Old Blackburnians Football Club 90 Years Anniversary

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2nd XI Season Review

Mission accomplished. 

We have gained promotion for the second year in a row, even though I'm a little dissapointed not to have won the league.
We finished the season really strongly, and only conceeded one goal in our last 4 games, winning the last 7 league games.
We also have a proud record of going unbeaten at home in the league this season, dropping only 2 points.

We reverted back to a 4-4-2 system for the last half a dozen games, meaning less goals conceeded, but maybe it meant less goals scored? I am also proud of the fact we only conceeded 26 goals, and finished with a plus 57 goals difference.

With a little luck we could easily have been champions!

We were 2-0 up at half time against Horwich, but conceeded an equaliser in the 92nd minute. We were also 2-1 up at Little Lever, and conceeded with the last kick of the game, to drop 2 points.

We also had our own fair share of luck, equalizing in the last minute against Rossendale, and scoring the winner in the dying minutes away against Radcliffe. We were also a little lucky to win on Monday night, after a great move down our right wing produced a perfect cross from Elliot Guinan, right on to Brad Langhorns head, and into the corner of the net, with only seconds left in the game.

Everyone's played their part this season, including 6 different goal keepers!!!

I am really proud of this young team, and feel sure that if we can stick together, we will keep improving, and have some great times to come in the future.
I look forward to our clubs presentation evening, where individual performances can be recognised in more detail, and we can enjoy looking back at another good season.

Dave Fielding
Old Blacks Reserve Team Manager

2nd XI Vs Radcliffe Boys (Home)

Old Blacks Reserves 3 - 0 Radcliffe Boys

It's now down to the last 3 games after a good solid performance against a decent Radcliffe side. Three wins should see us promoted, unless old Mancunians manage to go and score more than 20 goals in their last 2 games!!
We went into this game with a team barely recognisable from the starting line up from the beginning of the season. In came Russell Gallagher and Rob McClure from the 1st team, due to them having no game this weekend, and a debut for William Clague at right back. We had Ollie Hyde and Mick Holmes on the bench.
I was hoping I would only have to use one of them?

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We started strongly, playing a 4-4-2, with Brad Morris going into the centre half position along with skipper Mark Feeney.
We soon started creating chances, and went one up through Alistair Lofthouse. Rob McClure went through on goal, rounded the keeper and laid the ball back to Alistair, but unfortunately the ball was played behind him, and was partly cleared - but not far enough. Rob got the ball back and played a lovely pass into Alex Boardman, who then played Alistair in on goal. This time Alistair placed the ball beyond the keeper to make it 1-0. We were soon two up, after the ball fell to Alex Boardman on the edge of the area, and he drilled the ball under the keeper.
We had more chances to score but went in 2-0 at half time.
James Halsall was running the game in midfield, and we were playing solid right through the team. The 2nd half was less eventful, and we finally finished the game off after Alistair Lofthouse was put through with 5 minutes to go, and he finished well, when one on one with the keeper.
We looked solid at the back, with will Clague impressive at right back. He slotted in well and worked the ball down the right and side along with Russell Gallagher
Well done everyone. With 7 or 8 lads missing the team still managed to play well and worked as a unit.

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2nd XI Vs Howe Bridge Mills Res (Home)

Old Blacks Reserves 3 - 1 Howe Bridge Mills Reserves

We were up against one of the lower placed teams in the league, but our performance would need to be up on the last game we played.
We don't seem to be playing well, but we keep winning. That's not a bad sign, and with a month umtil our next match, 3 points were welcomed.
We started strongly, and we could easily have been a couple of goals up in the first 15 minutes. As it happened, Howe Bridge took the lead, with what was their first real attack. A foul was conceded just outside our penalty area, and Ross Wilson was given no chance, from a well taken free kick.

We were soon level though, after the skipper Mark Feeney smashed the ball home from a corner.

We then went 2-1 up before half time, when Rick McGuirty scored a well taken goal, running through on goal and scoring from 10 yards out.
We dominated the rest of the game, and finished Howe Bridge off with a goal of the season contender from Kieron Lascowski. He received the ball around 40 yards from goal, saw the keeper off his line, and connected with the ball perfectly. The ball sailed over the keeper, and with one bounce the ball hit the back of the net to make it 3-1, and game over.

Not a great performance, but again we rolled up our sleeves and did what was needed.

With Old Mancunians slipping up in their latest game, it now means it's up to us. We have to win our last 4 games, and barring Old Mancunians smashing 25 goals in their last 2 games, we would then be promoted.

Four cup finals to come. Are we up for it???

2nd XI Vs Radcliffe Boys (Away)

Radcliffe Boys 1 - 2 Old Blacks Reserves

One word to describe this win, and that word is Lucky.
We went into the game on the back of an 8-0 win over Hesketh, but we certainly didn't take any form into the game.
Anyone watching the 2nd half would have thought Radcliffe were higher up in the league than us. To be fair to the lads, they never gave up, and when we needed a goal they went and got one.
The pitch was very narrow, and didn't suit the way we like to play, but we bossed the 1st half and went in 1-0 up through a well taken penalty from Brad Langhorn, after Elliot Guinan was fouled inside the area. We did have plenty of possession and several good chances to kill the game off in the 1st 45 minutes, the best chance created by Kieron Lascowski from a corner. The ball fell to him, only 5 yards out, and with his back to goal, Kieron back heeled the ball but somehow the keeper tipped his effort over the bar.

Into the 2nd half, and I expected Radcliffe to tire, because they had no substitues, but it was the complete opposite, as they took the game to us. With 10 minutes to go, and the opposition having plenty of possession, I still felt we were going to win 1-0, until a long ball was missed on the edge of the penalty area by Mark Feeny (the one guy you would bet your mortgage on to clear) allowing the ball to bounce once, then somehow hit the ground, and roll along the floor and into the net - a real fluke of a goal.

