Preston Grasshoppers vs Fylde, 21st December 2019, 2.30pm
Current second place sides at opposite ends of the table meet at Lightfoot Green this coming Saturday in what will be the final league game of 2019. Preston Grasshoppers will be hoping to go one better than in their drawn game last Saturday and at the Woodlands earlier this season.
Looking back to last Saturday’s game at Cross Green the question buzzing amongst their supporters after the game was when did Hoppers (if ever) draw a game nil-nil? No one could recall a first fifteen game ending that way and indeed there hasn’t been such an occurrence in any of our previous seven hundred and forty four league matches. There have however been eighteen completed games finishing this way since points had been awarded for scoring efforts upon Hoppers resurrection in 1900.
The most recent of these was on New Year’s Day in 1985 and the possibility of none of the Hoppers or Blackburn players having the energy to score points after the previous evening’s celebrations is a distinct possibility! Going back to the next time Hoppers and their opponents served up a similar score line was when Broughton Park were the visitors to Lightfoot Green on the 15th of January 1983. Amongst other such ‘pointless’ events, the most curious could be when back in 1921/22 and the following season when Furness were the visitors on both occasions!
And finally another couple of low scoring Hoppers statistics. The previous lowest score in a league game was a three nil victory at Winninigton Park on the 6th of October 1990 and the last occasion a game was completed without a try being scored by either team, was the victory over Harrogate at Lightfoot Green on the 2nd of April 2016.
Although last weekend’s game at Cross Green ended scoreless it was far from a dull affair. Both teams gave their all in the most terrible of conditions, clinging mud, a howling gale and frequent heavy rain showers didn’t detract from the spectacle. The home side had looked most likely to score the decisive points but Hoppers defence was resolute throughout. However it was the visitors who came closest to taking the spoils with a concerted last effort deep into injury time seeing them batter away at the home line for phase after phase only for their efforts to end when a second attempted drop goal passed narrowly wide.
Hoppers will be hoping to take their performance at Cross Green up another level against Fylde whose form has stuttered in recent weeks. After their drawn game against Hoppers they then went on a six match winning streak before losing at current league leaders Caldy, hammering Loughborough Students in Ansdell, a narrow victory at Luctonians then losing their home record to Hull followed by close victories over Sedgley Park and Hoppers opponents last week over in Yorkshire before losing at Dore Moors last Saturday.
Looking at this Saturday’s opponents, there have been one hundred and forty eight meetings between Fylde and Preston Grasshoppers Senior Sides, These break down into Club, League and various Cup matches. In the club games Fylde have a huge advantage of one hundred and three wins to Hoppers thirty four but in the various National Leagues the margin is narrower with fifteen wins to Fylde, seven to ourselves plus the drawn game from last September. Fylde hold a single victory advantage over us at Lancashire Cup level but we won the only Senior Cup Meeting back in November 1996 which was a Pilkington Cup Tie. To complete the record there have been nine drawn games and twelve cancellations.
1. John BLANCHARD
2. Chris TAYLOR
3. Noah MILLER
4. Adam HOWARD
5. Ally MURRAY
6. Sam WALLBANK
7. Toby HARRISON
8. Matt LAMPREY
9. James GOUGH
10. Tom DAVIDSON
11. Tyler SPENCE
12. James FITZPATRICK
13. Will DAVIDSON
14. Sam STOTT
15. Nick GREGSON
REPLACEMENTS: 16. O. TRIPPIER, 17. O. MABAYA 18. E. NAYLOR, 19. B. DORRINGTON, 20. S. JORDAN