Monday, March 10, 2008

Weekend Update - Cup Edition

Two big Cup games this past weekend for the teams!

Queen of the South - QoS had a home match against fellow first division side Dundee. Dundee is currently in second place in the 1st Division, trying to catch Hamilton for promotion. Saturday thay faced each other in the Scottish Cup quarter-finals. Rain and wind made the first half 45 minutes to forget. Neither team looked parituclarly dangerous and the teams went to the locker room still level at 0. Shortly into the second half Queens opened the scoring on a Stephen Dobbie blast that found the back of the net.

Queens had to hold off the Dundee attack for 39 minutes, and it took every last second before the Doonhamers could get the fatal blow as off a last second free kick with Dundee's keeper joining the attack the ball fell to Ryan McCann. 70 yars from goal he let fly and gave Queens the insurance goal that sent them through to the semi-final. Their opponent will be either Aberdeen or Celtic and the game will be played on April 12th. Tuesday night Queens faces St. Johnstone in a league match.

Blackburn Rovers - Blackburn faced off against Fulham FC (aka Fulham USA) in the battle of "Who's Americans are better". The 22 players who started the match included 5 Americans. Big Bad Brad Friedel for Rovers and Clint Dempsey, Eddie Johnson, and Kasey Keller in goal for Fulham. Also on the bench for Fulham were Americans Carlos Bocanegra and Brian McBride. The first half was similar to the first half in the Queens game, with the wind and rain neither side particularly impressed and the score was still 0-0 at the break.

The second half started out much better, with both sides hitting the posts in the first 15 minutes. Jason Roberts came on for Blackburn and paid immediate dividends as 2 minutes into the game his cross was met by Morten Gamst Pedersen's head and directed into the back of the net for a 1-0 lead. Fulham made a change of Americans, pulling Clint Dempsey and replacing him with Brian McBride to partner up top with Eddie Johnson. The added pressure paid off late in the game as Christopher Samba got caught forward and made a clumsy kick on a high ball and being called for dangerous play just outside the 18. The resulting free kick from Jimmy Bullard went directly into the back of the net, and Blackburn walked away having given up 2 points that were there for the taking.

This leaves Blackburn a full 10 points out of the last European space with only 9 games to play and with the likelyhood of extra spots being available going down after this weekend's FA Cup results, the window for qualifying for Europe is closing quickly.

Tenerife - Tenerife went on the road to Cordoba, currently 15th in the Segunda. Unfortunately Cordoba decided to show up sooner than Tenerife did, and with goals in the 20th and 58th minute had Tenerife looking at a long trip back to the Canary Islands. CDT didn't let their heads drop though and 7 minutes from full time they got a lifeline in a goal from Iriome. This was followed on the stroke of full time with a second from Arruabarrena and Tenerife salvaged a point from what looked like a lost match.

However the draw didn't help the team's promotion chances. They stay in 9th place and are still looking at a 9 point gap to the 3rd promotion place with 14 games to play.

Ebbsfleet United - Ebbsfleet hosted the first leg of the FA Trophy semi-final against league-leading Aldershot Town. Just 6 minutes into the match Ebbsfleet drew a PK, the Aldershot player lucky to only see yellow, and made no mistake, taking an early 1-0 lead. Aldershot still seemed to be resting on their laurels and 'Fleet was focused on making them pay. After a number of good attacks finally in the 37th minute John Akinde got free in the area and was tugged down before he could get a shot. Again the Aldershot player was lucky to only get a yellow card, but McPhee steped up and put away his second PK of the half, doubling the Ebbsfleet lead.

Aldershot finally woke up in the second half and had numerous good chances in front of Ebbsfleet's net, but they were unable to break through until the 78th minute with an unmarked header from the far post finding its way into the back of the next and getting Aldershot back to within 1 goal. The Fleet wouldn't be denied though and hit back almost immediately with a long ball down the left side leading to a loose ball in the box that McCarthy stepped up and slotted home to regain the 2 goal lead. The Fleet had chances to extend the lead even further but couldn't quite get the final shot. They take a 2 goal lead into the second leg on the road next Saturday, with a trip to Wembley for the FA Trophy final at stake. Before that match they face Rusheden in league play Tuesday night.

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