At this point I couldn't see us getting back in front, and the lads looked over at me for guidance, but I hadn't a clue if I'm being honest. Then Brad Morris came over to me and said take me off and stick Alistair lofthouse back on up front. There was no argument, he was 100% right.

With only a minute to go, we did something we hadn't done for almost all the 2nd half, and that was to get the ball out wide. Ryan Duncan picked the ball up just outside our own area, and hit a superb 40 or so yard pass out to Rick Mcguirty on the left wing. Rick then carried the ball towards the penalty area, and crossed in towards the back post, were Brad langhorn was on hand to bundle the ball into net. The Radcliffe players claimed off side, but the ref signalled a goal.

The restart was the last kick of the game, and for once we got the little bit of luck that we could have done with in some of our earlier games of the season. Unfortunately for us Horwich Victoria lost to Old Mancunians, meaning automatic promotion is now out of our own hands.
Let's hope Old Mancunians slip up in one of there remaining 4 games?

2nd XI Vs Hesketh Casuals Res (Away)

Hesketh Casuals Reserves 0 - 8 Old Blacks Reserves

After being well beaten by Horwich in our last game, we needed not only to win, but we also needed to get some confidence back with a good performance.

We had a few players out, but still went over to Southport with a strong squad.We had Olie Hyde making his 1st start, and also Kyle Haggan, who is now back playing on Saturday's.We got to the ground before most of the home team had even turned up, and after speaking to the manager, and couple of the Hesketh players, it was obvious they were struggling for a team.

We started the game against 10 men, and could have easily been a goal up in the first minute. Brad Langhorn went through one on one with the keeper, but shot wide. After about 10 minutes a corner was met by Alex boardman 5 yards out but he somehow managed to head wide, when it seemed much easier to score.We finally went one up, after Alistair Lofthouse poked the ball home from close range, and soon two up after Elliot Guinan seemed to cross the ball, but somehow the ball ended up in the corner of the net. Olie Hyde then went off injured, and Heskeths 11th man turned up, so it was now even numbers on the pitch.

Andre Veniziale then came off for James Halsall for the last 15 mins of the first half.

We did finish the 1st half three goals up, after a high ball from Jordan Fielding was knocked back into his own goal by the keeper, after he allowed the ball to go through his hands, and despite a last ditch effort from the defender, the ball ended up in the net. The goals panel (me!) finally awarded the goal to Jordan.

We started the 2nd half strongly, but our keeper, Lewis Kent, was starting to get frustrated at the lack of match action. However, he soon did have to deal with a long ball played through to their striker, who found himself through on goal. Lewis came out of his area, missed the ball completely, but took the player out. Thankfully he was going away from goal, and there were covering defenders, otherwise it could have been us playing with 10 men!!.

The goals then soon started going in. Brad Langhorn scored a couple of well taken goals both from the edge of the area. Alistair Lofthouse got his second, after nodding the ball into the net, after his shot rebounded off the keeper.

Jordan Fielding scored a second, then completed his hat trick. His final goal was just downright cheeky, after the ball fell to his feet 5 yards out, with his back to goal, then he somehow flicked the ball into the top right corner of the net, without hardly moving.To be fair to Hesketh they carried on trying, and their experienced (my age) keeper, who is also the manager, pulled off 7 or 8 great saves, keeping the score below double figures.
A clean sheet and 8 goals. Well done everyone involved

2nd XI Vs Horwich St Marys Victoria Reserves (Away)

Horwich St Mary's Victoria Reserves 3 - 0 Old Blacks Reserves

Sometimes you have to hold your hand up and accept when you’re second best, and this was one of those days.
It started badly by us going to the wrong ground, due to the incorrect postcode being on the league website.

I knew, when we finally turned up at the right place that Horwich were up for this game. They have an impressive set up, and they were already on the pitch doing there drills etc when we turned up half changed, with less than half an hour to kick off.

Onto the game, and I feel that I have to take some of the blame for the defeat, because we were not set up right to start with, and also not prepared for what was to come.
Straight from the kick off Horwich were at us and moving the ball wide quickly. The 1st goal came after a ball in the box landed at Lewis Fielding’s feet. Lewis took a touch when the ball should have been cleared first time. The touch allowed their forward to nip in and tap the ball home from 5 yards out.

We soon went 2 down, after a harmless looking ball from outside the area, landed in between 2 defenders, and onto the Horwich players head, and into the top corner of our net. I felt for the first time in a few years that we were heading for a big defeat. The lads were down, and little arguments were starting to be heard around the pitch.

Somehow we held out till half time without conceding. If we had gone in 5 down I couldn't have complained.

A few honest words at half time were needed, and a response from the lads would have to be instant, and it soon became apparent that Horwich had thrown everything at us in the 1st half. We now looked the stronger team, and although we never dominated them totally, I realised that I just didn't set us up right. They were no better than us, they just were more organised in the first half, and wanted it more. If someone had walked up and not seen the 1st half they would not have believed we were 2-0 down, and been lucky not to be more goals behind.

Both Rick Mcguirty and Guiny were getting more of the ball down the wings, and we were creating chances. We pushed, but didn't really have enough to break Horwich down, but we did show we were up near the top of the league for a reason.

Horwich killed the game off, when we lost possession in the middle of the pitch, and a through ball allowed the striker to go past Mark Smith on the edge of the area and tap in. Horwich had a couple more chances, but a mixture of good keeping, and solid defending, kept them out.

Thankfully the whole team showed real character in the 2nd half, and restored some pride. We have to remember that we are a very young team, and that will only improve if we stick together.

