Reports From Our Matches and Tournaments
16/10/16 Lancs. League Summer Series GRAND FINALS
Blackpool Senior Seasiders W.F.C. in their crucial final game against Fleetwood Town Flyers W.F.C. stumbled in a late goal against the run of play, to become Champions and winners of this years Lancashire League Summer Series 2016 Grand Finals Trophy
The finals of the Lancashire League Summer Series were contested and hosted by Fleetwood Town Flyers, at their home ground of Poolfoot Farm on Sunday 16th October 2016. Expectations were high at sunny Poolfoot today but would that blustery wind play any part in the race for victory.
Three out of the first four encounters were tight affairs ending in draws. It was going to be a hard day at the office for all five teams involved today. Two of the well respected sides, Wigan Walkers and the hosts Fleetwood Town Flyers, would face each other in the opening match. Could Fleetwood's never say die attitude give them a win over Wigan. Only time would tell. Paul Barton, in charge for this one, got things under way. Wigan settled into the game first, having more of the play but it didn't take too long before Fleetwood found their rhythm and their pressure began to tell. Fleetwood's tireless Graham Cox came close to scoring, after a counter attacking move from deep in defence, catching Wigan on the back foot. But at half time it still remained Wigan 0-0 Fleetwood. With three minutes gone in the second half, Wigan latched onto a loose pass from Fleetwood and with two-on-one, Wigan's front man G. Wilkins slotted the ball home. Wigan 1-0 Fleetwood. Fleetwood as ever did not let their heads drop but instead started to fight back and with only a minute remaining the equalizer came, as a lovely waited back pass from a free kick in front of Wigan's goal, was duly hammered home by a fist pumping Kevin Clarkson, "Yes! Get in". Fleetwood pressed on and nearly scored the winner in injury time, with a George Greenall pile driver from distance but the final score remained Wigan 1-1 Fleetwood.
Wayne Capstick was referee for the next and important game between Fleetwood and Blackburn Rovers. With Blackpool already on four points from two games and both teams having to play them later on, there was only one thing on their minds and that was to win. Blackburn, arguably one of the favourites for the trophy, kicked off. Both teams showed signs of nerves but with what's at stake that was to be expected. Blackburn with some great passing and forward attacking play surged forward, forcing Fleetwood to show their defensive prowess when under pressure. In goal, Dave Flynn better known as "The Cat" lived up to his name, springing into action and pouncing on every shot coming his way. In front of goal, Gerald Brown and Graham Cox worked well to keep Blackburn at arms length. As the game progressed, Fleetwood became more and more relaxed coming very close to opening the scoring, with shots from George Greenall and Karl Jones. After a competitive first half it remained Fleetwood 0-0 Blackburn.
Blackburn started the second half in attacking mode and with only seconds gone found themselves clear and one-on-one with Fleetwood's keeper but he had different ideas, a quite brilliant save! It was plain to see that Blackburn had gone with a man-to-man marking strategy, which gave Fleetwood little or no outlet when in possession but with five minutes gone George Greenall found himself free on the right and took aim, only to see the ball ricochet off the post. However, referee Wayne Capstick had blown his whistle for an infringement. Blackburn's goalkeeper had strayed outside of his area, resulting in a penalty for Fleetwood. With Blackburn players surrounding the referee, Fleetwood quickly took the penalty, only to see it rebound off the post. In all the confusion referee Wayne Capstick, who was still dealing with frustrated Blackburn players, ordered the penalty to be retaken but this time on his whistle. Gerald Brown stepped up for a second time and with one step back he stroked the ball hard, only to see a full length diving Blackburn keeper making one of the saves of the day and denying Fleetwood the lead. Was this turning out to be one of those days for Fleetwood! Both teams were desperate to score but with time running out, this hard and well fought game finished goalless. Fleetwood 0-0 Blackburn.
