Moor Park, Bispham was today's venue of choice. Blackpool Catholic Colts FC were at home to Clifton Arms FC down in Division 4. Back in November the Colts took all three points thanks to a 6-4 win. Who would come out on top this morning?
Recent history suggests that the top six sides in Division 4 will be promoted. Although at this stage of the season the race for the Division 4 title is still very much alive it might be too much to expect for today's two teams to be climbing the steps at the Layton Institute in May having finished top or second. Along with about six other clubs either of them are still in with a great chance of finishing in third which would be great achievement for two teams that are new to Sunday Football although there were a number of familar faces on show that had played for numerous other sides.
Blackpool Catholic Colts were fifth in the table this morning five points behind third placed Metrostars. Their opponents Clifton were in seventh this morning three points behind the Colts having played the same number of games. With thirteen matches still left to play there's still a long way to go.
The Colts have had a tough run of matches in recent weeks where they have had to face three of the top four sides above them. They are only one of two clubs to beat leaders No1 Club FC and last week they trounced CBFC Choices Furniture 8-1. Only a recent defeat to in-form Metrostars has put them out of their stride. They had a decent run in the Gledhill Cup before being beaten by current semi-finalists Wrea Green. They're out of the Division 4 Cup after a 'clerical error'. Clifton are having a decent season and last week's narrow 3-2 defeat to second placed Stable Bar showed that they can mix it with the best of them when at the top of their game. They were knocked out of the Gledhill by Premier Division side FC Eden but last week's 4-3 victory over Xceptional Kitchens FC has put them through to Round 2.
Good weather across the Fylde Coast for Sunday football this morning and thankfully, much brighter than last week. Cold, but flat calm and dry with decent conditions underfoot on Pitch 6 at Moor Park. Today's match official was once again Tony Cunliffe and at 11:05 we were underway with Clifton in their yellow kit kicking towards Fleetwood.
Blackpool Catholic Colts FC 2010/11
Clifton Arms FC 2010/11
The captains call the toss of the coin
Colts supremo – Owen Burns – there were to be no 'lie-ins' this morning in the Bispham area as his great booming foghorn Irish voice echoed around Moor Park.
Whether it was Clifton who were still half asleep or the Colts being fast out of the block the first ten minutes were all Blackpool Catholic. On five minutes, Alan Steadman (green) was left with all the time in the world to control a Mark Campbell cross before slotting it past Clifton keeper Scott Christie. 1-0
….and matching headbands.
On nine minutes the Colts deservedly doubled their lead. Left on his own on the edge of the area, Nick Banton curled a delicious left footed curler into the top corner. 2-0
'That was one of the worst corners I've ever seen number 13'
' Ohhhh, it isn't, it can't be…it is…it's that lovely young Tony Cunliffe doing the refereeing'
Campbell crash lands
Mark Campbell – the face and body of 'Playfootball's' Health and fitness leisure centre.
Clifton eventually woke up and settled down. They play a risky game with the defenders playing high up the pitch and when they get it wrong it looks horrible but they started to defend better and play a bit of football. On 23 minutes they pulled one back. Leon Manuel's first shot fortunately rebounded back to him but he took advantage with a sweet finish of the outside of his right boot to beat Colt's keeper Lund. 2-1
Half time score : Blackpool Catholic Colts FC 2 – 1 Clifton Arms FC
Clifton fans still smiling – they look like brothers to me
Matthew Grime – nothing went right for him in the first half
Clifton manager Tony Burke gives the half time team talk, 'Look lads, we were shocking in the first ten minutes but worked hard to get back in the game. Let's keep up the momentum and keep our concentration in the second half'
The Colts get the second half underway
50 seconds in and Burke's team talk went out of the window. The impressive Duffy (9), cut inside, beat two players and smashed it under the body of Christie. 3-1
A nasty injury after some over enthusiasm by Tony Burke Jnr
The game was a tough encounter played in a great spirit. This was the only ten seconds of unpleasantness
'Drop and give me twenty!' He couldn't manage the one.
The thing is about Clifton is that they never give up. After the early set-back they again put together a great spell of possession and on 59 minutes they made it 3-2 after Paul Passmore (17) beat the offside trap and finished it clinically
Big John comes on as sub. Man mountain is difficult to Man mark
Mr Cunliffe right on the spot
On 73 minutes Clifton equalised. A Matty Grime corner beat everyone including Oggy at the far post, the ball wrapping itself in the netting and sticking halfway up the post. 3-3
Oggy can't believe it
But once again, Clifton switched off. A throw over the top was crossed for Duckworth who gave the Colts the lead once again. 4-3.
The Colts hung on to see out the game and gain a valuable victory
Final score : Blackpool Catholic Colts FC 4 – 3 Clifton Arms FC
This turned out to be a hugely entertaining Division 4 fixture that flew by from start to finish. After ten minutes I thought it was going to be a Catholic rout as they raced into a 2-0 lead but the away side fought back and were well on top for the last twenty minutes of the first half and deservedly pulled one back. The Colts gave Clifton a mountain to climb after they made it 3-1 shortly after the break but Clifton climbed it and at 3-3 they had the momentum but the Colts took advantage of some shaky defending to score what turned out to be the winner.
It was one of those games where the managers will be left tearing their hair out. One one hand, there were lots of positives for each of the teams but both managers will be unhappy at both the defending and the inability to make the best of the situation when they were well on top. Perhaps a draw would have been a fair result. There's still everthing to play for in Division 4 with that top three position still up for grabs. Well refereed once again by Tony Cunliffe whose cards stayed firmly in his pocket thanks to a disciplined performance from both sets of players.