Christmas BLOG – 2009

As we head toward the turn of the new year we take a look at how the six Divisions are beginning to shape up.  A bit of a review, a few predictions, a hint of controversy and a couple of areas for debate.  I hope you enjoy the read.   Merry Christmas to all of our website visitors – have a safe and enjoyable time.

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Firstly, sincere best wishes to all our Fyldesport.com visitors for a relaxing Christmas and a happy, healthy and successful 2010.

As we move into 2010 this article looks at the current position across the six BFSFA Divisions.  The main topic of discussion at present is the weather.  As I begin this article early Tuesday morning the football pitches of the Fylde are frozen solid with a healthy covering of snow.  For the last two months we’ve had everything thrown at us.  November was a washout due to a deluge of rain.  When it stopped raining we had gale force winds with goal-keepers at Commonedge struggling to kick it out of their own area and when the weather finally calmed we’ve had heavy frosts and finally some snow.  The British winter at its harshest. 

I’m well aware that many clubs haven’t played for almost two months.  On a positive note we lost many fixtures last season in August due to freak wet weather and when compared to other local leagues we certainly do not do any worse, if anything, a number of our venues generally allow football whatever the weather.  On to the football; The comments below are that of the interested neutral.  As always there will be elements of controversy but take them in the right context.

Collins Park – Tuesday December 22nd 2009

Premier Division

As with last season we reach Christmas with the top Division hardly having started.  An interesting fact is that since we got underway in August there have been twenty Sundays and one Wednesday available for fixtures.  Seven of the ten sides have not yet managed to get six league fixtures under their belts with the Devonshire Arms FC only having played four.  With such infrequent games it’s hard to observe any sense of form which makes predicting the outcome fairly difficult.

Understandably, a number of our top sides have been involved in the Gledhill Cup and the Lancashire Sunday Trophy.  They too have been affected by the extreme weather we’ve had but this doesn’t paint the full picture.  I’ve given it some thought and in my view another season is that too many of them play on private grounds or at venues that don’t cope too well with the weather or both.

The private grounds such as Blackpool Wren Rovers and Northern Care quite rightly prioritise them for Saturday football and make every effort to preserve them for the season ahead.  The Devonshire Arms FC and Pulcinellas FC depend on the two schools to give them the go ahead to play who also appear to be over protective and Poulton SFC (Cottam Hall), Wrea Green FC (Village Green) and Hydronics FC (Thornton Sports Centre) play at venues that are vulnerable to waterlogged surfaces.  Hydronics FC, who are not involved in the Lancashire Sunday Trophy, have only played once on the last eleven Sundays.

Even Quilligans FC at Collins Park have been subject to a number of postponements.  The improvements made by Fleetwood Town FC to both the pitch and the facilities have been very welcome but I’m now unsure as to whether Collins Park is the home of the BFSFA who allow Fleetwood Town FC to share or whether it’s now the home of Fleetwood Town FC who allow the BFSFA to share.  Who makes the final decision on pitch availability?  It’s great having floodlights but we’re yet to see a floodlit Sunday fixture being played on it.  Hopefully, we’ll be able to clear some of the backlog by playing floodlit fixtures on it in the new year but who pays the electricity bill?

Blackpool Rangers FC were playing out of Boundary Park which stands up to the weather well but have now moved back to their ground at Wyre Juniors FC.  Controversially, it is still without showers but in addition that pitch isn’t as robust as the one at Boundary Park.  There’s also a rumour that Poulton SFC wish to return to Gorst Farm which has a similar set up to that of Wyre Juniors.  Only Fylde Coast Gates FC play at Commonedge and even they have been subject to unnecessary postponements due to the Council making global cancellations but hopefully this practise has stopped.  Although they’re still going well in the Gledhill Cup it’s no co-incidence that they’ve played nine games.

There’s another factor that’s responsible for the low fixture rate and that’s a degree of inflexibility being displayed by a number of the teams.  I know of at least one club that was asked by the committee to play elsewhere due to the unavailability of their pitch but they refused.  This has set the precedent for every team in the BFSFA to insist on playing their home matches on their allocated pitch.

