|In the Premier Division second placed Poulton SFC travelled to third placed Blackpool Rangers FC out at darkest Thornton. Both were level on points at start of play. After a 2-2 draw back in August another close game was predicted.|
A new venue this morning for Sunday Football as current BFSFA Champions Blackpool Rangers FC hosted Poulton SFC at the ground of Wyre Juniors FC. Rangers have had a mixed start to the season winning four, drawing two and losing two of their opening eight fixtures. However, and although it's still early days they're still only two points behind leaders Northern Care FC who have played a game less. To win this Division this season you have to get results against other sides in the top five. Rangers drew 2-2 against Poulton back in August, lost 6-2 to Northern Care drew 1-1 against Quilligans and most recently beat the Devonshire Arms 1-0. If they're to retain the title they'll have to be at their best, especially against teams like Poulton SFC. They're still in the Gledhill Cup and a win next week against Highbury Vets FC will set up a quarter-final tie against rivals Quilligans FC. After taking the title off them last season manager Miles would like nothing more than to end Quiligans' long term dominance of the famous competition. Best concentrate on Higbury Vets before thinking that far ahead. In the Prem/Division 1 Cup they've drawn Pulcinellas at home.
In the last three seasons Poulton SFC have finished second, third and third again in the top Division making them one of the most consistent sides in Fylde Coast Sunday Football. They also have an excellent Cup record reaching a number of finals in recent seasons. Poulton SFC have played a game less than this morning's opponents Blackpool Rangers FC bet with four wins and two draws from the first seven matches they're currently level on points in second. In those all important games against the major contenders Poulton are still currently unbeaten. They've beaten the Devonshire Arms 4-3, drawn with Rangers 2-2 and taken four points off leaders Northern Care with a 4-1 back in October and a 1-1 draw last week. A win today for either of these sides would be a major result especially as fellow title contenders Northern Care and Quilligans had what looked to be favourable home opposition.
The weather conditions this morning were overcast and gloomy with rain in the air. Not the best day for photographs. Still, after all of the recent postponements it was good to finally have a full programme on offer with only the fog threatening games going ahead. This morning's official was Dave Connor and just prior to 11am the still Thornton air was pierced by his whistle as Poulton in their red and black strip kicked off attacking the Gardeners end.
Blackpool Rangers 2009/10
Poulton SFC 2009/10
Referee Dave Connor in charge of this one. All smiles before kick off but that wouldn't last.
Floyd does his pre-match warm up and Kennerly looks to steal a yard
Carl Eastwood (Right)
Chris Cairns (Right)
Poulton started off in great style and should have been 3-0 up after eight minutes. In this picture the usually reliable Eastwood horribly slices a golden opportunity from six yards with the goal gaping.
But minutes later and rather fortuitously he deservedly put Poulton ahead. He caught his studs in the heavy turf, slipped but managed to divert it the wrong way past Woods. 0-1
Synchronised appealing from Poulton
Neil Kirton (Centre)
Josh Woods comes off worse after a crunching 50/50 with the Beast
After looking like they would fall further behind Rangers equalised against the run of play on 22 minutes. A Neil Kirton free kick was swung into the area and Colin Sullivan did well to head it past the Poulton keeper Sharrock.
Danny Morris driving through midfield.
Poulton midfielder Mitchell – one of the best engines in Sunday football.
Ranger's striker Peter Floyd
On 42 minutes Poulton contoversially regained the lead. A tussle down the wing led to the ball going out of play. The reliable Ranger's liner who was well up with play signalled a goal-kick but referee Connor who wasn't as well sighted over-ruled him and gave a corner. In the above picture Alan Thompson (Grounded) scores at the second attempt. 1-2. Poulton finished the half as they had begun and Danny Morris was sorry to see a great effort well saved by Woods.
Alan Thompson is congratulated.
Half time score : Blackpool Rangers 1 – 2 Poulton SFC
Manager John Miles tries to rally his troops. They were lucky to still be in it at the break.
Rangers start the second half
Kicked off the line
More Poulton pressure
Poulton SFC manager Alan Cocker
The key moment of the second half. At the break Rangers introduced 'late arrival' Marc Beattie and his appearance had a positive impact on Rangers who started the half far more brightly. A cross from the right was volleyed by Beattie (10). It looked goal-bound but Thompson slipped and the shot hit his sizeable backside and squirmed away for a corner. A lucky let off for Poulton.
Mr Beattie (Senior) 'Dave' pictured amongst the Chelsea fans during Preston's latest defeat yesterday in the FA Cup. The Preston fans were apparantly very unhappy with the Tangerine scarf flying in the away end (See you all in February)
The Rangers corner was cleared and within a minute they were 3-1 down. Morris again cut through the centre, expertly played in Eastwood and he slotted it past Woods for his second of the game.
Lee Catlow on the ball
John Miles (Far from happy)
On 73 minutes Poulton wrapped things up through Catlow. Rangers failed to clear their lines and Catlow side footed it into the corner from 20 yards. 1-4
Two minutes later and Catlow turned provider. A classy cross-field ball found Morris and he took it passed the defender and lashed it into the top corner. Sorry Danny, the camera missed it.
In this video a Danny Morris free kick is initially well saved by an unsighted Woods. There then follows a passage of play which highlights how energy sapping the pitch was , how Poulton were often first to every ball and how end to end the football was this morning at Wyre Juniors.
On 81 minutes Rangers received a generous consolation as Chris Cairns was adjudged to have been dragged down in the box. Colin Sullivan sent Sharrock the wrong way. 2-5
There was no further significant action of note. End of the game.
Final score: Blackpool Rangers FC 2 – 5 Poulton SFC
By their own admission this was a poor performance by Blackpool Rangers FC especially defensively. After letting in six against Northern Care and five today against Poulton they'll have to tighten up if they're to be in with a sniff of regaining their hard earned title. On the day, they were well beaten by the better side. Poulton are the only team they're still to beat in the top Division and after two draws and two defeats against Poulton they're deserving of the title 'Ranger's bogey side'. The pitch was heavy and cut up in places despite not being played on for a couple of months. I can't help thinking that their style of football would be far better suited to Boundary Park as opposed to this old rugby pitch.
This was an extremely good performance by Poulton SFC that took them to the top of the table. The whole club has had a weekend to remember with both of their Saturday teams winning yesterday. From start to finish they bossed proceedings and with a little more luck could have scored a lot more. Last week they were fortunate to gain a point away at Northern Care but this week they were well worthy of all three. It would be unfair to single out any individual for special praise. The defence was strong leaving the keeper relatively untroubled. They are a well balanced team who have played together for many seasons and despite losing Tom Porter and Chris Morris to rivals Quilligans they still look to be decent title challengers. In midfield the hard work of Mitchell and N Thompson compliments the creativity of Kennerley and Morris and the forward pairing of Eastwood and Hall are a real handful for any side. Once again, Poulton's ultimate finishing position will be largely dependant on their performances against Quilligans who they are still to play. An entertaining match with a great team performance from Poulton.