JP United 3
AFC Didsbury 2
Goals: Corbett, Whiteley
Assists: MacHugh, New
Man of the Match: Johnson
AFC Didsbury: Leighton, Jaffray, Johnson, Battersby (C), Rogers (Bermingham), New, Mackie, Whiteley, McDonald, MacHugh, Corbett.
Didsbury knocked out of the Manchester Amateur Cup in a game of two halves.
The game was started poorly by Didsbury who were unable to string a concession of passes together, but fortuitously took the lead when a goalkick was flicked on by Kieran MacHugh for the ever calm Michael Corbett to lift over the keeper when one on one.
This was the best Didsbury could muster in the first half, as JP United through attack after attack at Didsbury and scored 3 quick goals to go in 3-1 up at the break.
With a lot to ask of the players in the second half Didsbury changed to a 3 man midfield and from then dominated the game. This domination resulted in Tom Whiteley getting a goal back for Didsbury by heading in a Gaz New cross.
Didsbury through everything at the opposition but couldn't find the decisive touch as chance after chance was squandered.
All in all Didsbury showed their class and character in the 2nd half, just couldn't find the quality to overturn the first half deficit.
Words by Jonathan Mackie
Stretford Victoria 2
AFC Didsbury 2
Goals: Corbett (2)
Man of the Match: Turner
AFC Didsbury: Brookes, Mackie, Turner, Battersby (C), Jaffray, Peat (Hay), Creasey, Whiteley, McDonald (New), Harrison, Corbett.
Didsbury Bogged Down At Turn Moss
AFC Didsbury were left frustrated against Stretford Victoria on a controversial morning at Turn Moss, that finished two goals apiece.
Three penalties were awarded throughout a game dictated by the erratic weather conditions, more than any individual’s industry or creativity.
Rick Peat missed the best chance of the first half, creeping up at the back post with a volley that just missed the target, while Stretford failed to threaten in the opening stages.
It was Stretford that drew first blood though and totally against the run of play. After twenty minutes of intense Didsbury pressure, Stretford made a quick break that looked as though it carried no threat. A lofted ball switched play from the right flank to the left and Stretford’s incoming winger swung an opportunistic left boot. The ball rolled off his shin and just beat the grasp of Didsbury keeper, Gary Brookes, nestling in the far corner.
Didsbury reformed and mounted multiple attacks straight from the restart, with McDonald, Harrrison, Corbett and Peat all causing Streford’s backline problems. Parity was eventually restored and Didsbury got the goal that their efforts deserved. After some great build up play, Corbett found himself with an opportunity to round the keeper but was denied by the latters clumsy, flailing arms. Mike Corbett’s penalty was too powerful and precise for Stretford’s keeper, emphatically finding the bottom-left corner for his second goal of the season.
The second half carried on very much in the same vein as the first, with Didsbury carving out chance after chance. Wing play was key on a day when the middle of the park was virtually unplayable. The pace and trickery of McDonald and Peat proved too much for Stretford’s full backs as they struggled to cut off Didsbury’s supply. Despite this, it was to be from a Ben Jaffray free-kick that Didsbury went ahead. Lofted towards the head of the ever-menacing Matt Harrison, Didsbury captain, John Battersby, latched onto the flick and was acrimoniously bundled over in the Stretford area. Up stepped Corbett to coolly send the keeper the wrong way and give Didsbury the advantage they so deserved.
A disallowed goal and chances for Harrison, McDonald, Whitely, Peat
and substitute Mike Hay passed. Didsbury’s dominance remained precariously poised, with such a slender scoreline.
Stretford’s only threat, throughout the game, came from set pieces as the solidity of Didsbury’s backline (Mackie, Battersby, Jaffray and Man of the Match, Jon Turner) could not be breached. The nature of the equalising goal will leave a sour taste in Didsbury mouths though, as it came about in debatable fashion. Stretford delivered a set-piece into a crowded Didsbury area
and the referee somehow spotted a foul-play. Stretford converted the resulting penalty to set up a tense final few minutes.