Commonsense tells me the answer to the problem is three-fold.  We need more Premier Division sides allocated pitches at Boundary Park, Commonedge Road and Blackpool Road, St Annes (Four out of the six Divisional winners last season played out of these venues).  If available, we need to make best use of the floodlights at Collins Park, Wren Rovers and AFC Blackpool and finally we need a greater degree of flexibility from the top sides in moving to other venues when requested by the committee when their own pitches are unfit.  Maybe a rule clarification is required which makes it clear that it’s the league who tell the clubs where they’ll be playing their home matches and not the other way around.

The Christmas league table for the Premier Division shows Northern Care FC at the top having won five of their opening six games and losing only once.  Once again they look to have the talent to win the league and that view is supported by good wins against last season’s top two, Blackpool Rangers and Quilligans.  They’re still going well in the Gledhill and had a good run in the Lancashire Sunday Trophy but not as good as they should have done.

Northern Care’s only league loss came against Poulton who are only two points behind in second spot.  They’re still to play Quilligans and despite taking points of Blackpool Rangers and Devonshire Arms they showed in a 4-1 defeat to Hydronics that they still lack some consistency.  They too are still going well in the Gledhill Cup.  Blackpool Rangers FC are in third four points behind the leaders having played a game more.  In their Championship season they dropped only fifteen points but after only seven games they’ve already dropped ten.  They’re still in the Gledhill Cup and there’s a long way to go but after three attempts they’re still to get against any of their four main rivals for the title.

Northern Care FC winning away in Chorley in the Lancashire Sunday Trophy.

Quilligans FC have once again reached the semi-final of the Lancashire Sunday Trophy which is another great achievement.  Their long unbeaten record in the Gledhill Cup continues but having only played five league games they’re still to prove themselves.  A loss to Northern Care and a draw against Blackpool Rangers gives an early indication that the Premier league will end up being close once again.

The Devonshire Arms FC are in fifth after playing only four league fixtures.  They’ve picked up three wins and suffered one defeat against Poulton on the opening day.  In the league, they’re still untested against any of the other big three although they did enjoy a good win against Blackpool Rangers in the Lancashire Sunday Trophy.  They deserve credit for reaching the quarter final and if ever the weather permits they may yet go on to face Quilligans FC in the semi-final which would not only guarantee one of our sides a place in the final but it would be a major coup for the BFSFA having two sides reach the last four.

The current top five very much look as though they’ll occupy the top five places in May but in what order is still far from clear.  Hopefully, it will be close, competitive and played in the proper spirit.

A number of the five sides in the bottom half have incurred problems.  The Dunes were close to folding due the loss of a sponsor and players leaving.  Sincere best wishes to manager Joe Hulme who is currently unwell.  He’s done his best to keep it altogether and good luck to him.  Hydronics and Wrea Green have failed to fulfil a league and Cup fixture respectively and the latter still await their first league point after six games.  Fylde Coast Gates and Pulcinellas look to be defensively frail early season after conceding an average of almost four a game in the league.  Out of the bottom five sides only Hydronics and Fylde Coast Gates have managed to take any points off sides in the top five so far this season.

Division 1

Once again, Division 1 is proving to be a highly interesting and competitive league.  It was sad to see the demise of GE Rushworth FC (Ex Golden Eagle FC) who recently folded after twenty-three seasons in the BFSFA.  The people running that team gave years of their own time and effort but their commitment was not matched by the players. 

The best thing about Division 1 is that no matter who you are there’s rarely, if ever, a league fixture that you will win without giving it 100% effort and having your best team out.  All of the teams look to be well capable of taking points off any of their rivals.  The current top three ‘FC’s look to be in good form and they’ll be hard to catch.  Leaders FC Loco are this season’s surprise package.  The club finished seventh last season and ended on something of a low note after being well beaten in the Division 1 Cup by Northern Care Reserves FC 5-1 at Fleetwood. 

They’ve got off to a great start after winning nine and drawing two of their opening twelve games.  That defeat came on the opening day against Highbury Vets and they’ve remained unbeaten in the league since.  They’ve picked up good wins against Bloomfield Vets, Old Town Hall and most recently FC Matrix so they’re at the top on merit. I look forward to see how they get on against FC Eden.  Loco are still in the Gledhill Cup and face a home tie against Frenchman’s Cove in early January.

The Division 1 form table on the Fyldesport sister site shows FC Eden at the top based on the last six games.  In fact, they’ve won eight league games in a row and they’re now the only unbeaten side in the Division.  They’ve only dropped two points from the first ten games and that came in an early season midweek draw away at AFC Additions. They’ve also achieved important wins against Bloomfield Vets, Old Town Hall and FC Matrix.   Eden are in second a point behind the Loco with two games in hand but as I said earlier the two teams are still to face each other.  The club have also reached the last eight of this season’s Gledhill Cup. 

