L and C win thriller against old rivals
Hyde United were great hosts for the 91st annual match between old friends and rivals the Lancashire and Cheshire AFL and the Lancashire Amateur FL.
The fixture has been played for since 1920, and in the last nine years for the John Howard Shield, and once more it was a great advert for the quality of football and commitment provided by both of these historic and prestigious true grass roots football leagues.
The excellent 3G surface at Ewen Fields was ideal for some fine team and individual skills to be displayed and in the first two minutes the LAL set the sparks flying as they took the lead with a stunning 20-yard strike from Terry Qualters (Failsworth Dynamos).
The L and C kept their nerve and played some great possession football which gained its reward on 21 minutes with a clinical equaliser despatched by Claudio Campos (Manchester Polonia).
Just eight minutes later Campos tapped in his second to give the L and C the lead.
The thrills and spills continued as a brace, one from the penalty spot, from David Warburton (Old Boltonians) swung the game back in favour of the LAL.
What was probably the defining moment came on 55 minutes when a professional foul on the edge of the box by the LAL saw the player dismissed and a superb free kick from Paul Arrowsmith (Radclyffe) arrowed into the top corner to level the scores.
The drama continued apace as a touchline incident saw both teams lose a player to red cards.
The one-man advantage eventually paid off for the L and C as MOM Sam Wrigley (Waterloo) capped a great display in midfield with a cool lob for the eventual winner on 80 minutes and his team defended their advantage with few problems in the remaining minutes.
Over the game both teams produced plenty of chances and a combination of good goalkeeping, great defending and many near misses provided an exciting spectacle in a game well controlled by referee Joe Morrell and his team.
In the after-match presentation Land C officials Tim Roebuck and Mike Yates paid due tributes to the players from both sides and gave out league medals to the L and C players and also thanked Hyde United for the use of their excellent facilities.
John Howard provided a fitting finish to a great day for amateur football by outlining his inspirational time and nostalgic experiences in the league since 1947 before handing over his trophy to L and C Captain Jordan Ware (Waterloo).