After arriving throughout Friday afternoon and evening, the players had a quick couple of soft drinks before heading off for an early night in preparation for the Saturday group stages.
The first match was at 9.10am against AC Celtic. Celtic were the better side over the course of the game but FPC played poorly for the first twenty minutes. In the closing stages the team did perform better but by this stage they were 2-0 down. An outstanding volley from Gilly in the last minute made the score a respectable 2-1 defeat.
After a few hours off, the next match was against group favourites QPR. As expected, the London side played some very nice passing football but FPC worked well as a unit and stopped them creating chances. However, when you are forced to defend for the whole game mistakes will happen and with only a couple of minutes to go, QPR scored a headed winner from a corner. Remarkably, this was to be the last goal FPC would concede in the entire tournament.
By the time FPC took on local rivals Airdrie it was already clear that QPR and Celtic would be qualifying for the Cup while the Lanarkshire pair would be left in the Plate tournament on Sunday. Airdrie were in the middle of a very bad day having already been cuffed by QPR and Celtic and FPC did not give them any glimmer of hope in this game either. Two goals by Junior before the break gave FPC a deserved lead and when Dave met Jammy’s cross at the back post shortly after half time to make it 3-0 the game was over as a contest.
The victory over Airdrie meant that FPC finished third in the group and would be seeded in the Plate draw. When names were pulled out of the hat later in the evening, FPC were fortunate enough to be in the second half of the draw, meaning a 9am rather than 8am kick off against Reading was next on the list.
After a relaxing Saturday night, Sunday morning came all too soon. Reading were struggling for numbers though and could only produce eleven fit players. Their hopes were dealt a fatal blow early in the game when their ‘keeper was injured in a scramble and then a defender was forced to handle Frazzle’s shot on the goal line. This reduced them to a mere nine players and they were soon a goal down when Dave dispatched the penalty. FPC were never under any pressure for the rest of the game and Junior’s third goal of the competition allowed the team to coast to an easy 2-0 win.
Next up were Ayr B and in this match the team finally showed how they can play. FPC dominated the first half but could only score one goal – Junior heading home from a Kenzie free kick. Things began to go wrong early in the second half (about 3 seconds) when Junior was sent off for a second booking. Ayr saw the opportunity to fight back and tried to pressure the FPC defence but the remaining nine outfield players put in an exceptional fifteen minutes of work and prevented Ayr from registering a single shot. The full time whistle was a welcome relief to everyone and set up a quarter final with Ayr A.
FPC and Ayr A were very evenly matched and there was hardly a chance created in the regulation half hour. The only time a goal looked remotely likely was when Sanny almost had his jersey torn off in the box but not penalty was awarded. The golden goal period was much of the same although Ayr could, and probably should have won it in injury time. Farmer pulled off an amazing double save and then the rebound was blasted off Moysie on the goal line.
This meant that the game would be decided on penalty kicks. Thankfully there were five brave volunteers to step up, with Moysie and Del being left with the ‘I will if no one else will’ positions of six and seven. Dave went first and scored, but Ayr instantly hit back. Mark then blasted his down the middle and the ‘keeper, fearing for his own safety, somehow touched it onto the bar. Kenzie scored in between two successful Ayr attempted but Gilly scooped his effort over the bar. This gave the Ayr captain the chance to win it and their fourth penalty was duly dispatched into a bottom corner leaving Farmer with no chance.
So that was that, Leeds was over for another year. After the pain of losing to a Golden Goal in the final last year, a penalty shoot out loss in a quarter final this time was an equally bitter pill to swallow. However, the team again played well and to not lose a goal in 100 minutes of knock out football was an amazing effort. A good time was had by all and there is always next year!
Read more about FPC FC here.
Pictures of Worldnet 2003 will be here in a few days!