With A.F.C. Fylde on two points, Blackburn Rovers on three points, Wigan Walkers on four points and Blackpool Senior Seasiders on five points and all four teams having one last game to play the points tally was starting to look very interesting. However, if Fleetwood Town Flyers, having two points from two games, could win both of their remaining two matches, they would get their hands on the coveted Lancashire League Summer Series Trophy. Would it be their day?
Fleetwood's next game was against Blackpool Senior Seasiders and probably the team to beat. Were Blackpool to win, they would have a total of eight points and couldn't be caught but a win for Fleetwood would mean all to play for in their last down to the wire game against A.F.C. Fylde. Both teams knew the importance of this game, as referee Wayne Capstick got proceedings under way. It was evident, from the first few minutes of the game, that Fleetwood had decided to man mark certain key Blackpool players, one of which being N. Carter. These tactics had a neutralizing effect on Blackpool as their play makers struggled. This type of game play was both hard work and risky for Fleetwood but they were determined to give it their all.
Play was fast and furious from one end of the pitch to the other. Possession changed in the blink of an eye and although goal scoring opportunities were few, the engaged crowd were witness to some fine and skilful passing play and movement from both sides. As the first half came to a close it remained Blackpool 0-0 Fleetwood. With the second half under way, you could cut the tension with a knife. Both teams are working flat out and look really tired but Fleetwood still have the upper hand. Blackpool decided to apply some long ball tactics, in the hope of changing their luck and maybe nicking a goal, but opportunities were still few. With literally seconds to go and the game looking like a draw, Blackpool made one last-ditch attempt on goal. Their play maker N. Carter with the ball at his feet pushed forward and Fleetwood's Gerald Brown, who had man marked him throughout the whole game followed and before he could get any sort of shot off, his shadow made quite a brilliant tackle on the edge of the goal area. But as both players stumbled to the ground, it was like slow motion as the ball came free and trickled in off the post for a goal to Blackpool. Fleetwood's hearts sank as 10 seconds later the final whistle blew. Blackpool had some how done it. Final score, Blackpool 1-0 Fleetwood.
This meant that Blackpool on eight points could not now be caught and therefore were champions and winners of the Lancashire League Summer Series Finals Trophy 2016.
Fleetwood's final game was against A.F.C. Fylde for the minor places. They could have let their heads drop but right from the kick off Fleetwood were determined as ever to get their first win on the board. Fylde were under constant pressure and made to defend for long periods. It was one way traffic for Fleetwood , with shots raining in from Karl Jones, George Greenall and Gerald Brown, peppering Fylde's goal. Some of the passing and link play between Fleetwood's rushing Eric Jenkinson and Graham Cox was outstanding but at half time it remained Fleetwood 0-0 Fylde. As referee Paul Barton got the second half under way the weather took a turn for the worst, with rain and even stronger wind directed into the faces of the Fleetwood players. This however did not slow down their intent to score. Surely it was only a matter of time before they put the ball in the back of the net. But with four minutes to go, Fylde got a rare free kick in Fleetwood's half and blasted it home. As Fylde celebrated, referee Paul Barton reminded them that all free kicks were indirect and so the goal was disallowed.
With Fleetwood's relentless pressure Fylde were sure to make mistakes and sure enough, after a blunder in defence, Graham Cox found himself one-on-one with Fylde's goal keeper and made him produce a wonderful save from his nicely angled shot. Fylde however had not given up and with only one minute on the clock and against the run of play, disaster for Fleetwood. Fylde took a chance with a long ball out of defence, which caught Fleetwood on the back foot and saw Fylde score which was to be the winning goal. This had tones of deja vu for Fleetwood but the team that they are, continued to battle on right to the end. As the final whistle went it finished Fleetwood 0-1 Fylde.
A close and hard fought win for Blackburn against Wigan, secured for them the runners-up spot. Blackburn 1-0 Wigan.
Presenting the winners Blackpool and runners up Blackburn with their trophy's and medals was Steve Curwood, CEO of Fleetwood Town FC. Presentations were also made to are two referees Paul Barton and Wayne Capstick and a special prize for the top goal scorer on the day, G. Wilkins of Wigan with three goals.
