|Out watching a Division 3B league fixture this morning. At Commonedge Road, third placed Ashiana FC were taking on fourth placed Golden Eagle FC. Both sides were setting out to protect an unbeaten start in the league.|
A new season and a new name for each of today's two sides. Last season, and playing as Bar 19FC, they finished joint bottom of the BFSFA after gaining only four wins and two draws from their 26 league fixtures. Only goal difference saved them from the wooden spoon that went to SPS FC. This season, and renamed as the Ashiana FC, the club has witnessed an upturn in fortunes. This morning's league table had them in third five points behind leaders Kingsfield FC but with a game in hand. After picking up four wins and one draw the team are still unbeaten at the end of September. Their only league defeat came in the opening round of the Gledhill Cup when they went down 3-1 at home to the Falcon.
That league draw came against today's opponents Golden Eagle FC at the end of August when the teams drew 3-3. Last season the Golden Eagle FC played under the name of Fylde Construction FC and in their first season they finished in a very creditable position of fourth. With seventeen wins and nine defeats they were only one of five clubs not to have drawn a league fixture all season. This morning they were in fourth spot only separated by goal difference from today's opponents. They had an identical early season league record to the Ashiana having had four wins along with that 3-3 draw.
Unlike today's opponents they were still unbeaten in all domestic competitions at start of play. Early round wins against Real Burlington and St Annes Social FC have set up a potential giant killing as they've drawn Premier Division side Fylde Coast Gates at Commonedge Road – the tie takes place next Sunday.
Decent weather for football once again this morning with the Edge tamed with only the usual light breeze, mild temperatures and breaking skies. A good job really as a rare stinging hangover was making it difficult to keep the camera steady. David Morfee was in charge of proceedings on Pitch 6 and at 11:10am with a close game between two in-form teams in prospect the Eagle kicked off.
Ashiana FC 2009/10
Golden Eagle FC 2009/10
The two captains with Mr Morfee
Ashiana FC keeper Ben McDonald.
Four Ashiana subs today – one of whom would be disappointed.
McDonald in the melee
Steve gets one in the nuts and nurses the injured appendage..”If you think I'm putting the magic sponge down there…think again!”
Flashed across the Ashiana goal to safety
An old injury returns as the shoulder gets disclocated time for the operation mate.
The Red Arrows were in town today.
Golden Eagle FC manager Derrick Bright. Is he having a drink or isn't he?
The Golden Eagle FC completely dominated the first half apart from the last five minutes when the Ashiana finally began to put some good possesion together upfield. The teams were separated at half time by an 18th minute Lee Crook header who was left unmarked from Steve Barnes' pinpoint cross from the left. The Ashiana were fortunate to go into the break only 1-0 behind.
Lee Crook stoops to head the Eagle into the lead. 1-0
One of the subs limbers up behind the goal.
The only decent match ball was lost in the long grass. Superman was tasked with finding it but even with his extraordinary powers and Xray eye sight he failed to locate it.
You can always tell when the game goes flat.
Half time score: Ashiana FC 0 – 1 Golden Eagle FC
Alan Varley defies gravity
Steve Barnes (Man of the Match)
The Ashiana were much improved in the second half and were somewhat helped by the breeze on their backs. The game went very flat and dull with neither side managing to penetrate. Things were made more interesting on 54 minutes when a speculative long range effort from Dave Seagar caught Eagle keeper Gary Watson flat footed just off his line and he allowed the ball to bounce over him – keeper error. 1-1
The Eagle keeper couldn't soar off the ground as the bounce deceived him less than a yard off his line.
David Seagar (Right)
The unlucky sub who didn't get on. “The bast*** never put me on….out of bed for nothing……….I'm off for a fag”
“Do me a favour mate, take a picture of the Number 16 and call him Gattusso – he hates it” Happy to oblige.
The Ashiana were in the game at 1-1 and although they weren't playing too well they had chances to take the lead. On 79 minutes a ong kick upfield by Watson found Banner on the ball. The centre half didn't do enough and allowed Banner to turn and lay the ball off to Crook who ghosted into the box and fire home off the far post. Three minutes later and Banner was played through to wrap things up following a shot from just inside the area. A fortunate goal for Eagle as the ref was unsighted to a clear hand ball in the centre circle in the move that led up to the goal.
Lee Crook (Out of picture right) drives a shot across the keeper and in off the far post. 1-2
Minutes later 'Super sub' Sam Banner fires home the third for Golden Eagle FC
Ashiana player manager James Gerrard.
A nasty 'jarring' injury as the impressive Eagle left back got his studs caught up in the turf. Holding your head doesnt make your knee better.
Taking a breather whilst he received treatment.
They didn't have long to wait as the whistle went shortly afterwards.
Final score: Ashiana FC 1 – 3 Golden Eagle FC
In summary this wasn't the best of games with both sides putting in below par performances. The Ashiana's unbeaten league start is over and deservedly so. They were a couple of offensive players short today but still didn't create enough chances to take anything away from the game. They have a few youngsters who can only get better and I still expect a top half finish from them this season.
The Golden Eagle took the points and they go into next weekend's big Cup clash in good heart after they see out September still unbeaten. Despite all of their good possession they could have easily dropped points today and against the better teams they'll have to learn to kill teams off. Good performances from Barnes, Crook, the left back and Banner when he came on. The Eagle have a good chance of exceeding last season's finishing position of fourth.