Chances were few and far between in the closing stages. Only a few heated moments, between both sets of players, providing any drama on the pitch.
Ultimately, it was Didsbury that came away from this game disappointed. The performance was dominant and epitomised by the workmanship of midfield general, Neil Creasey. Nevertheless, this will be seen as two points dropped, rather than one point gained.
Words by Jon Turner
Nello James 0
AFC Didsbury 1
Man of the Match: Leighton
AFC Didsbury: Leighton, Musson, Turner, Rogers (Richardson), Jaffray, Mackie, Creasey, Whiteley, Peat (MacHugh), Harrison, McDonald (C) (New).
Dodgy Didsbury Tames Nello James
AFC Didsbury weathered a second half storm at Nello James to grab a goal against the run of play and secure their third win of the season.
The game started in a cagey fashion, with both teams aware of their opponent’s abilities, from the previous seasons' bouts. It was Nello James who were starting to ask questions as the half drew on, utilising their pacey wide men to good effect. Didsbury's keeper, James Leighton, was in imperious form all afternoon however, pulling off numerous saves as his goal was peppered.
Didsbury dropped their 4-3-3 formation in the second half in an attempt to retain possession in the final third, as they struggled to keep the ball out their half.
As the game wore on it became more stretched, and this worked to Nello James' advantage as they counter-attacked a number of times and created several chances. The fact that no Nello goal was forthcoming was as much a testament to the Leighton’s safe hands as it was to some sloppy finishing from the home side's forwards.
Then ten minutes from the end, Ben Jaffray lofted a free-kick lofted into the box, which was then flicked on by Didsbury striker, Matt Harrison. The ball skidded and ricocheted out of the Nello keeper's hands, and Didsbury winger, Rick Peat, was first to react, tucking the ball home for a real smash-and-grab goal for the visitors.
Didsbury did enough in an edgy close to the game, with Nello James kicking themselves at the final whistle.
Words by Matt Harrison
AFC Didsbury 4
Goals: Whiteley (2), Peat, Johnson
Assists: Vasko, Peat, Corbett, New
Man of the Match: Whiteley
AFC Didsbury: Leighton, Jaffray, Turner (Johnson), Battersby (C), Rogers (New), Vasko, Mackie, Whiteley (Musson), Peat, Harrison, Corbett.
Didsbury steamroller shell-shocked Supporters Club
Didsbury produced their finest performance in three years to stun title chasing Manchester United Supporters Club (MUSC) and record their first victory over these opponents.
Didsbury set out their stall early on, playing a high tempo, high pressing game in order to starve MUSC of possession, whilst putting pressure on their normally calm back four.
The game plan couldn’t have worked better in the first half with the defence, midfield and forwards all playing a high line. MUSC’s defence started to crack, with Rick Peat and Pavol Vasko working well to win the ball in the opposition half, before Vasko laid it on a plate for man of the match, Tom Whiteley, to open the scoring within 10 minutes.
Didsbury were continuously applying the pressure and gave the home side very little time on the ball. The Didsbury forwards chased down every loose pass and Peat’s tenacity allowed him to snatch the ball from the dawdling MUSC full back and pick out the marauding Whiteley for his second goal of the game.
With only half an hour on the clock, it looked like Peat had put the game to bed, slotting home after Corbett had hit the post in a truly one sided first half.
MUSC were not going to roll over though, and came out in the second half with intent and purpose. A corner was poorly dealt with by Didsbury and the ball eventually found the back of the net, to bring MUSC back into the game.
Unlike in previous seasons, Didsbury didn’t buckle under the pressure with the back four never really looking troubled. MUSC became more frustrated and the game started to descend into a feisty affair. Both sides were reduced to 10 men and it looked like the more open game could suit MUSC.
However, this was not to be, as two of Didsbury’s substitutes combined well to seal the victory. Gareth New surged down the left wing, cutting the ball back to the edge of the box to see Didsbury veteran, Paul Johnson, curl in from 20 yards to make it 4-1. The game was now well and truly out of reach for the home side and the final whistle blew moments later.
