It was back to Boundary Park, Blackpool this week. Thankfully, the weather conditions were much improved on last Sunday. In Division 3, the youngsters of FC Rangers were taking on the veterans of Number Four Celtic FC. FC Rangers needed a win to keep in touch with the top four whilst Celtic were looking to stay clear of the bottom three.
This is the second season in Fylde Coast Sunday Football for FC Rangers. It's always good to see our junior sides making the progession into the adult leagues although in recent seasons, there has been a worrying trend for them to move into the Preston league where they have specific Junior Divisions. A trend that may have to be addressed.
Last season, FC Rangers went on to finish in a respectable seventh place in 3A after nine wins, four draws and nine defeats. Not unusually, they struggled to adapt in the early months of the season but improved greatly over the final few months to set up the mid table finish. Today's opponents, Number Four Celtic FC, finished one place above Rangers in sixth. In the two games between each other, Celtic had the upper hand with a 4-2 home win and a 3-3 draw away.
This season, Celtic have been struggling for players and this combined with a series of injuries to key players is reflected by their current league position of twelfth. They've managed just two wins and four defeats from their first six matches and after a first round bye they were knocked out of the Gledhill by Blackpool Catholic Club FC. Opponents FC Rangers have had a decent start to the season. They were in fifth this morning after picking up thirteen points from their first seven games. They were five points behind 4th placed Mere Park FC at start of play and needed a win to stay in touch with the big guns. In the Gledhill, they lost to Lane Ends FC after a first Round bye.
After last week's deluge of rain it was good to see blue skies and no wind on Grange Park this morning. Both sides were out and about early and at 11am prompt today's match official Michael Jefferson got proceedings underway with Celtic in the yellow defending the Garstang Road end on Pitch 1. The first thing to mention would be that Rangers had got older and Celtic a little younger. Rangers manager Geoff Barnsley was in goal and despite his age he's still one of the best about although his playing appearances these days are limited.
Long serving Number 4 Celtic FC manager Dave Smyth dishes out some late pre match coaching to his players.
Today's referee – Mr Jefferson
Free kick for Celtic – 'Are we having a wall?'
Unorthodox keeping but save them any way you can
The chisselled Roman features of Celtic striker Gino Farina who was sadly sidelined folowing a minor operation.
Genial Irishman Dave Smyth
Nuts and nose covered – give it your best shot.
Goalmouth scramble but the Celtic keeper came up with it.
The game was fairly even for the first thirty minutes but then Rangers unpicked the Celtic defence with some great passing football. The forwards exchanged quick passes before Nathan fairnie rounded the keeper and slotted it home left footed – great goal. 1-0
Half time score : FC Rangers 1 – 0 Number 4 Celtic FC
League secretary Peter Collins (Left) and fixtures secretary Dennis 'Grumpy' Peters both thankful of no postponements this weekend.
Celtic get the second half underway.
Just a few minutes into the half and FC Rangers all but killed the game with a quick second. A quality defence splitting pass played the lethal Fairnie in on goal and he gobbled up the opportunity. 2-0.
FC Ranger's keeper – Geoff Barnsley
A lovely day at Boundary Park, Blackpool for Sunday morning football.
86 minutes and FC Rangers wrap things up. The ball fell to Rob Nunnen and his low drive from outside the box found the back of the net. 3-0.
Brave keeping from Geoff Barnsley who took a knee in the upper shoulder for his trouble.
Miss of the day as the usually reliable Fairnie missed the chance of a hat trick as he somehow fired over the bar from three yards with an open goal in front of much to the delight of his team-mates behind the net.
Final score : FC Rangers 3 – 0 Number 4 Celtic FC
Another entertaining game of Sunday football played in perfect conditions on a quality surface. Both of these disciplined sides tried to play football from start to finish and this helped match official Michael Jefferson put in the best refereeing performance I've seen this season. FC Rangers did more than enough to win and the main difference between the sides was the clinical finishing of Rangers. Celtic did manage to put a number of decent spells of possession together in the second half but just couldn't get it past Barnsley. The third Ranger's goal came against the run of play and helped highlight Celtic's refusal to lie down. They'll climb back up the table when they're back to full strenghth. Rangers have to keep on winning if they're to break into the top three, they have the ability although they over complicate things on occassion but how much do they want it? We shall see.
I'll have a good view of the 'reverse bungee' at the Shovels this afternoon. There're people quing to pay good money to have their stomachs turned upside down. Must be bloody mad. Each to their own.