Across the road at the 'Mechanic's watching the Division 2 & 3 Cup quarter-final that was played between Tower Lounge FC (2) and AFC Bloomfield (3). Who would go on to reach the semi-finals?
One team's misery is anothers good fortune and when Premier Division side Northern Care FC unfortunately folded the Tower Lounge FC swooped to take their berth at the ground of AFC Blackpool. Tower Lounge FC were officially classed as a new team for the 2010/11 season but as they had many players with lots of Sunday football experience the committee placed them in Division 2 and heading toward mid March this looks to have been a good decision. The Tower were seventh in the table this morning and like all of the six sides currently ahead of them in the table they still have an excellent chance of taking the title. Nine points might separate them from leaders Northern Care Colts but they have for games in hand so there's everything to play for.
Kenny Mew's team are in great form having won eight matches on the bounce in league and Cup. In the Gledhill Cup they reached round 3 before being knocked out by Premier Division side Quilligans FC. They've reached the last eight of the Divisional Cup following wins against Marshall Court Sandpiper and fellow ground sharers Northern Care Colts FC.
Their opponents in the Division 2 & 3 Cup this morning were AFC Bloomfield of Division 3. Last season, and playing as Ashiana FC, they finished fifth in a tight Division 3B only three points off runners up spot. Fifth spot was good enough for promotion under the league restructuring into Division 3. James Gerrard's side have had a very good season and if they continue with their current good form they could still finish in third, the position they currently occupy. Unfortunately for them, they find themselves in a Division with two very good teams, Blackpool Lane Ends and the Boars Head FC who are twelve points ahead of them. The gap now looks to be too big to close as evidenced by last week's 9-1 beating by the Boars Head. Their Gledhill Cup interest also ended in Round 3 where they were beaten by the now defunct Premier Division side Pulcinellas FC. They reached the last eight of this competition after good wins against CTK FC and Fleetwood Kings FC, both of Division 2.
So, all things taken into consideration we looked to have an interesting Cup tie on offer although the Bloomfield were clearly the underdogs. Heavy overnight rain had put this fixture in doubt but the AFC Blackpool pitch was ruled fit by referee Mark Hughes and the club. At 11am, and with the sun breaking through on another cold late winter's morning we were underway with the Bloomfield in the yellow kicking towards the factories.
Tower Lounge FC 2010/11
AFC Bloomfield 2010/11
Philippson Peltier prepares to kick off for AFC Bloomfield
Shaun Meehan (Left)
Andy Scott (Left) shielding the ball from Alex Jebb. Bloomfield had the first real opportunity on two minutes as Andy Scott's thunderbolt free-kick crashed back off the bar.
On seven minutes and after a bright opening the Tower took the lead. It was a fantastic 'Cantonaesque' chip from the right edge of the box. Too busy talking so I missed it with the camera. Apologies to scorer Carl Bennett. 1-0.
After the goal, the Tower Lounge went rather ropey to say the least as opponents Bloomfield came back at them strongly. Tower manager Kenny Mew is far from happy.
The cultured right boot of Gordon Reeves
Referee Mark Hughes
On 22 minutes the Bloomfield were deservedly level. The above corner wasn't dealt with by Tower defence
…and at the 2nd attempt Ryan Thompson forced it over the line. 1-1
Peltier finds himself snagged in the back of the net.
Two minutes later and the Bloomfield went ahead from the penalty spot. The troublesome Peltier was tripped in the area and Andy Scott sent keeper Mike Glennon the wrong way. 1-2
Bloomfield keeper Ben McDonald goes down injured
A great chance for Tower to equalise. A powerful cross is swung over from the left, the ball flies over the defence and the keeper and unmarked at the far post with the goal gaping was Gordon Reeves but he somehow headed it over. A golden opportunity wasted.
If Reeves was waiting for the ground to swallow him up it was a big ask
Come and get it keeper
In the above video, Reeves almost makes amends as he powers into the box to head home a Tony Swallow corner. The goal was disallowed as refereee Hughes spotted a push (inconclusive on the video). Reeves not happy once again.
A Bloomfield player was fouled and retaliates before Mr Hughes can do the refereeing. Everyone has their say and gets involved.
In the book for retaliation
Still time for some more argy bargy. 53 minutes later after lost balls, injuries and disciplinary action we're all relieved to hear the half time whistle. Preece suggests simulation.
Half time score : Tower Lounge FC 1 – 2 AFC Bloomfield
Bloomfield fan Ryan with his best smile
Bloomfield manager James Gerrard (centre) well pleased with his team's battling first half performance.
Long time Tower/Layton supporter Olwyn doesn't mince her words. The Tower were poor in the opening 45.
A few stretches and squats before the second half starts
James Dewhurst (Left) and Peltier fight for the ball.
Chris Preece (Centre), Tower's star player this morning
At 2-1 the Bloomfield had two chances to go 3-1 up. The Tower were bravely playing a high line against the pace of Peltier. On this occasion he broke clear but his shot just squirmed wide.
Moments later a corner from the right struck the Tower upright and was cleared away.
On 65 minutes, the Tower finally equalised. The ball was played square for Preece whose first time effort bulged in the far corner. 2-2
Who says Andy Scott can't jump. You could get a Rizzla under there. I couldn't hang about today and after another long delay for 'no football' I left with five minutes to go and the score at 2-2. Predictably, the match went into extra time, the brave battlers of Bloomfield tired and the Tower went on to win 6-2
Final score : Tower Lounge FC 6 – 2 AFC Bloomfield (After extra time – 2-2 after 90 mins)
Prior to kick off there wasn't too much confidence in the Bloomfield camp. Key players had stayed away and they were down to the bare bones but once the match was underway and despite going behind early on they deserve great credit for stifling their higher league opponents. They bossed the first half and made the Tower look lethargic. The half time scoreline of 2-1 to Bloomfield was a fair reflection of events. They will rue the chances that went begging in the second period when they were 2-1 ahead but in the end tiredness and playing on the wide and long AFC Blackpool pitch took its toll. The Tower equalised and when it went into extra time there was perhaps ever only going to be one winner. Another good performance from Peltier who is always a nightmare for opposition defenders.
Job done then for the Tower. It wasn't pretty but they're in the semi-finals where rivals Burlington and Wrea Green await (I'm unsure if the draw has been made. Too many passes went astray today and for much of the game their opponents outbattled them all over the pitch. In the end, their class took them through. Good performance from Chris Preece.
Good luck to Tower Lounge FC in the next round (Please buy some more footballs!)