A dominant performance from start to finish against last season’s runners up should hopefully be the springboard Didsbury need to get their season up and running.
Words by John Battersby
AFC Didsbury reach Semi Finals of the Memorial Cup 2013-14
Goals: McDonald, MacHugh, Whiteley, Corbett
Assists: Harrison, Corbett, New, Creasey
Man of the Tournament: Jaffray
AFC Didsbury Squad: Bermingham, Corbett, Creasey, Harrison, Jaffray, Leighton, MacHugh, Mackie, McDonald, Musson, New, Peat, Rogers, Stiff, Whiteley.
The sun was shining and Didsbury were feeling positive, having taken a strong 15 man squad to Turn Moss for the 2013-14 Memorial Cup. Their opening group game, against Turnpike Pirates, saw Didsbury take a 1-0 lead after Matt Harrison’s thunderous header hit the post and captain, Colin McDonald, was on hand to slot away the rebound. Didsbury then controlled the closing moments of the game and came away with the full three points.
Their next opponents, Recreativo Rusholme, failed to create many chances and Didsbury looked the better side for most of the game. The only goal of the match came at the half way stage when Mike Corbett’s shot was palmed away by the opposition goalkeeper and Kieran MacHugh made no mistake on his return to the club.
Didsbury’s penultimate game in the group was against fellow premiership opposition, Halton Juniors. This game was much tighter than the opening fixtures, as neither side wanted to leave themselves too wide open to the counter attack. The key moment of the match came when one of the Halton Juniors players saw red after throwing a punch at Tom Whiteley, which fortunately failed to connect. Corbett could have sealed the victory against the 10 men side, but his attempt to lob the keeper went just over the bar.
The final game of the group was between AFC Didsbury and Division 2 side, Urmston Mens. Didsbury needed 3 points to win the group and progress to the quarter finals and with only 5 minutes remaining in the match, the score remained at 0-0. Didsbury then won a corner, which was whipped in by Gareth New and found the head of Whiteley. His header hit the cross bar and from the referee’s perspective it then crossed the line. Didsbury may admit some good fortune here but it was clear that the right team went on to win the group.
Mancunian Wave were to be Didsbury’s next opponents and the quarter final match turned out to be a fairly competitive encounter. Didsbury edged the possession but their chances were limited. In the final few minutes of the match midfield maestro, Neil Creasey, picked out Corbett who found himself one-on-one. Didsbury’s number 9 made up for his earlier squander by calmly slotting the ball under the body of the onrushing keeper. In the final moments of the match, Mancunian Wave sent their keeper into the box for a last ditch attempt but the free kick was well defended and Didsbury locked down their fifth successive clean sheet.
The semi-final draw saw Didsbury up against a much tougher opponent, in Manchester United Supporters Club. Didsbury could be very pleased with their performance so far in the day but they now appeared tired and struggled to maintain possession in this game. MUSC were knocking the ball around for fun and always looked the more likely to score. Their centre forward broke the deadlock midway through the game but goalkeeper, James Leighton, may feel he could have done better had he got a stronger hand to the ball. Harrison had a chance to level the match in the closing moments but his shot went just over the bar. The game finished 1-0 but Didbsury have many positives to take from the tournament, especially having only conceded 1 goal all day.
AFC Didsbury face Manchester United Supporters Club away in the league next weekend and will be keen to put in a much stronger performance over 90 minutes. This is a now a big week of preparation for the South Manchester club and they will be hopeful that everyone is fit and raring to go by Sunday 6 October.
Words by Adam Musson
Davyhulme Park 2
AFC Didsbury 1
AFC Didsbury: Leighton, Musson, Stiff (Owen) (Trecarichi), Battersby (C), Rogers, McDonald, Creasey, Peat, Vasko, Corbett, New (Corcoran).
