[I]t was another rain drenched weekend for county football, with the headline matches in the Second Round of the Cumberland FA Senior County Cup, but two Westmorland FA Junior Cup survived, as did a handful of Westmorland League matches, along with another harvest of goals,
Finding a way past Carlisle City, who play in Division One the Hallmark Security League, was always going to be a challenge for Westmorland League leaders Keswick. Keswick were up for the battle and the club had done everything it could to get the game on, and what a game it was, a classic cup tie.
Carlisle started quickly, and dominated the first half hour as Keswick struggled to find space and were kept mostly to their own half. City’s number 10 Michael Slack opened the scoring with a well worked goal on 15 minutes, and Rob McCartney made it 0-2 to City just seven minutes later when he was on hand to finish a great cross from Ryan Errington on the left wing. Keswick then settled and finally began to make progress into the visitors half, but Keswick ‘keeper John Philips was called into action again on the half hour, making a great save from a Slack shot, pushing the ball around the left hand post.
On 40 minutes Errington got on the score sheet with a great curling shot that hammered into the top right hand corner of the Keswick net. 3-0 to City, and it could have been game over, but just four minutes later Andy Rigg scored for Keswick with a beautiful strike that powered past Adam Coward into the Carlisle net. Game on.
The second half saw Keswick push forwards, now looking the more likely to score, although the post saved Philips twice in a minute on the hour. Carlisle then brought on Ben Davidson and Brady Wiser for Errington and McCartney, and Keswick brought on Tom Atkinson and Declan Robinson for Charlie Andrews and Stephen Hilton, and Keswick continued to roam deep into the Carlisle half looking for the goal, but with the obvious risk of a break.
And a well saved Sam Reilly strike was swiftly turned around by Coward, and Keswick were caught by the rapid City counter attack, and coming forwards Philips mistakenly handled the ball outside of his box and from the resulting free kick Slack scored his second to make it 1-4 on 73 minutes.
This was now a cracker of a game and on 80 minutes Keswick’s Declan Robinson scored a second for Keswick, and in the last ten minutes Tom Atkinson, Richard Bannister and Robinson all had shots save by Coward in the City goal. There was constant Keswick pressure as referee Thomas Linford’s checked his watch as the full time whistle approached, but the Carlisle defence held, and held well, and this ended as a good win for Carlisle.
Wesrnorland Division One side Wetheriggs also proceed to the third round of the Cup after a 5-1 victory over Division Two’s Greystoke FC at Castletown Recreation Ground. In game which saw Darren Campbell suffer a broken tibia, Wetherigg’s goals came from a Martyn Coleman hat trick, Lewis Windle and a Greystoke own goal.
Greystoke put up a spirited battle with a depleted squad, and indeed the scores were level until 70 minutes, when tiredness took its toll on Greystoke, and Wetherigg’s experience kicked in, and the home side could then fire in four more goals and cruise to victory.
In a somewhat mismatched Cumberland Cup tie at Frenchfield, Westmorland League Division Three side Penrith Saints were up against Cleator Moor Celtic from the Wearside League. This was never whether Cleator Moor Celtic would win, but by what margin they would win by against Saints. Indeed the prediction made by Oswald Grimethorpe back in early September was “Penrith Saints FC will be hammered by Cleator Moor Celtic Football Club from the Wearside League. Expect double figures from Celtic … this is far too big a hill to climb”.
And it was eighteen, with the Celtic goals from Leigh Dunn (5), Stuart Shaw (4), Darren Little (3), Kieran Maguire (2), Calum Birdsall (2), Rhys Little and Adam Meagan.
There were two other surviving Cumberland Cup matches. It was Westmorland Division Three against Westmorland Division Two when Langwathby United met Eden Thistle, and this also went with Sir Oswald’s prediction, with Eden Thistle winning out 0-4.
Smurfit Kappa Cumberland League Division One’s Bransty Rangers made the long trip to Alston Moor Sports Club, but came away empty handed, losing out 2-1 to the Frank Hudson Crook & District League Division One side.
Aspatria Football Club were awarded a home win against Unisun Athletic, Pirelli awarded a win against Penrith Town and Cockermouth were awarded an away walkover against Frizington WhiteStar.
There were just two matches reported in the First Eound of the Westmorland FA Junior Cup. And in a great result for Kirkoswald Reserves, they won 2-0 over Ibis Reserves whose seeeingly perfect season has suddenly gone into reverse. Undefeated in the league until last week, Ibis have now lost two on the bounce, and Kirkoswald won with goals from Ryan Bell and Ben Walls. In the other cup match, Penrith Royal went down 0-2 to Burton Thistle.
In the James Cropper Westmorland League, Keswick may have lost in their cup tie, but they came up trumps in Division One without even playing, as rivals Appleby lost 1-2 at home to Endmoor KGR, giving Keswick a three point margin and a game in hand at the top of the table. Endmoor battled hard for the win, and the two goals from Adam Soulby and Matty Wilson did the damage, with Appleby disappointed not to be able to break down a resilient Endmoor defence, with the home side’s only goal from Mike Newton.
Penrith Reserves had another excellent day with a 2-4 win over Ibis. The Penrith goals were from Brad Hayton, Ryan James and a Hayden Wilson brace. Ibis’s goals were from Josh Ford and Luke Deveney. Penrith are now third and Endmoor KGR fourth in the table.
In Division Two there was just one match, but it was a big one, as the previously undefeated Carleton Banks Football Club took on Keswick Reserves at Frenchfield. But the visitors won through after a hard fight and close game with an early goal from Dave Gaskell. Dent remain top of the table and Carlrton Banks are second, with Keswick gaining ground in third place.
In the only Division Three match, Penrith Academy narrowly lost out 3-4 to the in-form side Kirkby Stephen, who went to the top of the table on the result.
Academy were unlucky with this one – and were 3-1 up at half time with goals fro Nathan Kerr and Connor Shields, but in a game of two halves, the visitors pulled three back, with the final goal on 70 minutes from a free kick which looped in and ended up in the top left hand corner of the net. The Kirkby Stephen goals came from Andrew Lockhart (2), Scott Ostle and Matt Branthwaite, enough for all three points, but a cruel result for Academy. But that’s football!
We’ll leave the last words to the Cumberland FA: “Unsurprisingly lots of Cumberland FA County Cup matches off this weekend. The fact that there have been any games at all is often thanks to a loyal army of unsung grassroots volunteers, who dedicate their time to look after club pitches. Thank you.”