Latest NewsSunday May 12, 2019
Acregate Lane crowned League Champions
Acregate Lane celebrate winning the League Title
Match winner Paul Turner with manager Gary Duboulay
Acregate Lane Labour Club were crowned League Champions after beating Southport & Ainsdale Amateurs 2-1 in a terrific title decider at Bankfield Lane, Southport.
Southport & AA, who have already won the Challenge Cup went into the game with a one point lead so a draw would have been enough for them to complete a remarkable double-double, having won the Presidents Cup and the Division 1 title last season.
The game was played on a lovely May morning on an excellent pitch at Southport in front of at least 200 spectators who were entertained with some first class football by both sides. As expected, the opening exchanges were fast and furious with both goals under siege, but it was Acregate who drew first blood in the 13th minute when the precocious Paul Turner slotted home his 29th league goal of the season.
Twelve minutes later saw Southport level when Kev Edgar created an opening for himself in the box and rifled the ball into the net. The teams changed ends with score at 1-1. Southport piled on the pressure in the second half, but the Acregate defence held firm and their keeper Paul Howson turned in a Man-of-the-Match performance which included one extraordinary save which drew applause from all present.
The longer the game went the more we all thought that the game would end in stalemate, but all that changed in the 72nd minute when Acregate were awarded a free kick just outside the penalty area and their talisman Paul Turner blasted the ball into the Southport net. After that was all hands to the pumps for Acregate until the final whistle which was the cue for wild celebrations from the Acregate players, management team and supporters.
There are few who would deny Acregate Lane FC their moment of glory. This club has been an integral part our League since they joined us 48 years ago in 1971. They have been in the premier division since 1980 and this is their first major trophy. The past 39 years has seen them suffer their fair share of setbacks but today they can hold their heads high as Champions of the Lancashire Sunday League. Many people have contributed to their success, none more than club secretary Alex Ross and their management team of Gary Duboulay and Shaun Cromie.
Bearing in mind what was at stake, the game was played in an excellent sporting manner by both sides with just one caution and that for a technical offence and it was well handled by referee Bob Roberts and his Assistants Joe Hind and Jamie Law.
The League's first title play-off went the way of Cadley FC who beat Garstang FC 3-1 at UCLan Sports Arena to win the Youth Division White title after both clubs had completed their season with 43 points.
Cadley opened the scoring through David Marley on 20 minutes and it took Garstang till the 50th minute to draw level when Tom Ruston pounced on a misplaced goal kick to hammer home from just outside the area. David Marley scored his and Cadley's second on 75 minutes and the keenly contested match was put to bed in the 87th minute when Cadley's Rob Burrows hit a low hard drive from 25 yards into the bottom corner.
The sportsmanship and respect between these two superb clubs was highlighted at the end of the game when the Garstang manager Steve Smith presented Cadley's manager David Botes with a congratulatory bottle of champagne.
Report and photos by Eamonn McNamara.
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