Inter-College Cup football Semi-Final

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In what was a tight game for long periods, Fylde eventually won through with Rob Newton grabbing a brace.

The opening minutes saw Lonsdale take the game to Fylde, pressing them high up the pitch and forcing some uncharacteristic errors from the League champions. This was typified by an incident on three minutes when a dangerous Lonsdale cross was diverted towards goal via a Fylde defender and Gittens was forced to scramble the ball off the line.

Lonsdale controlled the midfield early on, with Ackroyd composed in possession and dogged in the tackle. They had the first chance of the game as Smith rose from a corner, his goalbound header stopped on the six-yard line.

Fylde finally began to show some of their league form on the quarter-hour, as Newton was introduced and Barnett urged his men to up their performance. They pierced the Lonsdale midfield and a better final ball would have released D’Ambrosio on goal.

Lonsdale were still in the game though, on 22 minutes it took a heroic block from Mathias to deny Perkins the opener. However, Fylde’s ability to fashion a goal from nothing has proved valuable all season. This was illustrated on 27 minutes as D’Ambrosio buried a difficult headed chance after a free kick was only partially cleared.

Although it was 1-0, Fylde were not playing their usual brand of football and were punished by an equalizer on 33 minutes. Perkins raced clear of full-back Haythorn and steered the ball beyond Gittens who may felt he could have been quicker off his line.

Both sides were looking for a goal to take a lead into the interval and the game was becoming more open as a result of this. Fylde’s quality allowed them to exploit the space in midfield and with Thorp providing no genuine threat for Lonsdale, a second Fylde goal looked inevitable. This duly arrived in the cruellest of circumstances right on half-time, as the excellent Smith upended Newton who stepped up to ram the penalty home and give Fylde a 2-1 lead at half-time.

The second half saw Fylde playing more composed football and they added to their lead in the 53rd minute as Blenkinsopp finished calmly from a Newton knock-on. Lonsdale were looking tired and with Thorp struggling to retain possession, they had no respite from waves of Fylde attack. Only spirited defending from Keeley and Heathcote prevented a drubbing.

Fylde seemed content to play out the remainder of the game until a horrible mis-kick from Walby in the Lonsdale goal gifted Newton a second and put Fylde out of sight at 4-1 with 20 minutes remaining. Lonsdale threw on their substitutes in an effort to get back into the match but it was Fylde who looked most likely to add to their tally. The final incident of note was an unnecessary scuffle after Lonsdale substitutes and supporters reacted to a hard tackle on their full-back; sensible refereeing kept 22 players on the pitch and order was restored.

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