The first legs of the Cup semi-finals took place this weekend, with several exciting ties taking place in both the Champions Cup and the League Cup. Wray made the long trip down to Fulwood to face them in the first leg of their semi final, whilst Quernmore made the trip to Accrington, all four sides hoping they could get a commanding first leg lead in the ‘Race to Squires Gate’.
In the League Cup, we had the ‘Saltayre derby’. It is a derby much like the ‘Milan Derby’ – only it is less well known! Both Lancaster and Moorlands share a pitch at Saltayre Leisure Centre, but in this first leg Moorlands had home advantage. Finally, due to the weather, Great Ecc’s game versus Loko was called off.
Honours even in exciting Moor Park match up
Fulwood 4 – 4 Wray
Atkinson 11, 60, Catterson 23, Bryson 44 // Whitaker 31, Ellershaw 54, 75, Talbot 55
It was Fulwood who started the brighter in this semi-final tie, taking the game to Wray with real intensity. Their intensity payed off, with Richard Atkinson senior netted for Fulwood in the 11th minute. Wray, usually so good at scoring early goal in games, had had the reverse done to them instead. By the 23rd minute Wray found themselves 2-0 down, Elliot Catterson netting for the home side. They were 2-0 up by the 24th minute, leaving Wray looking shell-shocked. A lovely finish by George Whitaker reduced the deficit in the 31st minute, only for Fulwood to make it 3-1 at the break with a free-kick strike from Jamie Bryson in the 44th minute.
At half-time, Wray knew they faced a tough task but they also knew that chances would come in the second half. And so it proved as within 10 minutes Wray were level. In the 54th minute, Ellershaw finished off a smooth passage of play with a composed finish into the corner from a Jake Fawcett pass. Incredibly, just one minute later, Wray were level, another slick move saw Ellershaw turn provider, playing in Whitaker who crossed for Phil Talbot to level. It seemed that Wray might go on to take the lead only for Fulwood to get a fourth: a goal that Wray will want to forget. Wray keeper Hutchinson fumbled with the ball, spilling it into the path of onrushing striker Atkinson senior, who poked it home in the 60th minute. However, the game was not over and again Ellershaw was the man in action, nodding in a Whitaker corner to make it 4-4. More goals were expected and chances did come, but it was honours even and back to Burton in a fortnight’s time.
Quernmore routed by very good Accrington
Accrington 9 – 3 Quernmore
Pountain 4, 40, 83 Schofield 31, 50, 67, 77 Addison 35, Richardson 86 // Kelsall 5, 88, Yates 90
Much like John 21:25, there was so much in this game, it is hard to remember everything and if I could, it would be a very long match report! The game started with Accrington doing much of the attacking, stand in goalkeeper Harrison was being tested early on for Quernmore. And their early pressure told, notching an early goal – however, it was to be ruled out for offside. But, moments later, Accrington were ahead, Pountain netting for the home side. The exciting start to the game continued, Kelsall now netting for Quernmore, after a great through ball put him one on one with the keeper. 5 minutes in and it was 1-1. It was a tough game for Quernmore – who had arrived full of confidence following their last game – struggled to get going and found it tough against a highly motivated Accrington side. In a mater of minutes, Quernmore found themselves 4-1 down. Schofield netted in the 31st minute, beating the defender to the cross, before Addison added a third and Pountain got his second and Accrington’s fourth of the game. Half time and it was 4-1, with Quernmore very disappointed with their performance.
Coming into the second half, Quernmore were determined to improve and pull some goals back in the tie. They started of with some nice passing, moving the ball much better than they did in the first half, but it was not long until Accrington scored again, this time Schofield got his second of the game in the 50th minute. It took 17 minutes for the next goal of the game to arrive and unfortunately for Quernmore, it was for Accrington. Schofield completed his hat trick and Accrington’s sixth of the game. Again, Schofield got another in the 77th minute, his fourth and Accrington’s seventh. It was fast becoming a rout for Accrington and Quernmore were quickly losing sight of Squires Gate and the Champions Cup final on the 15th March. It was to get worse as well, before it got any better. Quernmore shipped two more goals, in the 83rd and 86th minute, Pountain completing his hat trick and Richardson getting on the score sheet with a clever free kick. Quernmore had become more attacking as more goals had gone in, full backs now also joining the attacks. And the pressure from Quernmore resulted in two late goals. Firstly, a handball in the area gave Quernmore a chance to add one from the spot – coolly done by Kelsall, whilst a scramble in the box, moments before full time was smashed home by Yates. A disappointing result for Quernmore, who were hoping that this tie would allow them a route to the final – however, on the day Accrington were very good and deserved the six goal advantage they hold. Quernmore need to win by 6 clear goals in the second leg to stand a chance of progressing. However, not all hope is lost for Quernmore, they can take confidence from the second leg of their last game against Lancaster. The scoreline? 6-0.
Lancaster triumph in ‘Saltayre Debry’
Moorlands 3 – 6 Lancaster
Dent 32, Orford 60, Kirkby 69 // White 42, 48, 56, 59, Luxton 48, 87
The first half of the ‘Saltayre derby’ was a quiet affair, with only two goals of a nine goal game coming in it. Moorlands were first to strike, league stop scorer Chris Dent netting in the 32nd minute, only for Michael White to bring the game level in the 42nd minute, scoring a rebound. Luxton scored the first of seven second half goals, netting a 25 yard screamer top that flew into the top corner from a Martin Lewis flick on. Seconds later, Lancaster compounded their advantage, Michael White scoring from the left with a nice finish beating the defender to the ball to slot home, again in the 48th minute. In the 56th minute, Lancaster were awarded a penalty, coolly slotted home by Michael White, netting his hat trick. White got his fourth of the game in the 59th minute, scoring a similar goal to his second. Moorlands, however, were not buried and Orford netted for them in the 60th minute, before Kirkby got their third in the 69th minute. 5 -3. There was still time before the final whistle for Lancaster to find a sixth goal, Tom Luxton scoring a lovely lob over the keeper. Despite a three goal advantage, Lancaster will know that it is still all to play for in the second part of the ‘Saltayre Derby’.