely uneventful game.