Six sizzling finals: The Blackpool and District Youth Football League's Hogan Cup and Plate at Wyre Villa
The weather was as perfect as the pitch at Wyre Villa FC for the Blackpool and District Youth Football League’s big day – the finals of the Hogan Cup and Plate competitions.
All the players were excited, especially the Under-7 and U8 teams appearing in their first finals at the Stalmine venue. Photosolutions4UBlackpool kindly sponsored the Player of the Match trophies.
Foxhall JFC won the Under-7 Cup, defeating BJFF Predators 5-3 in a final which could have gone either way. Benjamin Spencer and Connor Agolli both scored twice for Foxhall, whose other strike was an own goal.
Foxhall manager Ben McKay told The Gazette: “It was a good game and end-to-end for 10 minutes after they pulled it back to 3-3. The pitch and the facilities were great, and thanks to the league for putting on a really good event.”
The player of the match award went to the Predators’ Gary Butters, while Foxall gave special mention to outstanding defender Jacob McKay.
In the U7 Plate final, Thornton Cleveleys Tigers got the better of Kirkham Junior Ice 4-2. The Tigers scored first but had to fight back from 2-1 down at half-time as Louis Shorrocks and Dylan Craven both scored twice.
Tigers manager Chris Mangnall said: “It was a closely contested game and the competition was a nice break from the league. Our defeat by Wyre in the cup was the only time we’ve ended a match disappointed this season but it got us into the plate.”
Tigers’ keeper Toby Elson was the sponsors’ player of the match, while Thomas Turner-Jones excelled bringing the ball out of defence for a Tigers team full of classmates from Stanah Primary.
The U8 Cup final was an all-Lytham Juniors affair between the Blues and Maroons and was perhaps the tightest game of the day.
Lytham Maroons won 4-3 on penalties after their game against the Blues ended 2-2. Josh Preedy equalised for the Maroons late in each half, including a last-minute penalty to take the final to a shootout, in which both keepers pulled off great saves.
Man of the match Oliver Craig scored both goals for the Blues.
Maroons chairman Lee Mitchell said: “A draw would probably have been the fairest result but it was a great advertisement for youth football.”
CN Sports Blues won the U8 Plate after another close match against Kirkham Junior Fire. The Blues had to soak up early pressure but went on to win 4-2 with goals by Harry Gargate, Evan Probert, Hughie Murphy and Oliver McDonagh.
Winning manager Darren Gargate said: “It was close right through and both teams had their chances. Losing to Lytham Blues in the first round of the cup did us a favour. We’re ending the season successfully and looking forward to seven-a-side football next season.” Darren agreed that Miley Whiteside from Kirkham was a deserving player of the match.
FC Rangers proved too strong for Poulton FC in the U16 Cup final, winning 5-1 courtesy of a Matty Sillett hat-trick and goals from George Wharton and Jack Murphy.
Sillett scored all his goals in the first half, which ended with his side 4-0 up, and Rangers boss Steve Jackson said: “The pitch is huge and suited our football perfectly. A first-minute goal settled our nerves and we played some really good football.”
Max Webster was named man of the match but manager Jackson also wanted to highlight a “magnificent” performance by Stephen Forbes at right-back in an excellent team display.
League leaders Rangers’ attention now switches to a thrilling title race, in which they face closest rivals Poulton Town and Poulton FC (again) to determine who finishes top.
Wyre Juniors defeated Foxhall Hoops 5-3 in what Wyre manager Mike Ward described as a “ding-dong” U16 Plate final.
Dylan Copeland’s hat-trick for Wyre included a spectacular 35-yard strike, Ethan Hayes scoring their other two. Midfielder Copeland was named man of the match.
Boss Ward added: “We just got our noses in front in a good even game and we look forward to playing Foxhall again in the league on Saturday.”
Meanwhile, the development matches continued for the two youngest age groups, whose progress was clear for all to see.
Look out for our Under-8s picture special online on Thursday
Thanks for reading. If you value what we do and are able to support us, a digital subscription is just £1 for your first month. Try us today by clicking here.