THE first of Baines Bagguley’s North Lancashire and District League’s finals – the Fairclough/Woodruff/Parkinson/Collegian Cup final – was played on Monday night, March 21.
The veteran side, Morecambe Gold, scored inside the first minute when John Eccles scored from close in after good work from Carl Harwood; they kept this lead till half-time.
The second half was just 12 minutes old when man of the match Steve Griffiths equalised for Villa Royale.
Five minutes later Richard Harte scored what turned out to be the winner.
Despite the Gold ending the game the stronger side in the last five minutes, they could not score again.
In the Sam Price Memorial Cup Second Round Morecambe Royals just came out on top in a thrilling game against Slyne-with-Hest.
Even a goal scored by Gareth Holmes against his former team could not prevent the Royals from progressing into the semi-final where they will play Highgrove this Saturday.
The Royals took their chances well with Will Rowell being the hero with an excellent brace with Mark Murphy getting the other, Slyne’s other scorer was Jamie Durnam.
In the semi-final Marsh United beat a weakened Swarthmoor Social Club side 2-1 after extra time.
The game was a typical cup tie with both sides having many chances and both teams hitting the woodwork.
Lee Sparks and Liam Steele scored for Marsh with the excellent Joel Lackey scoring for Swarthmoor.
These two meet in the Senior Cup semi-final, this time at Swarthmoor in a fortnight’s time.
In the Fisher/Howson Remembrance Cup Third Round Arnside Reserves and College AFC Reserves both from Division Four had done really well to reach the last eight.
College started much the better side and took control of the game early on. They deservedly took the lead, a lead they held until half-time after John Booth scored a great goal.
The Arnside team started the second half in a much better frame of mind and soon took control of the game. It did not take long for Arnside to draw level when James Barr scored.
Within minutes Jonathon Matthews put Arnside into the lead and Joe Taylor added a third to make the tie safe and set up a semi-final place this Saturday away to Storeys Reserves.
In the Premier Division Cartmel are back in form and almost beat title favourites Highgrove in an end-to-end contest.
Cartmel got off to a flying start when Dean Richards scored a great goal. Highgrove, playing some very good football, hit back before half-time when Luke Ogley scored.
The second half was even better than the first with both teams playing at their best.
It was no surprise when Dan Broadly put Highgrove into the lead.
This only inspired Cartmel even more as they pounded away at Highgrove who eventually conceded another goal just 10 minutes from time when Matty Burrows equalised in a game that neither team deserved to lose.
Freehold battered a poor Bentham side for the whole of the 90 minutes. The only surprise was that Freehold could only score three times.
Phil Bushell, Anthony Laird and Ian Palwanker scored for Freehold but with just four games remaining it still appears they are favourites for relegation as they are only three points in front of Marsh United and five points in front of Swarthmoor, who both ten games to catch them up.
Galgate put up their worst display of the season against Ingleton. The result could have been even worse but for their man of the match Gareth Hammond who was outstanding the whole game. Ingleton were a far superior side and William Kelly and Phil Eccleston gave them a 2-0 lead.
Storeys and Carnforth Rangers met for the second week running only this time in the league. The result was the same a win for Storeys but this time it was much easier with Storeys fielding a much stronger side.
They welcomed back Chris Parkes who had been out with a long-term back injury. He fitted into the side as though he had not been away and got on the scoresheet.
Carnforth on this occasion were under strength and it looked it as they were ripped apart on numerous occasions, resulting in further Storeys goals scored by Jonathon Pedder, David Leslie and Rob Evans. Carnforth’s consolation was scored by Vernon Middleton.
Bowerham/Furness United let slip two valuable points in their quest for the title when they could only draw 1-1 with TIC Dynamos.
The game was quite evenly poised throughout. The Dynamos probably had the better chances in the first half which they just shaded in terms of possession.
