Thursday 30th April 2015
North West Counties League Challenge Cup Final (Men United)
ATHERTON COLLIERIES 0 GLOSSOP NORTH END 2
Venue: Curzon Ashton FC, The Tameside Stadium
Admission: £5 (or 3 quid if you dress up and pretend to be a Pensioner)
Tea Hut Stuff: Expensive £1.20 economy tea bag in hot water
Parking: On the Car Park behind the goals
Weather: Spring sunshine fading to a chilly clear evening
Match Rating: 6/10
Glossop have whupped everybody in sight this season. Next week Wembley will be lucky enough to have them for the FA Vase Final against North Shields, needless to say, they simply strolled the Premier Division title. It is strange that the only side in the North West Counties League capable of matching them on quality football terms are Atherton Colls. Strange because Colls have been plying their trade and blitzing opposition in the league below Glossop this season, the humble First Division. These two are jolly good footballing sides and it is sad that they wont be matched up next season for some NWCFL classics, Glossop as League Champions are off to the Northern Premier League. With this in mind many were hoping for a glorious last-supper of fine football this evening, me included.
Unfortunately, the big feast never came to the table. Nothing seemed to fit the menu tonight. Like a Master Chef soufflé that failed to rise, the whole thing fell a bit flat.
I had a sneaking suspicion the Cup Final gods were in a bad mood when massive long queues at the solitary opened turnstile caused one of my pet hates, the delayed kick off. Why a second turnstile wasn't opened before the Noah's Ark levels were reached is beyond comprehension. This delay meant I missed my dodgy late night takeaway on the drive home.
Once we finally got going it was imperative that Colls got a good start if they were to match the fancy dans of Glossop. Needless to say they soon went 1 behind with a fluke goal from a corner. The cross simply hit Glossop's Kelvin Lugsden without him even knowing about it, the ball bobbled into the empty net.
Colls gradually got their passing game going and it was nice to see Glossop counter with some well co-ordinated bursts down the flanks, any hopes we could still see a great final were then almost completely deleted. Glossops Eddie Moran seemed to be brought down in midfield and an almighty shopping bag battle erupted, everybody was piling in, in anticipation of the big Mayweather v Pacquiao fight the Glossop full back Michael Bowler was pole-axed and went down like a sack of spuds. It turned into a big who-dun-it mystery amidst all the pushing and shoving, the Referee took centre stage. Colls went mad at Brad Cooke being given the red card and there were some very distasteful scenes as a very angry Cooke was met at the tunnel by baying Glossop squad members. Some of the crowd got involved as did everyone in the two dug outs, NWCFL officials were trying to calm things down but it did get ugly. Spitting at somebody is a horrible thing to see at any time especially at a football match, unbelievable it could be seen in the cosy little world of the NWCFL... but it did, I saw it happen as many others near the tunnel also did. I'm not naming names on here but it was totally out of order and the perpetrator needs to think hard about his actions.
After the meltdown the game seemed to fade, it would be hard enough with 11 men against Glossop. Colls faced a massive task now and the loss of Cooke would simply prove too much for them.
The second half got steadily worse for Colls, despite brave attempts to continue playing open football a debatable penalty decision gave Glossop a cushy 2 goal lead. Not long afterwards it really was all over when Colls striker Mark Battersby got sent off for a second yellow. There wasn't much in the challenge but Mark didn't need to give the defender the option and a 9 man team meant game over.
Great achievement by Glossop to win the League and Cup double and all credit to them. They have been the best team in the North West Counties League by miles this season and I wish them all the best in winning the FA Vase.
As for Colls, they have Premier Division football to look forward to in the NWCFL and the way they play the game will hopefully fill the gap left by Glossop. They already look favourites to win the title.