2nd XI Vs Radcliffe Town Reserves (Away)

Radcliffe Town Reserves 0 - 2 Old Blacks Reserves

This was our 1st game for over a month, and we needed to win to keep the pressure on Old Mancunians for 2nd place. It now looks like Horwich have wrapped up top position. We had a full squad and I had to leave a few players out, so there could be no excuses if we had lost.
The game was a tight affair, with not many chances, probably due to lack of match fitness, and maybe over indulging over Christmas and New Year?
The 1st half was easily forgettable, and neither team really deserving to go in to the break in front.
We felt that we should have had a penalty for handball, but the ref disagreed. I complained, and was told I would be sent off if I swore again.
We did have a free kick in a good position, but Andre Veniziale was lucky to reach the keeper with a weak shot. Maybe I should have let Brad Langhorn to take the free kick?

I made one substitution before half time, bringing on Alex Boardman, for the either injured, or knackered, Rick Mcguirty. I'm still not sure which one he was?
The team played just ‘ok’, and was doing enough to hold Radcliffe, whilst playing within themselves. To be fair the pitch wasn't helping, it was a bit of a glue pot and it made it difficult for players to turn with the ball.

The second half started much the same, but was brought to life with an excellent goal. Mark Feeney headed the ball out of defence, and from the clearance the ball was played into Jordan Fielding around the half way line, he picked the ball up and started to run at the defence, Elliot Guinan ran from our own penalty box, and like s@#t off a shovel he flew past Jordan and shouted for the ball. Jordan played a one two with Guiny, receiving the ball just outside the penalty area, and first time shot was drilled into the right hand corner of the net, giving Jordan an impressive 9th goal in 9 games.

After about an hour, the referee gave Radcliffe a controversial penalty. Mark Feeney made a tackle in the box, which was ignored by the referee, but after the player who was tackled got up, managed to win the ball back, beat 2 defenders, then get a shot at goal, the ref decided to change his mind and blow for the penalty. The advantage rule did seem rather prolonged, and to say the lads were stunned by the decision would be an understatement. Ryan Duncan went to the referee and questioned his decision, obviously a little too long for the ref's liking, as he decided to send Ryan off for telling him it was a poor decision.

Anyway, the penalty was a poor one, and after Lewis Kent saved the kick, he then managed to dive on the ball at the 2nd attempt. I then foolishly pointed to the heavens and shouted that someone up there was watching over us. The referee spotted me doing this, came over and sent me off. I asked him if I was given the red card for sarcasm, but he refused to give me any reason. Ryan and myself had to watch the last half an hour of the game from the top of a small hill around 200 yards away.

We went to a 4-4-1 formation, and from where I was watching we continued to control the game, and deserved to go 2 goals up. A neat move in the penalty area saw Andre Veniziale receiving the ball, turning 2 men, and laying the ball into James Halsall, to tap home and secure the victory. We shuffled the team round continuously for the last 15 minutes allowing everyone to work there socks off, defended strong and kept the ball well in the opposition's half. Not the best football performance, but perhaps our best team performance.

Well done lads. A good win against tough opposition. Hard to single out any one player, but Elliot Guinan possibly played he's best game of the season so far, and long may Jordan Fielding’s scoring streak continue.
Dave (red card) Fielding

2nd XI Vs Rochdale St Clements A (Home)

Old Blacks Reserves 4 - 1 Rochdale St Clements

Another strong second half performance from the lads, and another 3 points, keeps the pressure on Old Mancunians for the 2nd place. It's still in our own hands to get promoted, but we have to keep winning.

We started slowly and Rochdale were causing us a few problems at the back. Rochdale had the 1st real chance after Brad Morris hacked down one of their players on the edge of the area. Fortunately the free kick was poor, however we soon went a goal behind, after a decent move by Rochdale was finished off, giving Lewis Kent in goal no chance. That was what we needed to wake us up, and from the moment they scored we took hold of the game and dominated.

I was about to make a substitution, when we levelled. Following a good move, Jordan Fielding finished off well, scoring his seventh goal in seven games, by way of the post.

We continued to press, and I brought on the big man, Mark Feeney, at the back, for the last 10 minutes of the half. Mark came on with a point to prove, after starting on the bench for the 1st time for years, and he settled everything down straight away. We were on top but went into the break level.

I changed things around at half time, putting Brad Morris on in his usual holding role, and pushing Andre Veniziale onto the wing, giving Rick ‘peaky’ McGurty a break.

Again we dominated, and soon went ahead after some slick passing down the right hand side, started by Elliot Guinan, and finished off well by Alistair Lofthouse, going past the defender and poking the ball in to the corner of net.
We were starting to go through the gears, and Rochdale where tiring, and starting to get on each other backs. Kieron Laskowski came off with cramp, and on came Rick McGurty for the last 20 mins. We went 3-1 up after another great move down the right, led to a cross towards the far post, which was superbly finished off by Andre Veniziale, striking the ball into the top corner.

It was soon 4-1, with another classy finish from Andre, chipping the ball over the keeper from outside the area. We could, and should, have doubled our goal tally, but some poor finishing, especially from ‘peaky’ Rick, meant it finished 4-1. Rick somehow managed to head over from under the bar, take a ball on his chest and shoot over from 5 yards out, go through one on one with the keeper and shoot wide, and also managed to miss an easy tap in. Otherwise he had a great game!!!
The last 10 to15 minutes was a pleasure to watch, and was only possible because of the hard work in the first hour of the game.

Some excellent performances.