It was the Bowerham side that took the lead after just 15 minutes, they were awarded a free kick which took a wicked deflection and wrong footed the keeper. Joe Bouskill was awarded the goal as it appeared he got the last touch as the ball went into the net.
The second half saw the Bowerham side slightly the better side but could not get past a solid Dynamos defence.
Dynamos deservedly drew level when Alex Requena out jumped the Bowerham defenders to guide his header away from the keeper and into the net for a deserved equaliser.
In Division One the wheels appear to come off Caton’s challenge for promotion when they were beaten for the second consecutive week when they lost to Marsh United Reserves.
Marsh often outplayed Caton with their nice controlled football and their eagerness to work for each other, only poor finishing meant they didn’t take the lead.
The opening goal was a scrappy affair with Caton unable to clear the ball, Mark Hetherington’s first shot for goal was blocked and rebounded to him and at the second time of asking he found the net.
The second half was much the same as the first half with the more workmanlike Marsh side doing all the work and dominating an out of sorts Caton side.
The last 10 minutes saw the best of Caton as they went all out for an equaliser, Jimmy Oliver hit the bar with a header from two yards, a Marsh defender cleared a Tom Lund shot off the line, but Marsh was not to be denied and fully deserved their win.
Leaders College AFC took a big stride towards promotion by going five points clear of Caton and nine points clear of third placed Trimpell.
Against Kirkby another side on the fringe of promotion, College took control from the first minute and raced into a 3-0 half time lead after Guy Spence, Phil Meeks and Adam Campbell had scored. College managed one more goal in the second half as Spence scored his second.
Third-placed Trimpell also suffered a shock defeat when they lost to a revitalised Cartmel Reserves that must now be safe from relegation after beating two of the top three in the last two weeks.
Against Trimpell they were the better side for most of the game but had to withstand a late rally from Trimpell, Billy Garnett scored the only goal of the game.
Millhead will have to thank substitute Carl Cochrane for his last-minutegoal, which gave them a 4-3 win over strugglers Storeys Reserves.
The rest of the 90 minutes was end-to-end with some good goals scored and good football played. A draw would probably have been the fairest result but it was the more adventurous Millhead side that won it with other goals being scored by, Lee Hodgkinson, Dominic Wooff and Michael Reghilini. Storeys replied with goals scored by Dan Knowles, Andy Goulding and Steve Millar.
A real six-pointer took place at Ingleton where the home side bottom at the start of play entertained Boys’ Club who were next to bottom.
As it turned out it was a stroll in the park for Ingleton Reserves as they won with some ease, winning 3-0 with goals scored by Ben O’Hagan (2) and Will Smith. Boys’ Club can have no complaints about the result as they sink to the bottom and a mountain to climb to escape relegation.
Another major shock in this division was the defeat of firm promotion favourites Arnside 3-2 by Morecambe Royals Reserves.
The Royals were certainly up for the game as they started much the brighter side.
The match winner for the Royals was Steve McMinn whose brilliant hat-trick sunk Arnside who replied with goals by veteran Steve Pearson and James Smith this defeat was only the second so far this season. Arnside who have all the leading sides to play must play better if they are to maintain their push for promotion.
In Division Two it appears after yet another defeat that Allithwaite Rangers are doomed to relegation.
Against Galgate Reserves they took an early lead when man of the match Trevor Rowlandson scored a great goal.
As the home side got frustrated at their lack of opportunities Galgate benefited from this and forced an equaliser when Steve Wood scored.
Galgate now had the bit between their teeth and pushed on for the winner which came when Aiden Higgins had the easiest of chances to score what turned out to be the winning goal.
Bentham Reserves had a lot of chances in the opening 10 minutes of their game with Overton and Middleton but could not capitalise on their superior start.
Darren Thompson opened the scoring for Bentham after going close a couple of times, but this only stirred the Overton side who replied with two goals scored by Olly Wellock and Richard Gerrard to lead 2-1 at halftime.