Many thanks to all and see you next year!
Report by: Rob Barlow
18/9/16 Lancs. League Summer Series ROUND 5
A Captain's hat trick helped Fleetwood Town Flyers secure their place in this years Lancashire League Finals Summer Series, with a crucial win over Blackburn in the ultimate game of the day. Blackburn 1-4 Fleetwood.
The final round five of the Lancashire League qualifiers were contested and hosted by Fleetwood Town Flyers at their home ground of Poolfoot Farm on Sunday 18th September 2016. The weather at Poolfoot was bright to start but later changeable, this change reflected how the first three games were played and with tension in the air, all three ended goalless.
The main protagonists were to be in teams from Carlisle and Fleetwood as Blackpool and Blackburn had already qualified in rounds one and three respectfully. After Carlisle had drawn their first two games, only a win in their last, against Blackpool, would do. It turned out to be well fought, ending in a deserved win for Carlisle. Blackpool 0-1 Carlisle. This gave Carlisle a total of five points for the round. Fleetwood's head-to-head game with Carlisle started with some trepidation from both sides and not trusting their own abilities. Nerves were apparent but Carlisle finished the first half having the lions share of play. Fleetwood came out for the second half with more confidence and although creating more chances, a nervous last couple of minutes resulted in a draw. Fleetwood 0-0 Carlisle.
Fleetwood have endured many a battle with their next opponent Blackpool, who have a winning reputation and one of the best goal keepers in the tournament, but as the game progressed it became clear that Fleetwood had got the upper hand over them, with umpteen great chances hitting the wood work, from good build up play. It was easy to see Fleetwood's eagerness and at times frustration in their endeavours to score. With Blackpool on the back foot the second half belonged to Fleetwood and with six minutes gone the break through came after some outstanding passing skills and movement around Blackpool's box. George Greenall found himself in space and smashed in a left footed shot, beating Blackpool's keeper with ease. Fleetwood kept the pressure on, right until the final whistle, gaining a well deserved win and four points from two games. Fleetwood 1-0 Blackpool
Any hope of Fleetwood progressing further in the competition now hangs in the balance. With one point behind Carlisle, they must beat Blackburn to win the round and go forward into the Lancashire League finals, to be contested later on in October 2016. Wayne Capstick, the referee, who had officiated throughout the day in his own inimitable style, got this crucial deciding game between Fleetwood and Blackburn underway. It was an edgy start for both teams but Blackburn settled quickly after scoring with only three minutes gone. This didn't phase Fleetwood though, in fact it spurred them on and within two minutes they had got the equalizer through Captain Karl Jones, who latching on to a misplaced pass from Blackburn's defence, slotted the ball past their keeper. With half time approaching, Fleetwood were rewarded for their regained short passing and free flowing movement, with a second goal created from an onrushing Kevin Clarkson, Karl Jones, George Greenall and Graham Cox attacking line up and finally rocketed in from close range by George Greenall. As the half time whistle blew, Fleetwood had fully deserved their lead. Fleetwood 2-1 Blackburn
Blackburn started the second half on the front foot together with renewed vigour, determination and their renown forceful but fair style of play. Fleetwood had to withstand Blackburn's charge which they succeeded in doing and against the run of play and with a beautifully played through ball from George Greenall bisecting Blackburn's defence, it found Karl Jones in space and with one touch he duly dispatched the ball into the back of the net. Fleetwood 3-1 Blackburn. With only minutes to go Fleetwood scored a forth, from a set piece corner fired straight across Blackburn's goal area and onto Karl Jones's boot, bang! Fleetwood 4-1 Blackburn. With Fleetwood pressing so hard, there was always the chance of a Blackburn break away and with literally seconds to go their chance came, but the partnership of David "The Cat" Flynn in goal and David Hirst as sweeper, nothing much was to get past them. The referee checks his watch and blows for full time.
That's it Fleetwood Town Flyers get their win and seven points, topping the table for this round and qualifying for the Lancashire League finals Summer Series. Well done lads!
Report by: Rob Barlow