Lewis Kent has been a great addition in goal, and his distribution and communication is what we were looking for.
The young back line was a made stronger by the return of Mark Feeney, allowing Brad Morris to sit in front, and mop up behind the hard working goal machine Jordan Fielding and Kieron Lascowski. (Some goals needed from Kie now though??)
We have 2 of the best wingers in the league, in Elliot Guinan and Rick McGurty, and a few more goals from them both would be superb. Up front Alistair Lofthouse and Brad Langhorn are a constant threat, and once they realise each other’s strengths and weaknesses, they will score even bags more goals. Ollie Hyde is being patient on the bench, and probably needs a good hour under his belt to really feel like he's contributing. Hopefully he will get a chance soon?

Well done everyone, let's see how we do this weekend with another tough game coming up, against 4th placed Thornleigh.

2nd XI Vs Old Boltonians 'A' (Away)

Old Boltonians 1 - 4 Old Blacks Reserves

After a few weeks with no game, and our last game providing us with one of our poorest performances so far this season, it was important we went over
to Old Boltonians and played somewhere near our best. With Old Bolts lying 4th,
I hoped we knew we would have to be up for it.

When we got to the ground there was still some areas frozen, but I sensed from the lad’s body language, and the way they were chatting to each other, that they really seemed up for it.
Everything seemed relaxed, and even I was enjoying my afternoon over the hills of Turton.

We started brightly and pressured Old Bolts from the kick off, leading to an early mistake from one of their defenders, making him pass back to the keeper, but he hadn’t seen Brad Langhorn waiting for him to make the mistake. Brad cooly took the ball and slipped it past the keeper to make it 1-0.

We kept the pressure up, and went 2-0 up after the stand in skipper, Jordan Fielding, picked the ball up near the half way line, and went on one his crazy runs. He beat a couple of men, and shot from 10 yards outside the area. The ball easily beat the keeper ending up in the left hand corner of net.

We had the better of the 1st half, with some good defending from our back 3 of Brad Morris, Eathan Potter and Lewis Fielding. Not one of these lads are 20 years old yet, and with the 18 year old Lewis Kent making his debut in goal, it gives me great satisfaction to see them play so well, and gel together.

We went with a 3-5-2 formation, with Andre Veniziale playing the holding role very well.

We went into the 2nd half with both subs, Ollie Hyde and James Halshaw, coming on. Old Bolts then pulled a goal back. A long through ball found their striker, who converted with a good finish, lobbing the ball over Lewis Kent, giving him no chance.

We then went 3-1 up through Elliot Guinan, who picked up the ball on the left, and then drove the ball from the left hand side of the area in to the bottom right hand corner of the net.

The game was then killed off with just 5 minutes to go, after a mistake on the half way line allowed James Halshaw to take the ball off the defender, and run 30 yards into the area, and neatly slide the ball past the keeper. A great performance from this young team. It was also great to have Rick McGuirty back - hopefully we can keep him on the pitch?

Well done to everyone involved, it was a pleasure, and it made the beer taste a little better Saturday night.

2nd XI Vs Old Mancunians Reserves (Away)

Old Mancunians Reserves 3 - 1 Old Blacks Reserves

What a difference a week makes. After a solid performance, and result against Rossendale, we went over to Manchester and gave arguably our worst performance since I took over. That is not taking anything away from Old Mancunians performance, as they were the better team on the day.

We just didn't do the basics right, and spent most of the game bickering at each other, and that included me.

We now have to learn from this and also get back to enjoying our footy.

The game started as I thought.  We kept the ball for the first 5 or 10 minutes, knocking it around. Old Mancs just couldn't get near us, but for some
reason we then felt we had to start knocking the ball long, allowing Old Mancs to get the ball and attack us. We conceded around 10 minutes before half time, after an attempted cross, managed to turn into a direct shot into the far top corner of the net. We could have had gone in 2-1 up after a couple of one on ones for Brad Langhorn were saved well by their keeper.

After a few strong words at half time, we came out strong again, and after 5 minutes of possession, and a great attacking move, Alistair Lofthouse chipped the ball neatly over the oncoming keeper to draw us level. At that point I should have changed the formation and made us more solid, but I didn't, and this soon cost us.

We conceded 2 quick goals, one from a long ball, which beat our offside trap, and allowed their left winger to go through one on one, and slip the ball home. Then a mistake from skipper Mark Feeney allowed the Old Mancs forward to run through, chip our keeper, and score in off the post. After that we fell apart, and couldn't get our game back on. I could single out a number of players for things that were bad, or negative, but I'm going to choose instead to move on.
We are a good team, but we now have to show it in the next game at home to Howe Bridge.

Hoping we will all pull together on Saturday.

2nd XI Vs Rossendale FC Reserves (Home)

Old Blacks Reserves 3 - 1 Rossendale FC Reserves

With half the season gone we now had a good idea of what the opposition were going to be like. After a somewhat lucky draw away to Rossendale in the1st game of the season, and also knowing that they tend to get stronger as the season goes on, I knew we would have to be ready, and also have to be up forthis game.

The game started at a fast pace, and it was Rossendale who seemed to be playing the better football and dealing with the soft pitch. We seemed to be slipping a lot and giving the ball away cheaply.

Ryan Duncan made 2 great goal line clearances to enable us to go into the break level. I felt Rossendale had possibly played to their full potential, and that we would have more to offer in the second half. Again, like the week before, we changed things around slightly, moving Brad Morris further forward, and straight away we could see the difference. We immediately stopped their supply from midfield, and took the game by the scruff of the neck.

After a great move around the penalty area, Brad Langhorn struck the ball against the post, but thankfully Elliot Guinan was there to knock the rebound home for 1-0. We were then soon 2 up, after Jordan Fielding picked the ball up in his own half, drove forward, and then passed the ball into Rob Mclures feet. Rob neatly flicked the ball through for Jordan to run onto, who finished off well, slipping the ball past the keeper from the edge of the area. 5 goals in 4 games for Jordan Fielding. The inform striker at the moment.
Watch that gap
Brad Langhorn!!

