Thornton Arms 5 – 2 Sabden

Thornton Arms 5 – 2 Sabden

History will record that Sabden lost their first round cup tie to Thornton Arms at a rain-soaked Towneley Park, by a score of five goals to two. If history is kind, it may even state that the victors play their football in a division higher than Sabden, and that they are favourites to land the Premier League title – and probably the cup on this display.

Therefore, before I launch into my usual red-and-black skewed report on the footballing brilliance of our team (and I will!!), let it be put on record that our opponents thoroughly deserved their victory, and that the margin of their win did not overly flatter them. Indeed, our goalkeeper, Nick Galea was nominated for the man-of-the-match award by our hosts.

However, there was much to admire from our own performance, and probably more importantly, the display of mental attributes that not only form the backbone of a successful football team, but the attributes of good human beings as well.

Sabden win a corner

Okay – special spectacles on …………………..

To start with, the match referee failed to turn up, so Sabden right back, Ben Dewhurst, volunteered to referee the game. He really didn`t want to; he had turned up to play a game of football; but he sacrificed his own place in the Sabden starting line-up and his personal enjoyment so that 20-odd other lads could enjoy their Sunday football. Gave a bloody good display of refereeing too, (and awarded us a penalty), so 10/10 to Ben! Both teams appreciated your unselfish gesture.

Secondly, as we were chasing shadows for most of the game, we did manage to keep our shape and keep ourselves in the game. The value of this was shown shortly after half time. Trailing 2-0 at the break, and having had to defend very well to keep the score down, Sabden took advantage of a short period when our opponents were down to 10 men, due to an injury, to level the contest.

On 46 minutes, Joe Keane broke clear of his marker on the right and fizzed in a cross. A Thornton defender deliberately handled and Pierluigi Dewhurst had no hesitation pointing to the spot. David Fallon stepped up and unerringly rifled the ball into the roof of the net.

Big Mal (hidden behind ref) tucks his penno away …..

Only two minutes later, before Thornton had chance to ready their substitute, the match was levelled. Pirlo Fuller nicked the ball off the toes of a Thornton player and poked the ball through to Jason Bates, who took a controlling touch before smashing an angled drive across the keeper and into the bottom corner of the net. 2-2, could a famous victory be on the cards?

Sadly, Thornton got their numbers back up to 11 and took control of the game once more. On the hour mark, a Thornton player, known affectionately as “The Fat Messi”, walloped in a left foot volley from the edge of the area that the Argentine himself would have been proud of. On 72 minutes, Thornton re-established their two goal advantage, and whilst never giving up, Sabden could not find any way through.

On 91 minutes, Thornton made the game absolutely safe, and Ben blew the final whistle seconds later to signal the end of the football lesson …. sorry … match!

So what positives can possibly be taken from a right royal spanking?
• We demonstrated unselfishness with Ben`s decision to referee the game.
• We demonstrated togetherness – at no point in the game was there any arguing or falling out.
• We showed determination to get back into the game when the small window of opportunity presented itself.
• Perhaps most importantly, we showed humility in our ability to lose graciously.

It is with such attributes that we intend to re-launch our assault of the Division One title; starting next week at Home against Hare & Hounds – and we owe them one!

Please come along and support us – we will not disappoint !!