In third place are FC Matrix who were promoted straight up to Division 1 after winning Division 3B so comprehensively last season.  They’ve won seven and drawn one of their opening ten games.  It’s fair to say that they’re having a tough spell at present.  They were knocked out of the Gledhill by Fylde Coast Gates before losing to both FC Eden and FC Loco during December.  They were also unfortunate to be hit hard by the demise of GE Rushworth.  FC Matrix are still only seven points behind FC Loco with two games in hand.  The club have showed that in 7-0 wins against Fairhaven and an impressive fight-back against the Kitchens that they can play good football.  January will be an important month for Matrix if they’re to maintain their challenge and if they’re to finish in the top two they’ll probably have to take some points off Eden and Loco in the reverse fixtures.  I think that all three of the clubs thus far mentioned would relish the challenge in the top Division and besides, with Loco and Eden playing on decent pitches we may get more fixtures being played

Goal celebration from the FC Matrix keeper as they come back to beat the Kitchens.

The top three are in danger of breaking away and although it will be difficult for any of the other teams to break into the top three many of them will undoubtedly have a say in whoever wins it.  The Old Town Hall are just behind FC Eden in the form table after gaining sixteen points out of the last eighteen available.  Not bad for a team that didn’t win a game until October 4th.  They’ve already lost to Eden and Loco whilst drawing against the Matrix so on one hand they’ve got some tough fixtures out of the way but on the other hand that’s why they don’t deserve to be higher in the table.  They were knocked out of the Gledhill by Eden.  Current form suggests that Old Town Hall still have a chance of equalling or indeed bettering last season’s third place and if they do then surely they must have a go in the Prem.

Both Highbury Vets and Bloomfield Vets have some decent players but they’re both finding it relatively hard going in this tough Division.  Highbury Vets are in fifth and although they’ve taken four points off FC Loco and beaten the likes of the Kitchens and the Shovels they’ve lost to both Eden and loco as well as losing to bottom club Paris Casino.  On their day they they’re capable of beating anybody as are Bloomfield Vets who are currently in sixth.  Unusually, they’ve only won four of their first ten games and more importantly they’re yet to take any points off the five teams above them in the table. 

AFC Additions in seventh were only beaten to the Division 2A title by FC Eden’s superior goal difference.  Additions deserve a lot of credit for an excellent run in the Lancashire Sunday Trophy.  That good run means that they’ve only managed to play eight league games.  They’ve drawn against Eden and beat Old Town Hall but defeats against the Shovels, Fairhaven and rivals Fleetwood Cricket Club highlight inconsistency. Another inconsistent side are Fairhaven.  They play on a great surface and have some very good players.  Their opponents rate them as a good team but in defeats against Loco, Eden and Matrix they’ve shown that they still have some way to go before threatening a place in the top four.

Fleetwood Cricket Club have won four and lost six out of their first ten games.  Apart from an opening day win against Bloomfield Vets they’ve hardly troubled any of the sides in the top half of the table.  With fourteen matches the Shovels FC have played more games than any other side in the Division and they’ve underachieved on pre-season expectations.  The side did very well in finishing fourth last season losing only eight league games along the way.  This season they’ve already lost nine matches and will do well to finish in the top half.

North West Kitchens FC were not overly happy at being promoted into Division 1.  Last season they finished sixth in Division 2B but teams folding in the top two Divisions combined with a little committee arm twisting led to them competing in Division 1.  Despite being down in eleventh they look to be rather enjoying it.  They may only have picked up two wins and three draws from the first twelve games but they’ve drawn against FC Loco and only lost by the odd goal to FC Matrix and Bloomfield Vets.  They’ll upset a few sides in the top half before the end of the season. 

Northern Care Reserves FC are down in twelfth but have a number of games in hand on the sides above them.  They’ve failed to kick on from that impressive Division 1 Cup win of last season and with only two league wins to their name they too will struggle to finish higher than the ninth place they achieved last season.  Paris Casino were also promoted up from Division 2B last season after finishing in fourth but with only one win all season (Following the demise of GE Rushworth) they face a battle against relegation.