Elliot Guinan soon had his second, after a great move found the ball at Rob Mclures feet again, and never a man to do the simple things, Rob managed to dribble round five men, before laying off a perfect pass, for Guiny to bend the ball home into to the far corner. A great goal. 3-0 and game over. 

Rossendale did manage to pull a goal back, but we never seemed in any real danger.

The defence stood firm and two superb saves from Ross Wilson made sure we took the 3 points.

We could have had more goals, but both Brad Langhorn and Rob Mclure shot over the bar from close range, after doing all the hard work.

A good solid 2nd half performance. Next up 3rd placed Old Mancunians away.

2nd XI Vs Hesketh Casuals Res (Home)

Old Blacks Reserves 7 - 1 Hesketh Casuals Reserves

After three games without a win, a game against the bottom of league was our chance to get some confidence back, and also bag a few goals.

October had been a tough month, but this was our chance to put it all behind us. We were down to 12 men, due to injuries and lads away, but I was more than happy with the 12 which we had.

The game started how I expected, with us dominating early on, but we needed a goal to settle the nerves, and after we missed a couple of chances early on, Alex Boardman went on one of his crazy runs into the box, only to be brought down for a penalty. Brad Langhorn grabbed the ball and neatly slotted home.

Open up the flood gates I was thinking, but the first half was passing by quickly, and we were missing chances. Brad Langhorn had two one on ones with the keeper, but the keeper saved well with one of them, and Brad shot wide with the other.

The lads started to get a little frustrated, and mistakes were starting to creep in, and even though Hesketh were playing to their maximum, I still felt confident we would go on and win.

Then with less than ten minutes to half time a rare mistake from Andre Veniziale allowed a Hesketh player to pick up the ball in midfield and play the ball through to their forward to poke the ball home.

Half time came, and there were some unhappy chaps trudging off the pitch.

We had a constructive half time team talk, and the lads seemed to realise that their tactics would have to change in the second half. We decided to look to move the ball quicker into the final third, recognising that their weakness was in defence.

The difference was instant, and we were soon camped out in and around the Hesketh penalty area. Somehow we manage to not find the net, after around 5 or 6 chances in one attack. We managed to hit the bar, the post, a defender on the line and god know what else, but we finally went 2-1 up, after the ball found its way to skipper Mark Feeney, to blast home.

Goals then came quickly, as Hesketh started to crumble. The lads had dragged them all over the pitch, and with no subs Hesketh were fast running out of steam.

Brad Langhorn grabbed his hat-trick, and could have had more, Brad Morris and Jordan Fielding both scored well taken goals, drilling in from the edge of the area. Ollie Hide scored an eye catching goal, after running into the penalty area to volley home from a cross.

In the end we scored seven, and but for the Hesketh keeper, who was no spring chicken, we could have had double figures easily.

The keeper came over to me at the end of the game, and complimented the lads, saying we were the best footballing team he had seen this season.

That little compliment means a lot to me, and coming from the opposition may seem like nothing, but it’s why I enjoy running this young team so much, and gives me great confidence for the future.

Tough game up next against third placed Rossendale. Hopefully we will be ready and up for it?

2nd XI Vs Horwich St Marys Victoria Reserves (Home)

Old Blacks Reserves 2 - 2 Horwich St Marys Victoria Reserves

We needed to bounce back after the undeserved defeat away to Bolton Lads the week before, so maybe coming up against the top of the league wasn't the best game for us up next?

This was going to be a harder game than the previous week, and we were going to have to play to our full potential to get something out of the game.

We had a few injuries, with Brad longhorn, our top scorer, out, and we also had Jamie Robertson, who had been banging the goals in, injured, so I had to change things around up front.

I decided to stick with our normal 3-5-2 formation, opting for Jordan Fielding and Rick McGurty up top, and boy did it start well. We were two goals up by half time.

The first goal came from a lovely through ball from Mark Feeney, allowing Jordan Fielding to run through, beat the offside trap, and slide the ball in past the keeper from the edge of the area. We had another chance soon after, when again Jordan Fielding went through one on one, but his chip over the keeper went just wide of the goal.

We did eventually go two nil up just before half time, when a free kick taken by Andre Veniziale, from just inside the Horwich half, was knocked high into the penalty area, for Alex Boardman to outjump their keeper and head home from a couple of yards out.

Unfortunately we also had all three substitutes on the pitch well before half time, due to more injuries, meaning that there would be nobody to bring on in the second half, if anyone was to run out of steam.

We deserved to be ahead at half time in my opinion, against a quality team, which we were not allowing to play the football they normally do. Believe me, they were glad to hear the half time whistle more than we were!

Horwich came out in the second half and threw everything they had at us, going with three forwards, and it soon paid off for them with an early well worked goal. Coming down our right hand side, a cross was put into the box, and a simple tap in at the far post, for an easy goal, meant it looked like being a long 40 or so minutes.

We changed formation to 4-4-2 and coped well for the next half an hour, and even though Horwich were on top, we had our chances on the break to kill them off. In the end we just seemed to run out of steam, allowing Horwich to equalise around the 90th minute, with an headed goal from a corner, after we left their forward unmarked in the penalty area.

That was the last action, and a draw was a fair result in the end.

We had James Porter in goal for the first time, and after his performance I would have no hesitation in asking to play for us again. He made a couple of excellent saves, and his handling and kicking were very good.

