SportsReach Football League roundup – 8th, 15th, and 22nd February
Over the last three weeks, 7 games have taken place in the SportsReach Football League and Cup tournament, with some highly entertaining games taking place over the last three weekends.
Loko 2 – 0 Quernmore
Rodwell 10, Hanmer 30 //
8th February 2020
On this very wet and windy weekend, only one game came through the weather and was able to be played. Quernmore made the short trip to Carnforth to face Loko. The game was an interesting battle with both sides looking for victory to boost their league position. The game started with Loko being the better side and soon made the breakthrough 10 minutes into the game. The ball was played into the box and in amongst that, a penalty was awarded to Loko. This penalty was subsequently taken by Brad Rodwell, who calmly slotted home to give Loko the lead. Quernmore continued to battle and tried to find a way through, but weren’t having any joy, Loko were defending resolutely. Loko were still dangerous on the counter attack and in the 30th minute they managed to double their lead. A ball was played over the top, keeper James Smith ran out to clear the ball, but it unfortunately fell to the feet of a Loko played, who played the ball into the box, which was attempted to be cleared again by Quernmore, but the clearance was controlled by Glen Hanmer, who swivelled and fired home into the bottom corner of the empty net. The game continued but Quernmore were unable to find a way through the stubborn Loko defence. Half time came and brought an end to a difficult half, the weather making it pretty difficult for both sides to keep the ball and play it about. Moving into the second half and Quernmore started the half brighter of the two sides, moving the ball about well and creating some openings, none of which they took advantage of. Loko, however, continued to create chances and openings, but again, much like Quernmore, they didn’t take the chances coming to them. Both sides battled hard but neither side added to the score sheet and the damage had been done in the first half by Loko’s two goals. Quernmore had some golden chances to get on the score sheet, but they fluffed their lines each time. Full time and it ended 2-0 to Loko
Champions Cup Semi-final 1st leg: Crossgate 4 – 2 Accrington
Barrett 23, 44, Milton 32, Sharp 33 // Pountain 12, Mensah 76
In the first of the Champions Cup semi-finals, it served up a mouthwatering tie between Crossgate and Accrington, two superb sides. The game started off with the two sides stroking the ball about nicely, making the most of the good pitch. Much likely tentative boxers, they exchanged a few early opening exchanges, but both sides were wary of the quality of the other and watched out for each sides attack. 12 minutes into the game, Paul Pountain made a good run down the wing and put a lovely ball into the box, which evaded everyone and floated into the back of the net, lobbing the keeper – a lovely goal. 1-0 to Accrington. First blood to Accrington, but Crossgate were still dangerous and creating some good moments in their attempts to draw level. They did just that in the 23rd minute, a ball from a corner was smashed home by Sam Barrett, making the scores 1-1. Crossgate came on much stronger after getting the first goal and there was wave after wave of Crossgate attack, that brought them fruit in the 32nd and 33rd minute. Again, two well worked deliveries did for Accrington, as Bob Milton and then Dave Sharp fired home to give Crossgate a commanding lead in the game. Coming into half time and Accrington were struggling to do much attacking, Crossgate were stroking the ball about nicely and making the most of the space on the pitch. Moments before half time, Crossgate increased their lead even further, Sam Barrett scoring again for the away side, giving them a commanding lead. 4-1 at half time. Coming into the second half and Accrington came into the game somemore, creating some good openings, but they were unable to make the most of them. But to their credit, Accrington kept going, knowing one goal brought them right back into the tie. Crossgate too got some good chances throughout the game, but were unable to make any of them count either, never really troubling the Accrington keeper. In the 76th minute, Accrington made the breakthrough they were desperate to find, with the talented Lewis Mensah collecting the ball before cleverly slotting home. A well deserved goal for a good individual performance. 4-2. That was how it stayed, as Crossgate kept Accrington out for the remainder of the game. A 4-2 advantage to Crossgate coming into the second leg on the 29th February.
League Cup semi-final 1st leg: Fulwood 2 – 3 Moorlands
Caterson 55, Alexander 70 // Yare 5, Mountain 41, Ramsbottom 71
This game was played at a frenetic pace right from the off as both sides looked to attack and get the ball forward quickly. Moorlands made the better start of the two sides, as Alex Yare finished tidily, slotting the ball nicely past the keeper at the back post after some good work on the wings. Fulwood kept battling, but were struggling to get a foothold in the game, their passes not quite coming off – but they were trying some nice stuff. Both sides continued to battle and minutes before half time, Moorlands doubled their lead through Mountain. His goal too was a tidy finish and was a real boost to Moorlands in the 41st minute, bringing them into half time 2-0 up. Coming into the second half, Fulwood started a bit brighter, but were still struggling to make anything stick. In the 55th minute, Fulwood got the goal they were in desperate need of, through Dom Caterson, who finished well from a good cross. That brought Fulwood right back into the game and gave them real hope that they would draw level or perhaps go onto win the game. In the 70th minute, Calum Alexander worked some magic to bring Fulwood level. He picked the ball up 30 yards from goal, went past a few players before unleashing a drive that flew into the goal. It was a superb finish and brought Fulwood level in the game. However, this was the catalyst that Moorlands needed, as a moment later they went up the other end and fired home themselves, through Scott Ramsbottom. Both sides continued to attack and work hard, but they were unable to add to their score any more and so, the game finished 3-2 to Moorlands, giving them a slender advantage going into the second leg.
