Starting the season at Blackpool Road, St Annes watching the Division 4 league fixture between new sides XK FC and Cuban Allstars FC. Both teams were looking to start the campaign with three points.
One positive thing about all of the rain that fell in July is that the local football pitches are full of grass and relatively soft. In recent seasons, they have been hard and barren. The downside is that the grass is growing faster than it can be mown by the respective councils. The pitches at both Commonedge and Blackpool Road, St Annes could have done with a cut before today's matches but never mind. Two new sides were meeting at Blackpool Road, St Annes this morning as XK FC hosted Cuban Allstars FC (Blue). Both sides contained a number of familiar faces from teams of the past. Whilst XK FC had enjoyed a decent pre season the Cubans had been beaten in all four of their warm up matches. Colin Reidy was today's official. Cool and breezy as the great British summer continued.
XK FC 2010/11
Cuban Allstars FC 2010/11
All still half asleep for the pre match coin ritual
Cuban keeper Luke Roberts
XK FC started much the brighter and after only five minutes they scored their first ever competitive goal. A corner was swung over with pace and Ryan Roberts (Second left) met it to fire a bullet header past his namesake. 1-0
On 8 minutes the Cubans were on the ropes as they fell further behind. A quick break upfield resulted in a neat pass to Jamie McKenzie. Completely unmarked on the edge of the box he turned and floated the ball over the keeper into the far corner. A lovely finish. 2-0.
Mark Parker on the ball for the Cubans
After the early setbacks I feared the worst for the Cubans but they finally settled and after fourteen minutes they were back in the match. Great persistence in the above picture by Ryan Skelly allowed the ball to fall kindly for Parker who made no mistake as he coolly slotted it past Steve O'Connor in the XK net. 2-1
Parker (Red boots) celebrates the Cuban's opener.
Referee Colin Reidy thinking about a card
XK keeper Steve O'Connor
Just before the break another swift incursion upfield led to another goal for XK FC. Matty Hampton was sent clear, he drew keeper Roberts and then smashed it past him. XK fully deserved the half time lead and if it wasn't for Roberts in the Cuban goal it could have been more. He made some great blocks and this combined with some poor XK finishing left the scoreline at 3-1.
Half time score : XK FC 3 – 1 Cuban Allstars FC
XK FC supporter Ryan Summers
Half time thirst quencher for XK
'Say cheese'……three year old Liam Roberts out watching dad Ryan play for XK FC
With the breeze now behind them the Cubans started the second half very brightly. In the above picture, Ben Davies (8) got on the end of a Ryan Skelly free kick to fire it past O'Connor on 49 minutes. 3-2 and game on.
BFSFA Treasurer Dennis Wild an interested spectator.
On the hour mark, the Cubans were awarded a controversial free kick on the half way line. XK far from happy with Mr Reidy's decision.
Another long and looping Skelly free kick was met by the head of substitute Josh who nodded it over advancing keeper O'Connor who failed to collect. 3-3
One of the many eccentrics (me included) who show up unexpectedly at Sunday football matches. You could grow spuds in that jumper.
XK go close to grabbing a winner at one end
and the Cubans go very close at the other.
Another good catch from Luke Roberts.
No more goals. The game finishes in a draw
Final score : XK FC 3 – 3 Cuban Allstars FC
In summary, this was a very entertaining Division 4 game between two good footballing sides. XK FC bossed the opening period whilst Cuban Allstars FC were much the better side in the second 45. Things looked bleak for the Cubans after they conceded two early goals but they came back into the game strongly and were unlucky not to go on to win it in the end. Both sides thought they did enough to win the game based on chances created throughout the match but perhaps a draw was the right result. I fancy both of these sides to be battling it out for promotion come next April. Good footballing sides, well disciplined and with with some decent players. Parker, Davies and Man of the Match Ryan Skelly particularly caught the eye for the Cubans. Hampton was the pick of the bunch for XK FC.
Until the next time.