MAN OF THE MATCH: Vasko
Didsbury suffer opening day defeat at Davyhulme
The opening goal went in favour of the home side, when Didsbury’s stand-in centre half, Mike Stiff, was dispossessed on the edge of the box. A Davyhulme forward then found himself in acres of space, making no mistake as he buried his shot into the bottom corner of the net.
The match remained competitive but Davyhulme still continued to look the better side. It was evident that Didsbury were getting frustrated at the lack of chances being created and they began to give away a number of silly fouls.
Didsbury’s only real chance of the half fell to Pavol Vasko, who picked up the ball on the right wing and cut inside to hit a powerful shot with his left foot. The ball seemed destined for the top corner but the Davyhulme goalkeeper had other ideas and managed to get a firm hand to it.
Later in the half, Davyhulme had a shot cleared off the line by Didsbury new boy, Jonny Owen, which meant the score remained 1-0 at the interval.
There were very little chances created by either side in the second half but Didsbury were now pressing higher up the pitch, in hope of grabbing an equaliser. However, the next goal fell to the home side after a miscued free kick took a wicked deflection off the Didsbury wall and fell kindly to the Davyhulme centre forward, who couldn’t miss from only three yards out.
Didsbury then decided to go three at the back, hopeful that they could still claw back a result. As the clock ran into injury time, Neil Creasey picked out Vasko, who neatly rounder the keeper and smashed his shot into the back of the net. Unfortunately, this turned out to be nothing but a consolation goal, as the final whistle blew moments later.
The best team won on this occasion but Didsbury still have lots of positives to take from the match and will hope to pick up their first points of the season at home to Fallowfield next weekend.
Words by Adam Musson
Moss Side 3 - 1 AFC Didsbury
AFC Didsbury: Leighton, Musson, Stiff, Bishop (C), McDonald, Schmidt (Trecarichi), Saxon, Creasey, Harrison, Berté, MacHugh (Connolly).
Man of the Match: Bishop
Rolling Stones Gather No Moss
With Premiership survival now guaranteed, AFC Didsbury were looking to upset the balance of the MASFL pyramid by beating the dominant force of Moss Side Old House in a league fixture - a feat reported to be last achieved by another MASFL team over 10 seasons ago.
Early possession was used well by Didbsury, who carved openings
on a couple of occasions but failed to really test the Moss Side
A swirling north-westerly wind meant headaches for defensive lines, and makeshift Didsbury centre-back duo, Mike Stiff and Chris Bishop, were kept on their toes by their pacey opponents. Didsbury looked to be weathering the worst of it, with the gangly playmaker Luke Berté providing the outlet more often than not.
The pressure told after 25 minutes however, with the Moss Side front pair combining with a neat flick-on and diagonal run. The no.10 was bearing down on goal when a last-ditch lunge brought him crashing to the ground. The referee had no choice but to point to the spot, murmurings in the crowd rightly questioning the decision to allow the centre back to continue his endeavours un-carded.
A decisive penalty ensued, and Didsbury's confidence took a visible knock as they contemplated trying to get back in the tie.
As the first half wore-on, Moss Side began turning the screw, with attackers down both wings starting to smell blood. A second Moss Side penalty was awarded when left-back Colin McDonald appeared to handle the ball as he tussled with his opponent in the area. Visibly aggrieved at the decision, McDonald promptly removed his shirt and stormed toward the changing rooms before being dissuaded of leaving by his team mates. He returned to the pitch just in time to see the second penalty despatched as confidently as the first;
2-0 at the break.
The wind was literally in Moss Side's sails in a second half, which saw Didsbury struggle to hold possession and the home side bagged a third goal from a lofted ball in behind the Didsbury back-line. The Moss Side captain and no. 9 finding room to set-up his colleague for a precise header. Although Didsbury keeper James Leighton pulled-off a string of fine saves throughout the game, he could only watch as this effort nestled inside his right-hand post.
The Didsbury forwards, particularly Berté and Kieran MacHugh, continued to work tirelessly, and on another day may have been luckier with some tight offside decisions. With 15 minutes left on the clock, a perfectly-timed run and deftly-lobbed finish from substitute Paul Trecarichi, gave the the away side a glimmer of hope; although you always felt Moss Side had another gear they could use if needs be.
