Braving the inclement weather at Boundary Park, Blackpool this morning watching FC Eden take on top Preston Sunday football side Canaries FC in the opening Round of this season's Lancashire Sunday Trophy. Both had enjoyed good starts to their respective Premier Division league campaigns but who would come out on top today?
Last season, BFSFA side FC Eden won the Division 1 title on goal difference from FC Loco to win promotion to the Premier Division. This followed on from the Division 2A and Division 3A titles that they'd won during the 2007/08 and 2008/09 campaigns. A successful run by anyone's standards and the well organised and well run club entered the Premier Division in good spirits and full of confidence. Six games in and they find themselves in mid table. It's a big step up from Division 1 to the Prem and despite giving a good account of themselves they failed to pick up a single point from games against the Devonshire Arms, Poulton and Blackpool Rangers but on the other side of the coin they've picked up maximum points from Pulcinellas, Northern Care and Newton Arms. In addition, they've cruised through to Round 3 of the Gledhill Cup after a convincing win against Division 4 side Clifton Arms. They faced a tougher task this morning against Preston raiders Canaries FC.
Canaries FC (Click here for their website) are a Preston side primarily made up of Asian players and they've been involved in the Preston Sunday league for many seasons. They've been in the Premier Division for a number of seasons. In 2007/08 they finished tenth, in 2008/09 they finished seventh and last season they improved to finish in fifth so they're on the up. Being largely of the Muslim faith many of the players have recently endured a month long fast for Ramadan which came to an end on Friday September 10th. The Preston league quite rightly gave them special dispensation to delay the start to their season and last Sunday, fortified by a good breakfast, they duly started their league campaign with a 6-0 thumping of early season strugglers, Penwortham Town FC. Anyone out there taken in by the urban myth that 'Asians can't play football' is ignorantly mistaken.
On with the game. Shocking weather this morning at Boundary Park with wind and driving heavy rain but give the Council credit, the pitches were in excellent condition without a puddle in site. Today's referee was Mr Barry Cropp making a brief return to Sunday football. Not the best of days for photographs. Canaries FC, unsurprisingly in the yellow, kicked off at 11:25.
'OK keeper?' Mr Cropp gets proceedings under way.
Canaries FC skipper
A few brave supporters out watching in the heavy rain
Cropp at pace – it's just a blur
A super flying save from Canaries FC keeper Eric Ohemeng
Byrom is through one on one and finished it well but a late and contoversial flag denied him
Craig Byrom (Centre)
In the first half an hour home side FC Eden were dominating the game and on about twenty minutes they deservedly took the lead when Kyle Bingham rose the highest in the above picture to nod it home. 1-0. Despite all of their offensive possession, Eden just couldn't get the all important second and as the half went on the visitors began to claw their way back into the game.
Kyle Bingham (Right)
Tipped around the post by the Eden keeper
Quilligans FC showing an active interest in this tie after their game in Preston fell foul of the weather.
FC Eden manager Scott McNeill
No staying at home festering on the Playstation for the Grange Park boys – out in the open watching the football – a little bit of rain never hurt anybody.
I think, (well I hope), he was putting a coat on the dog.
Shortly before the break the visitors deservedly equalised after a good spell. Jav Haji burst through, beat his man, made space and fired it past the Eden keeper. 1-1.
The ball finds the back of the Eden net.
Canaries FC celebrate.
Half time score : FC Eden 1 – 1 Canaries FC
Byrom (grounded) created the first opportunity of the second half but the keeper safely gathered.
A minute later and the ball was again in the back of the Eden goal. The Eden defence fell asleep as a cross ball from the left found an Abid Uddin unmarked at the far post who made no mistake. 1-2
The unceasing rain gets heavier and heavier
Eden's best chance in the second period came following a brilliant run by Roberts on the left. He beat three players before swinging in a pacey cross that skipped off the wet surface and just evaded the right boot of Craig Byrom at the far post.
Trying to recover the brolly after the wind turned it inside out.
Pursued by Jordan Black
Yellow card – only the two today from Mr Cropp – both for FC Eden players
Loyal Canaries fans in the rain
Canaries FC liner – a tough job in the pouring rain this morning. An early contender for 'Clubman of the Year'
Costas – best player on the pitch today
Young Taylor comes on and a minute later he's in trouble with Mr Cropp. He didn't heed the warning and was later yellow carded.
Mark Cottam (Centre)
The agile keeper leapt 'cat like' and caught it
It's all over and Canaries FC are through
Final score : FC Eden 1 – 2 Canaries FC
In summary this was an entertaining game despite the dreadful weather conditions mainly thanks to the high quality of the Boundary Park pitch which stayed firm all of the way through the game. FC Eden played some great football for the opening thirty minutes and if they'd managed to add to their opener they may have gone on to win it but the visitors improved greatly as the first half progressed and were greatly encouraged by the equaliser just before the interval.
After they scored early in the second half Canaries FC started to dominate possession. They play some very attractive passing football on the deck, pass and move from back to front and after they had gone ahead it was a tough ask for FC Eden to put a decent spell of possession together although they did go close on a couple of occasions. Overall, the visitors more than deserved their victory and we wish them the best of luck in the next round. Well officiated by Mr Cropp.