Wray 2 – 4 Loko
Whitaker, Park // Rodwell, Iddon, Grimes, Beaumont
Coming into this game, it was difficult to be sure who would come out on top in the tie. It was to be Loko who came out on top in the game scoring four goals to Wray’s two. Brad Rodwell got himself on the score sheet for the second game in a row, whilst Rob Iddon and Kaine Grimes also netted for Loko. The win was completed by a good goal from Graeme Beaumont. It was a real highlight for Wray to see George Whitaker starting for the first time in nearly two years, as he continues his comeback from injury. It was also great that he managed to get on the scoresheet, as did Wray captain on the day, Nathan Park. This result gave Loko a real chance of getting into the cup final for the first time in a number of years, with a healthy advantage over Wray, coming into the second leg.
Champions Cup Semi-final 1st leg: Quernmore 3 – 2 Great Ecc
Mello 39, 54, Forber 75 // Sharples 24, Sheilds 65
This game was postponed because of the weather the previous weekend, so we had to wait a little longer to see how the fourth semi final would go. The weather hampered the start of the game a little, as it was very windy, making it difficult to play the ball about nicely. However, as the game got going, both sides got into their stride and produced a superb game of football. Quernmore were playing some nice stuff, looking to get the ball in behind, which didn’t quite come off as the keeper was alert to it. Great Ecc had a number of early chances as well, but they weren’t much trouble to keeper Thornton. As the game continued, and it seemed to be pretty even between the two sides, Quernmore began to grow in confidence, believing they could get something out of the game. However, in the 24th minute, out of nowhere, Great Ecc took the lead, through the dangerous Sharples. He somehow managed to squeeze the ball between Thornton and the post and the ball trickled towards the goal, unable to be stopped by the Quernmore defence. 1-0 to Great Ecc. Quernmore continued to attack and were looking dangerous, wingers Forber and Kelsall, plus strikers Mello and Thompson were causing real problems up front, whilst Kaine Winder was orchestrating everything from midfield and with set pieces. Quernmore used this to their advantage, using the wind to carry the ball into the box, which was nicked on the way in by Artur Mello, to nestle in the back of the net. 1-1, 5 minutes before half time! Moving into the second half, Quernmore started the half well again, moving the ball about nicely and creating some good, early chances. Great Ecc were having to readjust after having to make some changes at half time, due to injuries. Quernmore got a corner in the 54th minute, which was floated into the box superbly once more by Winder, which was cleared by Great Ecc, but only as far as Artur Mello, who pounced and fired home a superb shot which flew into the bottom corner of the net. A super finish! Quernmore now held the lead at 2-1. Quernmore kept getting openings and with good work in behind, they were getting some half chances, but nothing much more to challenge the Great Ecc keeper. In the 65th minute, Great Ecc drew level. A superb ball from Adam Moat in behind Quernmore fell to the feet of Tom Sheilds, who chased after the ball, to then slot nicely into the bottom corner, past keeper Thornton, who was helpless. 2-2. Great Ecc were delighted! However, Quernmore weren’t going to let Great Ecc have it all their own way and continued to play the ball about nicely, creating some good chances. The best of those chances was in the 75th minute, as a corner was played into the box and at the back post, Tim Forber snook in to header past the keeper and into the bottom corner. 3-2 to Quernmore. Delight for the team! They had the lead again. Both sides kept battling to the end, but were unable to score any more goals and so it ended 3-2 to Quernmore. They were delighted with the result and it gives them a real chance of getting through to their first cup final in 4 years, though Great Ecc will still be pretty confident of over coming the deficit and getting the win. A intriguing tie awaits!
League ties: Moorlands 1 – 0 Loko
Bourne 3 //
In this league game, it was a tight and difficult game, with only one goal separating the teams, and that came in the 3rd minute! That goal came from Tom Bourne who finished nicely, giving Moorlands the lead. It was a tight game but Loko were unable to find a way through, with it finishing 1-0 to Moorlands.
Fulwood 3 – 0 Wray
Alexander 18, Atkinson 73, Stephenson 74 //
In this game, Fulwood knew that victory would take them level on points with Great Ecc in the race for the league title, albeit having played a game more than Great Ecc. Fulwood started the game well and soon went into the lead in the 18th minute, with Calum Alexander netting again for his 11th goal of the season. Wray battled hard during the game, but Fulwood played some slick stuff and kept their noses in front. Coming into the second half and it continued to be a battle, though that changed in the 73rd and 74th minute as Fulwood doubled, then trebled their lead, through midfield duo Rick Atkinson and Pete Stephenson. Both goals were well taken and put the game beyond doubt for Fulwood. This was a good result for them and makes the title race this season that bit more interesting!
This coming weekend, we have three of the semi final second legs taking place, as Crossgate travel to Accrington, Fulwood travel to Moorlands and Wray make the short trip to Loko. Let’s see who can make it to Squires Gate!