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County A 2-1 Fylde A
The start of the Inter College football league kicked off on Wednesday 17 as the only fixture saw County complete an opportunistic win against, for the majority of the game, a dominant Fylde side. The other fixtures, Cartmel vs Lonsdale and Furness vs Bowland, were postponed due to waterlogged pitches.
County A’s notched up their first three points of the season courtesy of a late winner from Spanish striker Ignacio Diego. Fylde led for most of the game courtesy of a Sam Adamson penalty but two late goals from County snatched victory from within their grasp.
After last year’s controversy between County B’s and Fylde A which ended with unsavoury scenes, this was an eagerly anticipated fixture and the ref spoke with both teams before kick-off to ensure the game was played in a good spirit.
The game was a scrappy affair for the most part with neither side able to get into their passing game. County made the better start to the game with Skipper Jordan Gammie almost powering himself into the box after a nice one-two with striker Tom Candler.
The first real moment of quality came from County’s French winger Thomas Meheut; after skipping inside two Fylde challenges he curled a left footed effort wide of the far post.
County then seemed to sit back as Fylde started to control the game, with both Billy Crow and Sam Adamson looking threatening in behind. Fylde looked like the more likely team to break the deadlock and their period of domination saw four chances fall to Sam Kay.
The first came from a huge throw in from defender Marcus Stevens, the ball flicked off a County head to find Kay six yards out on a tight angle, but he could only fire his shot straight at the alert Liam Hartas. Kay was then involved in a huge goal-line scramble after a Josh Miller shot found him just yards from goal, before he impeded Hartas after two County defenders made desperate attempts to scramble the ball away.
The impressive Jack Stelling then did excellently to pirouette away from the County midfield and lay the ball on a plate for Kay’s best chance of the match, but he shot straight at the keeper.
Fylde will rue their missed chances in this game, as Kay miscued a half volley from a corner before both Miller and Adam Senn missed guilt edge chances to put Fylde in front. Miller fired over from 10 yards out after the best move of the game saw Stelling and Briggs combine to pick him out, but he couldn’t convert. Senn then missed the best chance of the match from 5 yards out with the goal at his mercy but totally miscued Miller’s cross.
County offered little threat going forward and their only two noteworthy efforts both fell to Duncan Beckwith with ambitious distance efforts.
The game finally kicked into life late in the first half, when Jack Stelling turned elegantly and threaded a lovely through ball for Billy Crow, who took the ball around the onrushing Hartas. Crow fell to ground, and the referee adjudged that there had been contact and Adamson made no mistake from the spot, putting his side in front with a well hit penalty.
In the second half the players were greeted by a swirling wind which made conditions even more difficult and again the start was scrappy with neither side carving out any clear cut chances.
However, two substitutions turned the game on its head with the introductions of Andrew Wells and Ignacio Diego. County had offered little threat going forward but the substitutions gave some much needed pace to the team.
Fylde still had chances to win the game, Crow having the chance to wrap the game up after a defensive lapse in the County back line, but he fired straight at Hartas.
County were then denied a penalty of their own after Wells knocked the ball past Schofield and appeared to be taken out by the keeper as he did. They didn’t have to wait long though and they soon had their penalty, when Wells used his pace to skip down the wing and his cross towards Greg Galloway saw the county player sandwiched by two Fylde defenders. Joel Watson stepped up to the spot and levelled the game, smashing in an emphatic penalty, sending Schofield the wrong way.
From then on it was one way traffic, Gammie fired a shot wide from a tight angle, then Wells fired a shot at the keeper’s legs from the tightest of angles after some fine play from Ignacio Diego.
The Spaniard then snatched victory for County in the final minute of the match. A Fylde corner was cleared at the edge of the box by Andrew Wells whose clearance was latched onto by Diego on the halfway line. Touching the ball in to space, Diego left the two Fylde defenders in his wake as he flew past them before slotting the ball easily past the onrushing Schofield, completing a memorable smash and grab victory for County A’s.