The second half saw Overton take control with further goals being added by Adam Willis, Scott Moore and a second for Gerrard. Bentham scored a second when Danny Ellershaw found the net but it was too little to late.
In the rehearsal of the forthcoming cup final between Grange and Westgate Wanderers, it turned out to be an easy win for the home side.
The opening goal was scored after Michael Purvis crossed a low ball into the Westgate penalty area where it was swept into the net from close in by Lee Harrison.
Westgate went straight onto the offensive and within minutes were awarded a penalty, taken and missed by Christoff Michalak.
They were made to pay for this when Grange took a 2-0 lead before half time when Michael Purvis scored from a corner.
The second half was much better for Westgate but Grange went into a 3-0 lead when leading scorer Carl Davidson scored after receiving a pass inside the penalty area.
Within minutes Westgate finally found the back of the net when Danny Simpson scored from close in after some good build up play.
Grange put the game beyond Westgate when a Carl Davidson corner was brilliantly headed in by Ryan McKenny.
Torrisholme almost provided a shock when they took an early lead against promotion favourites Heysham when Daniel Chadwick scored a great goal.
Torrisholme sat back on their lead for the remainder of the game and it nearly paid off, until in the dying minutes they lost a goal when Callum Harrington to the relief of his team mates found the net to earn them a point which they hardly deserved but it increases their lead to eight points over Carnforth Rangers Reserves in third place.
Kirkby Lonsdale Reserves, another team struggling for survival and still without a win so far this season, lost for the eleventh time when they were beaten 2-0 to Slyne-with-Hest Reserves.
This was only Slyne’s second win of the season but their record of seven draws will probably keep them safe from relegation.
Goals by Reece McClintock and Aiden Mason were enough for Slyne to take all three points from a game they never looked like losing.
In Division Three Pilling recorded the highest score of the day when they rattled in nine goals without reply against an Overton/Middleton Reserves side that ended the game with just nine players after two saw red.
Leading the way was top scorer Dave Thornhill with a four-goal haul, strike partner Oliver Hunter, James Ashworth, Jack Ashworth and a brace by Jamie Mather also got on the scoresheet.
AFC Moorlands dropped into a relegation place after suffering a heavy defeat at the hands of a much-improved Burton Thistle side who fully deserved to win.
AFC Moorlands played like a team heading for relegation as they hardly caused the Burton defence any problems. Peter Baxendale, Jake Armistead, Martin Looker and Dan Nicholls scored for Burton.
Trimpell Reserves moved out of a relegation place when they surprisingly beat third placed Gregson 3-0.
Trimpell outplayed Gregson who had no answer to the swift attacks, resulting in Joe Entwistle, Sam McKee and Cassidy all scoring good goals after good build up play.
In Division Four leaders Moor Lane are inching their way to the title and promotion after breezing past Heysham Reserves 5-0.
Heysham started well enough but did not cause a solid defence any problems, goals for the leaders were scored by Liam Rodgers, Sal Pawlowski, Dan Gill and the exciting Martin Jackson who scored two very good goals.
Freehold Reserves moved into second place after a narrow 1-0 win over a Burton Thistle Reserves side that just would not give up chasing and hassling the Freehold defence.
The Burton side missed enough chances to have caused an upset. The all important goal as far as Freehold was concerned was scored by Gary Smith.
Lancaster Rovers dropped to third place after losing two valuable points to a Millhead Reserves side that still has a chance of getting into the top two as they still have to play them again, both at Millhead.
The result could have gone either way but a goal by Ben Livesey for Lancaster Rovers and a goal by Chris Sowerby did neither side any favours in this draw.
Gregson Reserves, a much -mproved side since the break for the weather, won again this time beating a strong Bolton-le-Sands Reserves team 2-1.
The game was played in good spirits by both sides, with goals from Chris Ecob (2) just enough to win the game after Joe Houghton had scored for Bolton-le-Sands.
Ingleton A have resigned from the league and had its record expunged from the league tables.