2nd XI Vs Bolton Lads Club (Away)

Bolton Lads Club 1 - 0 Old Blacks Reserves

Well it's definite, Bolton Lads Club are definitely our bogie team. After losing to them 3 times last season, I felt we could go there and get a result. Unfortunately it never turned out that way.

Overall I felt that we were the better team, even though we didn't really get our game together for the first hour or so, we still played the better football, and created more chances.

The game was starting to become a little frustrating, but just as we seemed to be getting on top they went in front, with what turned out to be the winning goal.

Bolton Lads won the ball on the edge of their penalty area, and then hit the ball long and out wide, the ball was then taken almost to the bye line by their winger, who crossed in for their forward to nip in front of Mark Feeney, and somehow the ball deflected in to the goal past Ross Wilson.

After the goal Ross only had to make one good save to make, down to his right, but everything else was from long range and straight at him.

So where do I start with our chances? Our first real big chance came when Kieran Laskowski slipped a nice ball through for Brad Langhorn to go one on one with the keeper, but Brad put his shot wide when it seemed he would go on and score. Then Jordan Fielding made a strong run into the box, and sent a thunderbolt shot against the underside of the bar, only to see it bounce down on the wrong side of the goal line and away to safety. Olie Hide then somehow managed to head wide from a pin point cross, when he was around a yard out, and under the crossbar, with the keeper nowhere near him.

Mark Feeney then headed against the underside of the bar in last minute, only to watch the ball drop down in front of the net, with none or our lads close enough to tap the ball in.

We did have other chances to score but in the end we have to just accept it wasn't our day. We will play worse and win games, that’s how football goes!

Next game up is 1st v 2nd, and a chance for us to bounce straight back.

Dave

2nd XI Vs Radcliffe Town Res (Home)

Old Blacks Reserves 4 - 1 Radcliffe Town Reserves

Its a little hard to judge this performance because of the early sending off, but I would have taken 4-1 result before we kicked off!

Two early goals from Jamie Robertson not only settled us down but showed that Radcliffe were going to struggle with the movement from Brad Langhorn and Jamie up front. Our 1st goal came really early, when a through ball was missed by the defender, allowing Jamie to run through and slot home past the keeper.

We soon went two up, after a couple of top saves from their keeper saw the ball fall to Jordan Fielding, who was then tripped up before he had chance to score. Jamie then coolly slotted home from the spot.

Then came the sending off. I didn't see the actual foul, but from the reaction of some of our players, and the look on Sam Dixons face, I feared a red card was coming. Apparently Alistair Lofthouse went through the opposition player, and it looked a little nasty.  

We were going to have to shuffle things around with over an hour to go, but before we even had chance to do anything we scored again, with Jamie Robertson completing his hat-trick. After asking the ref if he could take a quick free kick 25 yards out, he waited for the ref to reply yes, and blow his whistle, he then chipped the ball over the wall into the unguarded net, while Radcliffe's keeper stood trying to organise his defence.

We kept the score to 3-0 till the half time break.

Anyone watching would not have known we only had 10 men, the work put in by everyone was superb.

We soon made it 4-0 early in the second half, after Brad Langhorn was put through, he took a touch, then chipped the keeper from around 25 yards out.

Radcliffe did pull a consolation goal back, after Ross Wilson made a good save, only to see the ball drop to the Radcliffe striker, who prodded home their consolation.

Both teams could have scored again but in the end it was a fair result.

Well done to everyone involved. Next game up we will be looking to gain revenge over Bolton Lads?

2nd XI Vs Mostonians (Away)

Mostonians 1 - 2 Old Blacks

After 4 months without a game due to the weather, the Reserves finally got back to playing and winning!! A solid team performance with good energy levels, attitude and commitment saw us deservedly win a game that saw few chances for either team.  Every player was committed when we didn’t have the ball resulting in a solid defensive display with Ross Wilson dealing with everything that came his way in goal. The starting XI saw Adam Catlow and Shane Wakefield both play for the first time this season for the club, with both having impressive performances.  Tommy Kay moved to central midfield and had arguably his best performance of the season.  The first half was a relatively even game with little in the way of chances.  Tommy Kay, Ryan Bray & Adam Catlow were dominant in the central midfield battle, with Marcus Grendall and Kyle Haggan working hard in the wing back positions and providing good defensive cover. Unfortunately Ryan Bray’s glass ankle couldn’t take anymore after 30 mins, so a change had to be made with him being replaced by forward Tom Lawes and Joe Reed having to drop back into midfield.  Just after this change saw the first major piece of action.  Moston got a cross in from our left hand side and after pinball in the box, their centre forward decided to fall over Ross and claim for a penalty.  Despite the Moston players being excited about this and yelping in high pitched screams, the ref wasn’t impressed and waved play on. Old Blacks then had a couple of half chances with Catlow shooting just over on both occasions.  The deadlock was finally broken just before half time.  After good work down our left hand side, Shane Wakefield turned with the ball and drove into the box – being stopped by what can only be described as a ‘Clumsy’ challenge, leaving the ref no option but to point to the spot.  Captain John Root coolly dispatched the penalty – sending the keeper the wrong way.  HT 1-0 Old Blacks

The second half started with Moston increasing their pressure on us but without creating anything.  However they did find an equaliser after roughly 15 mins.  Kyle Haggan was caught in possession on the left hand side just outside our penalty area and gave away a free kick.  Our defence Dropped too deep before the kick was taken which allowed the in swinging free kick to drop on our 6 yard box; and after a scramble the ball was blasted into our goal for 1-1. Heads did not drop however and we were back in front again less than 10 minutes later.  Catlow put in a great ball from the right which Wakefield controlled and smashed home from less than 10 yards out.  The score should have been 3-1 soon after when Grendall sent over a superb cross that the unmarked Lawes headed at the keeper. Moston pushed 3 upfront and threatened to break behind our defence, however a change to 4-4-2 quickly nullified this and created plenty of space for us in the wide positions.  We were denied a third goal by the referee when Catlow’s superb curling effort hit the metal bar in the goal holding the netting together and bounced out.  The referee said that the ball had hit the post and allowed play to continue. 

