Sunday, March 2, 2008

Weekend Roundup

My travel kept me from last week's roundup so I'll try to fill you in (briefly) if anything of note happened.

Queen of the South - Queens faced the league leaders, Hamilton Academical, at home and knew they had a tough mountain to climb. Hamilton immediately put the Doonhamers on their heels and struck first at the midpoint of the first half. Queens were not push-overs though and scored twice before the end of the period to take a lead into the locker room. In the second half Queens had the run of play but couldn't convert, then in the final minute it all came apart. Hamilton scored after a questionable non-call for a foul on Queen's Andy Aitken and in the hubub after the goal Tosh was given his second yellow for dissent. With the limited time remaining and being down a man Queens had to settle for the draw, a result they would have been happy with before the game, but they have to feel somewhat unlucky not to get the full 3 points. QoS is still in fourth place, 4 points back of 3rd and 15 points from the leaders, but also 15 points from the relegation zone. 9 league games to play, and next week Queens faces Dundee at home in the Scottish Cup Quarterfinals.

Blackburn Rovers - Rovers went up north to face Newcastle this week and left town having stolen 3 points. Newcastle had the run of play for most of the game, with Rovers only forcing 2 significant saves out of the Toon's keeper. Meanwhile at the other end only the ability of Big Bad Brad Friedel and Newcastle's inability to put anything on target kept the scoreline even. In particular Newcastle's Alan Smith couldn't hit the broad side of a barn, from the inside.

With 88 minutes gone it appeared the sides would settle for a 0-0 draw when 2nd half sub and new father (his wife having given birth to twins 48 hours earlier) Matt Derbyshire broke free down the center of the park and was fed the ball in stride by David Bently. A clinical finish past Newcastle's keeper gave Rovers the 3 points and left the Toon staring at relegation. Rovers now sit in 7th place, 5 points behind Liverpool (who have a game in hand) for the last guaranteed European spot and 3 points behind ASton Villa in 6th.

Tenerife - Tenerife faced relegation candidates Alaves with a chance to pick up much needed points. In a quiet match Tenerife got the necessary goal and the 3 points. This kept them on pace with the upper part of the table, leaving them in 9th place, 7 points back of the 3rd promotion spot. With only 15 matches to play and 6 teams to pass time is running out for CDT. Next week they go on the road to face 14th place Cordoba in what is almost a must win situation.

Ebbsfleet United - The quarterfinal FA Trophy match was last week and it took 210 minutes to separate Ebbsfleet and Burton. After a scorless 90 minutes on the road Ebbsfleet had the replay at home and after another 90 minutes without a goal it went to extra time. With 4 minutes to play Stacy Long got the winning goal for the Fleet and they booked their spot in the semi-finals. The two legs will take place over the next two Saturdays, with Ebbsfleet hosting the first leg. The winner will face York or Torquay in the final at Wembley.

After the replay on Tuesday Ebbsfleet had a short week before their match against Northwich on Saturday. The first have was quiet until the end when Northwich pounced on a rebound from keeper Lance Cronin to have Victoria the lead at the break. It went from bad to worse for the 'Fleet after the break when MacDonald gave up a penalty and saw red just 3 minutes into the second half. The penalty was put away and United was looking at a two goal deficit. Fleet clawed one back, only to surrender a third and all signs pointed to a loss. Right after Northwich's third goal though Stacy Long, the hero from Tuesday night, got Ebbsfleet on the board again and the tyeam pressed for the equalizer. They would get it 2 minutes from full time as Chukki Eribenne got his first goal in two months to salvage a point from the fixture.

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