Division 2A

In Division 2A we lost FC Gretone early on which is something of a pity as they looked to be a good set of young lads.  This Division now comprises of thirteen teams and as we head towards the new year there are still six or seven sides still in with a chance of winning it if they put a decent spell of form together.

As it stands, West Coast Tackle Postal FC are ahead of Great Eccleston FC on goal difference but that goal difference advantage of +24 is a good one to have.  West Coast also have a game in hand and have only lost one league game all season.  That came in a narrow 5-4 defeat to Waterloo Sports & Social.  Offensively, the team are on fire scoring an average of over five goals per game.  There most recent win was in the Division 2 Cup when they thrashed Hampton Road Social Club 7-1.  If they keep up this good form a return to Division 1 looks likely. 

The Division 2A form table on the Sister site shows Great Eccleston at the top after taking sixteen from the last eighteen points.  They’re the only side in the Division who are still unbeaten in the league.  The first league match against leaders West Coast finished at 3-3 so there’s not much between them.  Great Eccleston FC have probably been in Division 2A longer than any other team so it would be good to see them challenging in Division 1.

The top two have a seven point gap between themselves and third placed FC Talbot but that’s nothing in this Division.  FC Talbot have a game in hand on Eccleston.  They’ve only lost one of their last eight games but they’ve drawn four of them otherwise they’d be challenging at the top.  The unpredictable Squirrel FC are in fourth.  They’re well capable of putting a decent run of form together and have won the last three in the league.

Waterloo Sports & Social FC are in fifth.  Although ten points behind leaders West Coast Tackle they beat them in their last league encounter and only lost 5-4 to Great Eccleston.  They always look like scoring and are second top scorers in the Division.  Inconsistency against sides in the bottom half may once again prove to be their undoing.  Third in the form table are Mythop Leisure FC who currently occupy sixth place.  They’ve accumulated thirteen points from the last eighteen but are once again frustrated by the lack of match action.  Their last league fixture took place on October 25th when they lost 2-1 to the Talbot.

Brun Grove FC are still well placed in mid table but which way will they progress in the New year?  They’ve got two or three games in hand on many of the sides above them.  They beat Waterloo Sports & Social on the opening day but only took one point from the four matches against West Coast, Great Eccleston, Squirrel and Talbot.

There are two sides in the lower half that still look dangerous.  Both Rossall Tavern and Spindles have only played seven games apiece.  Don’t rule either of these two sides out of the final shake up.  Autoweld FC are capable of beating anybody in this Division but as that recent ‘no show’ proved they’re not overly serious about challenging for promotion.  The team are currently down in ninth and are yet to take any points from the top five sides. 

In eleventh are Hampton Road Social.  After a successful season in Division 3B where they finished third behind FC Matrix and Fireplace Superstore they’re finding life in the higher Division a little more troublesome.  They’ve now gone eight games without a win in all competitions having last notched a victory on September 20th.  They need to improve if they’re to achieve a mid table finish.

MA2 FC keeper in the rain at Commonedge

One of the biggest disappointments this season is the form of MA2 FC.  After winning twenty two of their twenty-six league fixtures last season they deservedly won Division 3A and it’s often the case that sides which storm Division 3 usually go on to win a second successive promotion but going into 2010 MA2 FC are still to win a league game after five draws and five defeats but the recent draw against FC Talbot showed that they’re not too far from turning things around.

Claremont Cons FC are currently bottom with only one win from the last ten games and despite the issues surrounding the Eccleston Cup tie their performance that morning showed that they’re better than their league table suggests.  Their last win came against MA 2 FC I late September.  I’m still waiting for my Christmas card from Ckaremont.

Division 2B

Division 2B is also shaping up well with six or seven sides still very much in the mix.  Last season Progress Sports & Social FC finished ninth in 2B so unsurprisingly there was little activity in the bookmakers relating to them pre-season.  Heading toward Christmas Progress are one of only four sides in the BFSFA who are still unbeaten having won nine and drawn one of their opening ten league fixtures.  They sit at the top of the league level on points with Fleetwood Kings albeit they have two games in hand and a far superior goal difference.  They’d mostly played sides in the bottom half of the table but when the big test came against Fleetwood Kings in mid November they showed their title credentials with a 3-1 away win.  They still have much to do with many important fixtures still to play.

Fleetwood Kings have played twelve and only lost twice in the league so far.  As well as the home defeat to Progress they’ve also lost against Highfield Social.  I expect this Division to divide into two by late February and if the Kings are to challenge for promotion they’ll have to do better against the top sides.