The remainder of the match saw Moston try to attack in numbers, but a solid defensive display limited them to just 1 shot on target that Wilson saved comfortably whilst we looked dangerous on the counter attack.  FT 2-1 Old Blacks

Team (3-5-2) Ross Wilson; John Root (C), Peter Berry, Paul Heckingbottom; Marcus Grendall, Ryan Bray, Tommy Kay, Adam Catlow, Kyle Haggan; Shane Wakefield, Joe Reed Subs: Tom Lawes (for Bray, 30 Mins), Lee Lawrenson, Philip Woodford (both unused)

Man of the Match – Tommy Kay (Great performance defensively, looked a threat going forward with superb commitment and energy levels. Dominated the midfield)

1st XI Vs Bolton Wyresdale (Home)

SUPER SUB GAVIN STRIKES HAT-TRICK AS FIRST TEAM GET BACK TO WINNING WAYS 

The First Team bounced back from losing to Blackrod Town with a convincing and professional 4-1 win against Bolton Wyresdale inspired by a hat-trick from substitute Tom Gavin.

The game was played on the QEGS’s pitches due to the 90th Anniversary Celebrations, with a lot of former Old Blackburnians players from the past watching, and despite missing good players like Chris Charnock, Jordan Rodgers, Nick Molyneaux and Carl Fletcher the squad showed the strength in depth and put in a very good performance.

The team started slowly and Bolton almost scored when their forward went clean through only for Kieran Dawe to save with his feet, but after the 20 minute mark the team started to settle. The lads created numerous half chances, mainly due to the superb crossing and passing from Matt Andrew before they eventually took the lead. Arron Phillipson played a lovely one two with Norman Bell, before taking on two defenders and the ball was laid off to Rob McClure who fired in superbly to the top corner from just inside the box. We created a few more chances but could not take them and went into half time with the one goal lead.

We started the second half strongly dominating from the start, we missed numerous chances to put the game to bed, but our lack of finishing and composure in front of goal was missing. It looked like it was going to be one of those days where our lack of killer instinct could cost us points, but then into the fray came substitute Tom Gavin. He made an instant impact putting a lovely ball through which Phillipson just couldn’t get onto the end of, but then came the period of the game were Tom scored a match winning hat-trick. His first was helped by the keeper, who should have done better, but none the less it was a rasping 30 yard drive, his second, again from outside the box, was beautifully struck in off the post, and then the hat trick goal, another similar to the second into the bottom corner from outside the box. The goals were more than we deserved and despite Dawe conceding a penalty late on which Bolton scored, the team went out comfortable 4-1 winners, in fact it could easily have been more. Just what was ordered and a brilliant result after the disappointment of the last game, and a very good, solid performance. Hopefully this will be the start of another long unbeaten run.

Team – Dawe, Walton, Andrew, Hodgkinson, Sim (Cap), Bell, M.Cranage, Mooney, Gallagher, Phillipson, McClure Subs – J.Cranage, Gavin, Berardi

Goalscorers – McClure, Gavin (3)

Man of the Match – Matt Andrew 

Special thanks goes to QEGS for allowing us to use the pitch it was much appreciated from everyone within the team.

3rd XI Vs Lymm (Away)

Lymm 1 - 3 Old Blacks 

The journey to Lymm was one filled with hopes, dreams and ambition, with a slight feeling of doubt, as when we set off the heavens were still open. We could hardly believe that after 3 months with no game that today it could finally be on. The lads rocked up ready to rumble but as we walked on to the away pitch our fears were confirmed, the only way to describe it would be comparing it to Shreks swamp, and an utter mud bath! We get ready anyway, but wait. No we don't! No socks and shorts! (Lewis Fielding) -  cheers to Lymm for loaning us the missing kit –an almighty mighty boo boo to say the least, after travelling 45 miles.
Luckily we had an exceptional referee who decide it was fit to play and that the river Ribble flowing across the pitch wasn't an issue. We knew today would be a tough fixture, as Lymm had beaten top of the league at home the week before! The game gets under way, we quickly realise today wasn't a day for fancy stuff and passing football. We decide to play a more direct style than our normal game, which was aided by Tommy Kay joining the side with a bit more prescience and physicality up top. It was a scrappy game to say the least, but we got the break through after a smart move wide on the left involving  Kyle Haggan and Tommy Kay, Following some neat one two stuff, Kyle delivered the ball in to the mixer and a cute finish from the egg man (Elliot Guinan) ! 1-0 hazaaar!
With the pitch being a nightmare fouls were occurring all over the pitch and we were under quite a bit of pressure. We conceded a cheap goal from a corner as we weren't switched on. 1-1 boo!
At half time manager Dave Fielding decided to motivate us after watching an end to end game, and told us to calm down, not mess with it, and get our heads on! Come on boys!
Not long in to the half, following a late challenge on Jordan Fielding, a free kick is given and Kyle Haggan picked up the ball and confidently said ‘we are bagging here’,  and we did. Fair play to the lad, he delivered a delicious ball, straight through the corridor of uncertainty and the keeper found himself in no man’s land, and a header flickerdin by posh Will! (Ainsworth) 2-1!
We then started to sit back a little, and received a lot of pressure for the last 15 minutes holding on for a result.  Lymm really wanted it but we weren't putting out. Not today. Lymm pushed everyone forward with a minute to go for a corner. The pressure was on. Mark Feeney’s towering header got it clear, but only as far as their winger on the edge of our penalty area, but a good clean a challenge from Jordan Fielding sent the ball to little Bradley (Langhorn), who carried it what must have been 80 yards at full pelt, with a passionate manager chasing, and almost over taking over him. Langhorn then played the ball square plays to Kieran Laskowski, who finished it tidily to make it 3-1 and the final whistle goes!
What a result! #COYOBADHD

 

Players Marks by Dave Fielding

Bradley Oliver - 8 Superb handling as always 

Mark Feeney - 8 A rock at the back and needed to be!

