SportsReach Football League – 14/09/2019

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The SportsReach Football League is back!

This weekend there were two games as four teams got their 2019/20 season of to a start, with champions Great Ecc travelling to Fulwood for a tough test at the start of this new season. Meanwhile, in the early morning kick off, Quernmore faced Moorlands. Quernmore, with a raft of new signings, were looking to get their season of to a great start, whilst Moorlands also were looking for the win, following their strong season last season.

Fulwood 1 – 5 Great Ecc

Catterson 51 // Dridi 2, 90 McCabe 65, 75, 85.

Defending Champions Great Ecc came up against a strong Fulwood side who were playing at their new ground at Fulwood Amateurs. In beautiful sunshine on a large pitch that both teams had lots of space to exploit saw Great Ecc take the lead early on through a wonderful solo effort from new signing Houssem Dridi. Thankfully his papers came through from the Tunisian F.A. in time for us to watch him drift across the pitch from the left flank to then let rip with a flying shot back across the face of goal into the far top corner! 0-1 (2). Both teams had chances with Fulwood hitting the bar twice and Great Ecc’s keeper Jamie Greenall further frustrating the opposition with some quality saves. Great Ecc too went close when Jake Roper hit the post with a header. Houssem Dridi continued to tease and frustrate Fulwood’s defence and received some close attention for his troubles! Halftime arrived with Fulwood extremely unfortunate not to be going in on level terms.

They came out determined to get back into the game which they did when Fulwood’s striker Dom Catterson nipped in ahead of the defender to cleverly prod home from a cross down the left flank 1-1 (51). Great Ecc responded straight from the kick off with a searing run from Toby Parker down the right flank, his cross evading everyone including the far post. Fulwood’s tails were up and they were desperate to grab another, which they so nearly did through Eliot Catterson with an audacious lobbed attempt from 35yrds, that was only matched by an amazing fingertip save onto the bar from Jamie Greenall. Great Ecc then went through the gears and upped the pressure back onto Fulwood. A tweak in formation saw Jack Sharples drop into centre mid and turn provider with a delicious lobbed through ball, evading the last defender leaving a gleeful Sean McCabe to keep calm and slot home 1-2 (65). This sucker punch was hard to take for Fulwood who had up to that point been able to go toe to toe with Great Ecc, and from there Great Ecc began to exert their dominance in play. Another pinpoint through ball from Jack Sharples again set up McCabe to grab his second and Great Ecc’s third of the game (75). Ten minutes later it was de ja vue for a third time as again Jack Sharples’ vision for a through ball released McCabe to score his hat-trick! (85). Fulwood’s frustrations began to show with a couple of late tackles leading to their midfielder receiving his marching orders for two yellow card offences. Great Ecc wrapped up the game with another great solo goal from Hussem Dridi drifting infield and unleashing a rasping shot into the left corner of the net (90). A wonderful brace on his full league debut for the club.

Quernmore 3 – 2 Moorlands

Luxton 25, 79, Sudell 74 // O’Hawke 50, Church 88

In the early kick off, Moorlands traveled down to face Quernmore in what promised to be an intriguing game. Quernmore had been bolstered by 7 new signings, all of whom played on Saturday. Before the game, James Rosendale shared with those there, speaking about his broken leg and how God had been throughout the whole experience, and three of the things he learnt from that time, being: God is a prayer answering God, God is real and our plans don’t count, but God’s do and sharing the verse Philippians 4:7 – ‘the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding…’ and how relevant that was during that time. As the game kicked off, Moorlands started the better side and were on top, creating some good chances that they didn’t take, in part due to some good saves from keeper James Smith. However, as time moved on, Quernmore quickly gelled and got going, beginning to come into the game and creating some good chances themselves. Indeed, Quernmore had the ball in net midway through the first half, as Tom Luxton lobbed the keeper beautifully to place it in the back of the net. However, he was called offside and the goal chalked off. However, shortly after that, Quernmore were ever improving and finding gaps in the Moorlands defence, working hard with some good through balls, getting some good chances and soon found the first goal of the game – and the new league season! Tom Luxton, in a carbon copy of his disallowed goal, beat the offside trap and lobbed the keeper with a near identical lob. Quernmore went into half time, likely the happier of the two teams, with a 1-0 advantage.

Shortly into the second half, Moorlands were awarded a freekick 35 yards out, which was floated into the box by centre half O’Hawke. It evaded everyone and founds its way into the back of the net. Quernmore were immensely disappointed with the goal, but both sides looked to get the advantage back by scoring the next goal of the game. Both teams worked very hard and there was a great battle in midfield between the two teams. At a crucial point of the game, with 15 minutes to go, the game was finely poised at 1-1, with either team scoring putting them a long way towards victory. Some good build up play on the left hand side through left back John Townley, played it into Osbourne who layed it off for Jonny Sudell to fire into the bottom left corner of the net. Quernmore were delighted. Two goals and both the debutantes got them. Quernmore then compounded their advantage and scored again 5 minutes later. Luxton got the ball in the box, moved it around the keeper and had the goal at his mercy as he fired home for his second of the game. What a great impact he had had! However, Moorlands were not done there. They were still well in the game, and were looking for a second goal to bring them back into it even further, to try and grab a draw. They did just that with minutes of the game to go, with Church firing home after a scramble in the box. There were less than two minutes to go… would Moorlands find a way back in? Or would Quernmore hang on for the win and the perfect start to the season? It would be the latter and Quernmore hung on, leaving players and manager alike delighted with the performance and result!

This coming weekend, Quernmore face Fulwood, Great Ecc travel up to Loko, for their first game of the season and Wray travel to Moorlands for their first game of the season. Exciting games to come!