In a season plagued with wet-weather postponements, it was very fitting that the sun finally shone on the Poulton and District Primary League’s Coulton Cup Finals, kindly hosted by Fleetwood Town FC at their Highbury Stadium.
Over 150 junior players aged 9 to 13, had the opportunity to play on the pristine turf, having experienced the Football League dressing rooms and tunnel walk-out on to the pitch to the applause of the crowds in the stands.
The teams served up five entertaining games, played in great spirit and cheered on by anxious parents, coaches, relatives and friends.
There had to be winners and losers but every player was able to enjoy the walk up to the press box to receive medals from the VIP guests.
The cups were shared around on the day, with only hosts Fleetwood Town winning more than one.
The action switches to Fleetwood’s Poolfoot Farm training base this Saturday for the Coulton Plate finals.
Here’s how the five Coulton Cup finals panned out:
YMCA Oranges 4
Poulton FC Stripes 2
YMCA Oranges got off to a great start when Liam Roberts scored from a free-kick in only the second minute .
Poulton equalised through Kieran Hayes before Rees Gallagher gave them a lead with an angled shot.
Noah Nicholson scored for YMCA just before half-time to make it all square at the break.
The final was settled by two goals from YMCA’s Harvey Barber in the second half. YMCA’s Theodor Mawene was awarded man of the match.
Poulton FC Dynamos 3
Thornton Cleveleys Blacks 2
The Dynamos opened the scoring through James O’Toole. Bethany Strutton quickly equalised.
Ryan Glover hit a post for Thornton Cleveleys before giving his side the lead a few minutes later.
Jimmy McPhee equalised for Poulton to ensure the teams were level at half-time. The only goal of the second half came for Poulton, scored by Harvey Ward, who also received the man of the match award.
YMCA 1 Kirkham Juniors Reds 1 (Kirkham won 5-4 on penalties)
YMCA and Kirkham Juniors Reds fought out a goalless first half before the deadlock was finally broken in the 40th minute when Kirkham were awarded a penalty following a foul in the box. Liam Geraghty successfully converted from the spot.
YMCA levelled ten minutes later through an own goal. The score remained level and Kirkham edged the penalty shootout.
Kirkham goalkeeper Craig Salisbury was named man of the match for a number of fine saves.
Warton Typhoons 1
Fleetwood Town 3
Warton Typhoons and Fleetwood Town couldn’t be separated until Tyler Alunan put Fleetwood ahead on the stroke of half-time.
Warton equalised through Luke O’Reilly with 10minutes of the match remaining.
But just as they had in the first half, Fleetwood struck late with two quickfire goals to clinch victory. Taylor Joyce and Tyler Alunan were the scorers.
Two-goal Alunan picked up the man of the match award.
Under -3 Final
Fleetwood Town 2
Clifton Rangers Wasps 2
(Fleetwood won 5-4 on penalties)
The Wasps opened the scoring on the quarter-hour mark, with Brogan Grundy netting.
Fleetwood Town equalised 10 minutes later through Liam Brown. Oscar Dugdale restored Clifton’s lead shortly before the break.
In the second period, Fleetwood equalised again through Charlie Stirzaker. Some good saves from Clifton keeper Jakub Sainsbury meant the scores were still level at full-time.
The penalty shootout went to sudden death before Fleetwood edged it. Clifton defender Luca Stephanie picked up the man of the match award.