Highfield Social are in third three points behind Fleetwood Kings with a game in hand.  They have some good players in their ranks and as one of the pre-season favourites they’re still handily placed to do well.  They’ve done well against sides in the lower half but defeats to Layton Institute and Fireplace Superstore have proved that winning promotion will be far from easy.  Last season Fireplace Superstore were promoted from Division 3B after finishing second.  As expected, they’re going very well once again.  They started off where they left off with seven straight league wins but in recent weeks they’ve faced some difficult games in league and Cup against the better teams in the Division.  After losing in the Gledhill Cup to BFSFA Champions Blackpool Rangers they’ve lost to Fleetwood Kings and Layton Institute in the league as well as drawing in the Cup with Division 2A side the Squirrel.  They’ll have to pick up form and maintain composure against the better sides if they’re to achieve a second successive promotion.

Skye FC (Blue) v Blackpool Catholic Club FC at St Annes

Another team in good form are Layton Institute FC who playing as Frenchman’s Cove FC finished eighth in this Division last season.  The team are currently in fifth nine points behind second placed Fleetwood Kings but with four games in hand.  They’re also doing well in both of the domestic Cup competitions.  They’ve reached Round 4 of the Gledhill where they’ll take on Premier Division side Poulton SFC after thrashing FC Talbot 8-1.  In the Division 2 Cup they began with a 4-1 win over Autoweld.  We then have four clubs in mid table and five at the bottom. 

Just three points separate sixth placed No4 Pub FC from ninth placed Blackpool Catholic Club.  The No4 Pub have won five against sides in the lower half but have come up short against Progress and Kings.  Boars Head have only lost four out of the first ten but they too have struggled against the top sides suffering 5-0 and 9-0 defeats against Fireplace and Progress respectively.  Skye FC are in eighth and prior to the weather related postponements they were running into form.  They’ve picked up creditable draws against Kings, Progress and Layton and had some big wins against the strugglers.  The team finished in eleventh last season but at present they fear nobody and may push up to sixth this season if they maintain some form.

Blackpool Catholic Club FC are in ninth with four wins and six defeats from the first ten.  They’re inconsistent in the league but the recent 6-1 beating of the Boars Head in the Divisional Cup may inspire confidence.  AFC Marton, Old England and Marshall Court finished in the bottom five last season and they’re all still struggling to make any progress.  The Old England have at least made some improvement.  Last season they finished bottom with only nine points but they’ve already accumulated ten points this season and now occupy the dizzying position of eleventh.  AFC Marton, Metrostars and Mere Park look set for a relegation battle.  Metrostars are finding it hard going after coming from 3B where they finished in tenth as are Mere Park who finished in eighth in 3A as Layton Institute Juniors.  AFC Marton finished tenth last season and will struggle to better that position but Marshall Court Sandpiper in tenth may yet improve on last season’s twelfth spot.

Division 3A 

Division 3A is down to thirteen sides after the early loss of new team Gennars FC.  Currently Real Burlington top both the table and the form chart after taking fifteen points from the last eighteen.  At Christmas they’re six points clear of their nearest rivals and look to be good bets for promotion.  The team have won all of their six games on the road.  Importantly, they’ve already beaten fellow top five sides Farmers, and Ansdell whilst drawing 0-0 with Number Four Celtic.  Most recently they knocked Teamsport90 out of the Divisional Cup.  The only team to beat them in the league this season were the Falcon FC.

The Farmers Arms FC are in second six points behind but with a game in hand.  They’ve won nine and drawn one of their opening twelve games.  As well as that defeat to Burlington they also lost to Trades & Social in a midweek August fixture.  Since that defeat to Burlington they’ve responded well taking ten points from the last twelve.  There’s still everything to play for and the title is still within their reach.

Another surprise package this season are Teamsport90 FC.  The perennial strugglers are in third going into Christmas.  Last season they improved to a finishing position of sixth but with only two defeats from the first twelve there’s a good chance of promotion if they can keep on believing.  Appearing at presentation night maybe just a step too far.  Hard to beat Number Four Celtic are still handily placed in fourth.  Another regular side in 3A they’ve found it hard to escape but they’ve only lost once in the league all season.  The draw specialists have already racked up five from the first twelve including draws against both Real Burlington and the Farmers Arms.