Will Ainsworth - 8 Ran his socks off and a well taken goal with his head

Jordan Fielding - 8 Worked hard for the team and a hand in the 3rd goal, played all over the park

Lewis Fielding - 8 Grew into the game and a strong 2nd half.

Paul Amos - 8 Another player who seems to get better as the game goes on,important player for us at the back now.

Elliot Guinan - 8 Agreat touch for the 1st goal and 100% effort as always for the team

Alex Boardman - 8 Fitted in well with the big Lug and a tidy performance

Keiron Lakowski - 8 Another goal and put in a shift for the team again

Kyle Haggan - 8 Worked well on the left and a hand in 2 goals, great left foot and would fit into this team

Tommy Kay - 8 Like kyle he fitted in well and worked his socks, off for the team

Subs

Matt Dewhurst - 8 Think he should take up boxing!! was starting to run rings round Lymm until he got his giggs broken

Brad Langhorn - 8 Always a threat and a pain for the opposition, great run and cross for the 3rd goal

I have Given all our player 8 just for turning up and playing in awful weather, and helping to bring the 3 points home!!!

3rd XI Vs Bolton Wyresdale (Home)

Old Blacks 6 - 0 Bolton Wyresdale 

I want to start off by saying a big thank you to QEGS, and the Old Blacks, for somehow managing to get both the first team and our game on after a week of horrible weather.
Old Blacks were celebrating their 90th anniversary, with some of past players coming down, and a buffet being organised for everyone after the games, so it would have been a shame to have had no football this weekend.
We welcomed Bolton Wyresdale Res, who seem to be having an hard time of it at the bottom of the table, but we still had a job to do because we knew that a win would keep the pressure on Horwich Victoria at the top of the league and it would also make it a full year unbeaten at home in the league.

We started ‘OK’ and had a few early chances to go ahead in the first ten minutes or so, but then we started to get a little frustrated and passes started going either to the opposition or through to their keeper, but we went in front after around 25 minutes after a cross in to the box from Rick McGurty was headed back over the keepers head from around the penalty spot by the Wyresdale centre half for an own goal.

We soon went two up after a shot was fumbled by the keeper allowing Jordan Fielding to sneak in and smash the ball in from close range.

We were now on top and you could sense that here we go again feeling coming from the Wyresdale lad’s body language, and they started to commit silly fouls and also started arguing with each other.
They did have one effort that needed Brad Oliver to pull off a great save, but after that he had little else to do for the rest of the afternoon. He did also have an assist for one goal.

Into the second half, and we soon killed the game off after a great run from Andre, cutting inside the box, then finished with an excellent shot into the top corner of the net, giving the keeper no chance. Minutes later a corner was powerfully headed home by skipper Mark Feeney, to make it 4-0.
Our best goal was scored by Elliot Guinan making it five. He picked up the ball outside the box, then beat two or three defenders, to go through and slot the ball past the advancing keeper.

A second own goal finished off the scoring but we really could and should have had more. A foul just inside the area gave us a penalty, but after the referee delayed it for minute or two, while booking more players, then Rick Mcgurty managed to nearly smash the upstairs window of one the houses high up behind the goals!
The game then became messy with Bolton having a man sent off and ended up having 3 or 4 lads booked, but in the end we kept a clean sheet, scored 6 and got the 3 points.

Note to everyone

Please can we make an effort to get there on time so the rest of the squad don't have to stand round waiting to warm up, and can we all make sure we don't turn up drunk in future. It was like I was looking at a drowned Rat watching Shutty in the second half!!

 

Players Marks

Brad Oliver - 8 Second clean sheet of the season, made one great save in the first half a spectator in the second half

Lewis Fielding - 7 Nervy first half but did much better after the break, needs a little more carrot and a bit less stick boys!

Paul Amos 8 - Another strong performance, started a little slow but got better as the game went on.

Mark Feeney 8 - Organised the defence well and worked well with Alex at the back. Not tested too much, scored yet again! Pleading to play up front, maybe one day?

Alex Boardman 8 - A good performance and becoming mister versatile able to play in any position, Great energy.

Andre Veneziale 8 - Another quality goal, great set balls in to the box and pushing for player of the season again

Will Ainsworth 7 - Never gives less than 100% and managed to hold on to the ball really well. Keeps on improving every week

Keiron Laskowski 7 - Now starting to see the best of Kie and forming a good partnership with Will, More goals please??

Rick Mcgurty 6 - Don't mention the penalty! Ran his sock off but just one of those days when things didn't come off.

Jordan Fielding 7 - Scored one and could have had a hat-trick, gives everything for the team and never gives up.

Elliot Guinan 7 - Scored a great goal showing composure but needs to work on passing and moving more, if he does this he will score even more goals.

Danny Shutt 5 – A generous 5, a shadow of his usual self, didn't do anything wrong but just looked and played like he was still drunk!

Will Johnson 6 - Came on at half time and fitted in well, seemed to be everywhere and nearly scored a screamer but for a great save from there keeper in the top corner

James Halshaw 6 - Great understanding with Will J and he also brought energy to the team

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