Old Blackburnians Football Club 90 Years Anniversary

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1st XI Match Reports

1st XI Vs Bolton Wyresdale (Home)


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.

1st XI Vs Blackrod Town (Away)


The first team came crashing down to earth with a bang after losing 4-2 away to Blackrod Town.

With what was a massive game for both teams, before kick- off we were in second place and Blackrod in third, the stakes were high for us to continue our unbeaten run. It was always going to be a difficult game, Blackrod in my mind were the best team we have played so far this season, and we played out an entertaining 4-4 draw at home on the opening game of the season.

Unfortunately it never happened. Blackrod totally dominated from the first whistle, they were strong, physical, moved the ball fast and were arguing every decision with the referee, clearly showing how up for it they were. The lads just could not respond and get themselves into the game. After several chances in the opening 15 minutes, Blackrod took the lead when their very talented centre forward looped a near post flick over the excellent Kieran Dawe. It could have been classed as lucky but I think it was a clever finish but we should have defended much better and should not have even allowed him the opportunity. The second goal was a bit of class from the same player, picking the ball up from about 30 yards out he produced a stunning chip over Kieran. Again though I look at how he was allowed the space and how we didn’t put enough pressure on to stop the ball getting to him. They followed that up with another goal to make it 3-0, the attacker completing a deserved hat-trick. In fairness to sum up the first half, we was out fought, out played and bullied, and it was in truth a disappointing performance. I take responsibility as manager, a formation change to cope with their domination 20 minutes in did not work and we are all in this together.

A half-time talking to (I tried to keep it as nice as possible!!!) and a change of formation and substitutions was made. The message ‘show everyone what you are really about’.

The response was fantastic we did everything me and Pete Cranage wanted from the start. We bullied, worked in numbers, passed the ball brilliantly, attacked and defended in numbers harassing every one of their players, we grabbed two much deserved goals from Rob McClure and Arron Phillipson, we had other chances to grab that equaliser and complete another amazing comeback but unfortunately it fizzled out with about 15 minutes to go, running out of steam because of the intensity we had shown. A couple of half chances was all we got before Blackrod killed the game off with virtually the last kick of the game. In truth on overall play this very good Blackrod team deserved all three points

All in all we as a team were disappointed, the second half showed what we were capable of, we made a very good team look average at times, but in fairness in the first half they made us look poor. But I was proud of the second half response. We all have bad halves and we are all guilty of complacency and like I pointed out, I made mistakes as a manager in the first half as well. Time to stick together and keep the brilliant team spirit going. The run comes to an end but it may be the kick to the backside that we needed to keep our feet on the ground and start another run and show us that we cannot turn up for the game and expect to win. At this level you need to earn your points- starting this Saturday at home to Ainsworth. Onwards and upwards.

Line-Up – Kieran Dawe, Russ Gallagher, Martin Sim, Nick Molyneaux, James Cranage (Matt Andrew 45), Mick Cranage, Nick Mooney, Norman Bell (Glenn Hodgkinson 45) Carl Fletcher, Arron Phillipson, Rob McClure.

Man of the Match – Russ Gallagher

Old Black’s 1st grind out important win against a resilient Prestwich

Team Line Up

1. Kieran Dawe                 8/10       Solid and commanded his Area

2. Daniel Walton               7/10       Untroubled on the right, comfortable

3. James Cranage            7/10       Dealt with a tricky winger well, nullified the threat

4. Nick Mollinuex              8/10       Stand in captain, Never looked like conceding

5. Martin Sim                    9/10       Won everything in the Air, commanded the back 4

6. Micky Cranage             8/10       Fought hard in the middle, solid and comfortable            

7. Tom Gavin                    8/10       Provided best bit of quality with a fine through ball. Assist

8. Nick Mooney                 8/10       Box to Box performance was unlucky not to get on score sheet

9. Rob Mclure                   9/10       Scored only goal of game with a cool finish, confidence is growing

10. Az Phillipson               8/10       lively from the start, producing a good relationship with McClure

11. Norman Bell                8/10       Provided some neat touches and never shut up, Vocal


12. Russ Gallagher           7/10       came on and did a job, Essential to the clean sheet                         

13. Carl Fletcher               7/10       Stretched Prestwich with his pace and driving runs, caused problems

A return back to the Memorial Ground provided the 1st XI with a great opportunity to stretch their unbeaten run to 7 in the league. In there way was a Prestwich team looking to improve on their mid table standing.

For the first time this season the 1st team started quite brightly, keeping the ball and limiting the Prestwich team to very little possession and impact. With Martin Simm marshalling the defence we were, in the main, untroubled by the Prestwich front line. The first real chance of the game resulted in the Old Black’s taking the lead.
In a patient move, played out from the back, the ball finally reached Tom Gavin on the right hand of midfield, and with his back to goal he managed to turn and play a lobbed pass through to Rob Mclure. The perfectly weighted ball through to Mclure was dispatched calmly and coolly over the keeper and past the covering defender, who despite his best efforts could not make it back in time. Old Blacks 1-0.
Soon after going ahead Prestwich had their best attempt of the game come back off the post but Old Blacks took a deserved lead into the break.

In the second half Prestwich began to take a hold of the game using the conditions to their advantage. The biggest chance fell to Nick Mooney. A corner came in and the ball managed to find itself all the way across to Mooney in the box 6 yards out. Mooney managed to make contact, but the ball came across quickly, and unfortunately made it’s way over the bar. Towards the end of the game Prestwich pushed for a late equaliser, throwing everything but the kitchen sink, to no avail.

Overall a very important 3 pts against a tough Prestwich team, every player came on and did their job, hard fought and well deserved. The 1st XI now move up to 2nd in the league and only 2 points behind Oldham Hulmeians.

MOTM: Martin Simm

1st XI vs Hesketh Casuals (Away)

The first team had a tough away fixture to keep up their unbeaten run with a long trip to play Hesketh Casuals.

The squad depth was going to be tested with 6 players missing through injury or being unavailable. With this being our 8th away game in a row, and with Heskeths captain promising after our 5-2 home win earlier in the season that they would “batter us with a full team”, this promised to be a massive test for the lads.

With the story of the season being slow starts and poor first halves, the lads were asked to concentrate on starting from the first whistle and they duly obliged creating numerous openings and dominating possession, and even with Captain Mick Cranage having to come off early through injury, the lads continued to be the better team and took the lead after 20 mins when Rob McClure’s corner was flicked on brilliantly by Nick Molyneaux for Nick Mooney to tap in to make it 1-0. Hesketh had a couple of chances on the break but found Kieran Dawe on top form to deny them. The team continued to dominate and a mixture of good goalkeeping and bad luck stopped it being more going into half time.

The lads started the second half where they left off dominating possession and creating chances before Hesketh started their best spell of the game creating chances with Dawe making saves and the defence defending brilliantly led by Martin Sim, but on the stroke of the hour mark Hesketh equalised with a fine volley at the back postafterslack marking by the team. This kicked the team into gear and they dominated again and goals from Arron Phillipson and McClure put the team 3-1 up before the goal of the game when a good spell of possession was rounded off with a superb finish from Phillipson after a superb run and pass by Tom Gavin.

It sealed the game and despite a defensive blip leading to another goal for Hesketh, and another couple of fine saves from Dawe, the lads saw out the game to seal an impressive win and a very controlled performance with all players playing their part.

Onwards now to a tough fixture against Prestwich at home if we remember where our home pitch actually is !!!!

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