In Division 3, home side Hansom Cab FC were entertaining FC Kingsfield at Ballam Road, Lytham St Annes. Only a point separated them in the table at start of play. A welcome return of the sunshine after three overcast Sundays in a row.
Ballam Road, Lytham is one of my favourite venues for Sunday football although it's at its best in early Spring and late summer. At this time of the year the pitch is susceptible to waterlogging and after this week's heavy rain it was touch and go as to this particular game going ahead but fortunately, referee Ben Wiseman ruled the surface playable. In 2007/08, and playing as MA2 FC, the Hansom Cab finished 8th in Division 3A before going on to take the title the following season after finishing three points ahead of nearest tivals, Foulds Metals FC. Last season the club struggled following promotion and could only manage four wins in a twenty-four game league season finishing up in tenth position.
After the league re-structure, the team have re-branded under the name of their new sponsor, the Hansom Cab in Division 3. The Lytham pub has proved to be a popular base for the players and after an indifferent start the team have started to play some decent and consistent football. Dave Neal's team were fifth in the table this morning but a massive nineteen points behind second placed Blackpool Lane Ends FC although they did have three games in hand. The club are unbeaten in their last eight league and Cup games and last tasted defeat on October 3rd. In two weeks time they take on Division 2 high flyers Real Burlington FC in the last eight of the Division 2 & 3 Cup after knocking out both the Squirrel and Dockers in earlier rounds. In the Gledhill, they were narrowly knocked out by current Division 3 leaders Boars Head FC after a first round bye.
Their opponents this morning were FC Kingsfield and the clubs were meeting for the first time this season. Long serving manager Roy Atkinson brought his team to Lytham knowing that a win could possibly move his team up from ninth to fifth as they were only one point behind the Cab at start of play. FC Kingsfield are a lesson in longevity. Many teams fly too near the sun and like Icarus, implode when they experience too many defeats in the Prem. In 2005/06, Kingsfield were relegated from the Premier Division after winning only five games. They then finished eighth in Division 1 in 2006/07, ninth in 2007/08 and 10th in 2008/09. In 2009/10, and after putting together an almost new side, the club took a double relegation to Division 3B where they finished fourth, just two points behind runners up, C&G Electrical.
They too have reached the last 8 of the Division 2 & 3 Cup. After beating FC Rangers (after a replay) and more recently Lane Ends, they host Teamsport 90 FC at the Oval in two week's time. Gledhill Cup interest ended at the first hurdle when losing to Division 4 side Stable Bar FC 2-0.An unpredicable encounter then on offer this morning. The light rain at dawn had passed on to leave another cold morning with the sun trying to break through and the chill Northerly breeze stiffening. At 11am we were underway with the Cab in the mustard kicking towards Park View Road.
Hansom Cab FC 2010/11
FC Kingsfield 2010/11
Referee Wiseman gets the match underway with Hansom Cab FC kicking off
Kingsfield skipper Darren Atkinson
Cab captain Phil Czesznyak
Long serving FC Kingsfield manager Roy Atkinson
Hansom Cab FC keeper Steve Brown
'Get rid of it!'
After a relatively quiet opening the home side took the lead on 19 minutes. A corner from the right was only half cleared to the edge of the box. Rick Irving took a touch and hit a dipping volley. Everyone at the venue (including Kingsfield keeper Dale Lamb) thought it was going wide but it caught on the breeze and bent in off the upright. 1-0
The Cab celebrate the opener
Catch me if you can
Hansom ?? Cab management team Dave Neal (Right) and Rick Melling
Toby Byrne (Left) in the book for dissent (he pays his own fine for that one Dave)
When Brown comes out and takes everything out there's bound to be collateral damage
Kingsfield player gets a sore shoulder for his trouble
Ben Flitcroft (Second left) and Shane Hull (10)
Half time score : Hansom Cab FC 1 – 0 FC Kingsfield
Roy Atkinson with the youngest of his six Grandchildren – Lucy
The second half begins
Flashpoint – some niggling in the box and the Cab number 5 has a rush of blood and retaliates by kicking out at the legs of the Kingsfield number 9
Nailed on red card – the Cab down to ten men and up against it
A yellow card for his part – If the No 5 had let Mr wiseman do the refereeing instead of taking the law into his own hands it might have been the wiser choice
The pressure mounts on the Hansom Cab goal
Kingsfield players getting in each others way as they go for the same ball.
On 82 minutes Kingsfield finally equalised. A quick free caught the Cab half asleep allowing a player to break clear on the left. He squared the ball into the mixer and Number 6 Ben Flitcroft forced it over the line. 1-1
The flag was up as the Cab claimed offside. The liner was over-ruled by Mr Wiseman as it looked as though the cross was pulled back or at worst squared as opposed to be being played forward.
Well taken by Brown
The heavy pitch begins to take its toll on tired muscles
Three minutes into injury time and Kingsfield were awarded a free kick on the edge of the box. Referee Wiseman gets the wall back as Connor Langford tees up the ball.
Was it a cross? Was it a shot? Was it an own goal? Kingsfield player Shane Hull claimed it but I've watched it ten times and it looks like an OG to me. Whatever, the Cab suffer the heartbreak of last minute defeat whilst Kingsfield are overjoyed at the late winner. 1-2
It was almost the last kick of the game – the whistle goes.
Full time score : Hansom Cab FC 1 – 2 FC Kingsfield
A disappointing morning for the Cab who headed off back to the pub with no points to show for all of their efforts but when the dust settles they may be of the view that they didn't deserve much from the game. Neither side created many opportunities of note in the first half with the visitors having the greater share of offensive possession altthough they often fizzled out on the edge of the box due to over complicating matters and/or choosing the wrong option.In the second period the ga
me took a definitive turn when the Cab central defender received his marching orders for a moment of madness. With the wind getting up and Kingsfield pushing forward the Cab had their backs up against the wall whilst being restricted to counter attacks. It looked as though the Cab might hold on but the 82nd minute equaliser gave Kingsfield the momentum to go on and win it although the 93rd minute free kick looked to have an element of good fortune. Both sides have to increase their direct efforts on goal if they're to finish in the top four. An interesting gane despite the lack of clear cut chances. All three goals coming as a result of deadball situations.
Good luck to both teams for the rest of the season. The fitness and skills of Kingsfield's Shane Hull made him my MOM.