AFC Ansdell Excelsior have appeared in the top three during the season and they look to be a lot better than the side that disappointingly finished twelfth last season.  The side were particularly badly hit by the folding of Gennars FC as the two wins gained were expunged. Ansdell have murdered sides in the lower half but in that 7-1 mauling at home to Burlington showed that they still have some way to go before they can think about life in Division 2. The Trades & Social Club FC are in 6th and having a decent season.  They finished eighth in 3B last season and at times have looked good during the five wins and three draws they’ve picked up from the first ten games.  Hopefully, they can keep things together, remain disciplined and push for a top six finish. 

AFC Ansdell Excelsior v Real Burlington FC

Just on the fringes of the leading group are Falcon FC.  Currently in seventh the side are nine points off second placed Farmers with a game in hand.  They impressed when beating leaders Real Burlington FC, the only team to do so this season in the league but all too often they’ve been inconsistent especially at the back.  As often happens the lower Divisions often split into two groups around this stage of the season.  The six teams at the bottom look to be playing for eighth place unless one or more of them can dramatically turn things around.

Berry’s Beds FC currently occupy that eighth place but they’re four points behind seventh placed Falcon having played a game more.  They’re still finding their feet in the BFSFA.  They’ve shown in draws against Number Four Celtic (Twice), Teamsport90 and the Falcon that they may do well next season.  FC Newton in ninth have played more games in the BFSFA this season than any other side with sixteen fixtures under their belts.  Disappointingly, they’ve only managed to win three of them and I’ll be surprised if they finish higher than last season’s finishing position of ninth.

In contrast new side FC Rangers have only managed to play eight league fixtures.  They’re in tenth but with plenty of games in hand they can still finish in mid table.  Junior sides joining the league often struggle in the first couple of months to acclimatise before showing an improvement in the latter half of the season.  They did OK in a 4-2 defeat against favourites Real Burlington when only losing 4-2 and walloped 3B side Blackpool Owls last time out in the Division 3 Cup with an 8-1 win that will hopefully give them the confidence they need in the new year.

St Annes Ex Service have only won once in their first twelve games and that came against bottom club Lane Ends in mid October.  They’re in a relegation scrap with the two clubs below them.  Automedon FC finished eleventh in 3B last season and are struggling once again but they look to be resilient and will no doubt keep on going.  New side Lane Ends are currently bottom and following the demise of Gennars they’re still without a win.  Dave Bamber’s side are struggling to put out a regular team but they showed in a recent 5-3 defeat to second placed Farmers Arms that they’re not too far off the pace.

Division 3B

Now it’s Christmas Eve and we’re on to the last of our six Divisions.  Another overnight snowfall makes me thankful we’ll be at home for Christmas.  Division 3B is also down to thirteen sides following the demise of St Annes Social FC.  I’m pleased to say that Division 3B is exactly as it should be this season.  It’s still highly competitive going into the new year with no glory hunters rolling over every side with ease.  In fact there are still about nine sides who could realistically finish in the top five which would surely be enough for promotion.

Top of the tree at Christmas are FC Kingsfield.  Last season they went the whole campaign without a single league win.  The club were in something of a crisis so they requested relegation to the bottom Division.  Unsurprisingly, they started well winning their first six league games in a row.  A heavy defeat to C&G Electrical has set them on a wobble as they’ve gone on to lose three out of the last six.  The teams behind them are beginning to breathe ominously down their necks and if they’re to win this league then they’ll have to recover that early season form.

One of the chasing pack are Golden Eagle FC who last season finished fourth playing as Fylde Construction.  The Fyldesport Sister Site shows them at the top of the form table over the last six games as they’ve taken eighteen from eighteen.  They’re now only two points behind Kingsfield with three games in hand.  The Eagle are one of only four sides still to be beaten in the BFSFA this season after gaining eight wins and a draw from the first nine.  They also reached round 3 of the Gledhill before being knocked out by Prem side Fylde Coast Gates but the score was only 2-1. They’ve already taken four points off Ashiana but still have some big games to play.  Last time out they progressed in the Division 3 Cup by beating 3A side Falcon.

Ashiana FC (Purple) at home to the Golden Eagle FC at Commonedge

Score Football FC have slowly progressed up the table in recent weeks and they’re now up to third six points behind leaders Kingsfield but with a game in hand. Seven wins and four draws so far for the South Fylde outfit with important victories in recent weeks against Ashiana and Kingsfield.  They’ve every chance of a top four finish.  Ashiana are in fourth place seven points behind the current leaders.  Last season only a better goal difference stopped them from finishing rock bottom of the Alliance.  They’re already on twenty points which is a huge improvement on the meagre fourteen that they could manage last season.  A good Cup win against 3A’s Number Four Celtic combined with an important 4-2 win over Kingsfield in the league has made for a great December and they’ll be looking to continue that kind of form after the Christmas break. 

The Stable Bar are having a good season and they go into 2010 fifth place in the table.  Thirteenth place in 3A last season resulted in relegation but the Kirkham side have regrouped. They’re only eight points behind the leaders but have two games in hand.  The side are unbeaten in the last three and beat in-form C&G Electrical 6-3 last time out.

New side FC Edge have settled well and settled quickly to Sunday football.  They’re on the fringes of the top five three points behind the Stable Bar.  The team are unbeaten in the last five and in their last two outings they’ve put twenty goals past strugglers Newton Castilla in league and Cup.

C&G Electrical FC are mid table in seventh.  Last season they were relegated from Division 3A after finishing bottom after winning only five matches from the 26 game league programme.  Up until recently the team were in a rich vein of form winning five in a row through September and October but a drop in form combined with the lack of a recognised keeper has seen them lose the last two in the league and in the Cup they were beaten by Uncle Toms.  Manger McKenna has recently had to take up the gloves which is not good.  Steve Lyttle, where are you?

Work side SPS FC finished bottom of the Alliance in their debut season but four months on they’re on the verge of bettering last season’s points total of fourteen.  Four wins and a draw have been good enough to leave them in eighth place going into January.  A top seven finish is on he cards if they can get their best team out every week.  Into the bottom five and next come the unpredictable Frenchman’s Cove FC who last season played as the Oxford.  They may be in ninth but with only seven games on the board they have five games in hand on the leaders.  Win them all and they’ll go joint top but that’s easier said than done.  They haven’t played in the league since mid October when they beat Ashiana 5-1.  After beating Division 1 side GE Rushworth in the last round they’re the lowest ranked team still in the Gledhill where they’ll be up against FC Loco in Round 4.  Don’t underestimate the Cove.

They started off as King Edward VII FC but they’ve now re-branded as CB Choice Furniture FC.  A win on the opening day was followed by five straight league defeats but two wins against the sides below them have improved their league position.  A top half finish looks beyond them at this stage. 

Uncle Tom’s Cabin are back again this season.  Two wins and a draw from the first eight games has left them in eleventh.  So far, they’ve only managed to take one point off the ten sides above them but the recent Cup win against C&G Electrical should give them heart for the second half of the season.  FC Newton Castilla have played a couple more games than many of their rivals at the bottom.  Just two wins from the first twelve look set to make it a hard winter for the new side.  Those two wins came against CB Choice and Blackpool Owls.  They were knocked out in both Cup competitions in the opening round.  Keep going lads.  Bottom of the league at present are Blackpool Owls FC who are three points behind Castilla but with three games in hand.  Their solitary win in Sunday football came against Newton Castilla back in mid August.  Since then they’ve gone on to lose nine in a row in league and Cup.  Hopefully they can keep going until the end of the season.

That’s it then, time for a walk through the snow to get some Christmas supplies.  Whether you’re in-form and fighting for honours or struggling in the wrong half of the table facing and the threat of relegation I hope you enjoy the rest of the season.  It’s either time to keep things going or the opportunity for a fresh start and some improvement.

All the very best,

Early season statistics (League)

Still unbeaten – FC Eden, Great Eccleston, Progress Sports & Social and Golden Eagle

Still looking for a win – Wrea Green, MA2 and Lane Ends

100% at home – Northern Care, Quilligans, FC Eden, Progress Sports & Social, No4 Pub and Stable Bar

100% away – Devonshire Arms, Hydronics, West Coast Tackle Postal, Real Burlington, Golden Eagle and Frenchman’s Cove.

Top scorers – Real Burlington (57 from 13)

Low scorers (Non Prem) – Uncle Toms (13 from 8)

Fewest conceded (Non Prem) – Progress Sports & Social (10 from 10)

Most conceded – Lane Ends (67 from 13)

Best form (Last eight matches) – FC Eden (24 from 24), Golden Eagle (22 from 24), Real Burlington (21 from 24)

Sportspy 2009/10

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