3-1 the result and Moss Side’s reign continues. AFC Didsbury do get another bite at the cherry before the season's end; they'll need to improve on this performance if they hope for a sunnier Sunday morning.
Words by Matt Harrison
Lass O Gowrie 0 - 3 AFC Didbsury
AFC Didsbury: Leighton, Mackie (Musson), Johnson, Battersby (C) (Rogers), Jaffray, Rushton (Stiff), Bishop, Creasey, McDonald, Harrison, Corbett.
Goals: Harrison (2), Bishop
Assists: Corbett, Stiff, Creasey
Man of the Match: Harrison
Didsbury Dip Not 'Furlong'
AFC Didsbury finally chalked three points on the MASFL Premier Division board after a second half of the season they'd rather forget. Results in recent weeks have been telling after some below-par displays but a measured performance against long-running rivals Lass O Gowrie should give the Didsbury confidence going into a tough run-in to the close of the season.
The omens always looked good for the south-Manchester outfit. They ominated early possession and when no. 9, Mike Corbett, cushioned a lofted through ball back to strike partner Matt Harrison, stood forty yards from goal, the striker didn't hesitate in unleashing a measured out-swinging half-volley, which looped over the helpless Lass' 'keeper into the top-left corner of the goal.
As the first half progressed Lass' probed the AFCD defence with numerous through-balls and long-throws, but centre halves Paul Johnson and John Battersby were in dominant form, limiting Lass' to a pair of chances outside the box; both being weakly executed and gratefully received by Didsbury’s 'keeper, James Leighton.
The second half saw further chances for Didsbury, with the Lass O Gowrie goalie pulling off a string of fine saves. However, the pressure soon told and, as substitute Mike Stiff rose above the back post crowd to nod the ball across goal, Harrison was on hand to secure his brace with a tap-in.
Didsbury secured the points four minutes later when midfield general, Chris Bishop, rifled low and hard into the right side of the net.
The only sour point to the game was the loss of Colin McDonald to a knee injury which has nagged him all season. It didn't look too serious and hopefully for him the substitution was just a precaution as he shows great promise when fit and playing in his pomp.
Didsbury now have three games remaining as their inaugural MASFL Premier League season reaches its climax on 7th May.
Words by Matt Harrison
Davyhulme Park 2 - 2 AFC Didsbury
AFC Didbsury: Leighton, Musson, Johnson, Battersby (C), Jaffray, Mackie, Richardson, Berté, MacHugh (Trecarichi), McDonald, Corbett (Eaves).
Goals: MacHugh, McDonald
Man of the Match: Richardson
Didsbury denied by Davyhulme
Windy conditions and a heavy pitch provided the ingredients for a true Sunday League encounter, which was certainly not a game for the spectators.
After a recent run of bad form, it was the away side, Didsbury, who seemed most up for the fight and enjoyed the territorial advantage for the majority of the first half. However, it was not until the 40th minute that this pressure was converted into goals and this arrived courtesy of a well struck, Kieran MacHugh free kick, which seemed to wrong foot the Davyhulme goalkeeper and sailed into the net.
After the break Didsbury continued to dominate and soon added a second goal. A quick counter attack resulted in a low cross from the right wing; the cross was only partially cleared into the path of the onrushing Colin McDonald, whose low strike found the bottom corner. McDonald will be thrilled to be on the score sheet again, after injury has significantly restricted his game time this
At 2-0, Didsbury continued to dominate the game and created further chances. Davyhulme had their goal keeper to thank for 2 excellent saves, one following an ambitious run from full back, Adam Musson, and the other from goal hungry
The turning point came in the last 10 minutes of the match when a hopeful Davyhulme cross held up in the wind and deceived the Didsbury defence, this allowed their forward to score with a well taken header.
The equaliser came deep into stoppage time, when poor marking at the back post from a long throw in allowed Davyhulme to score with a brave
Davyhulme celebrated the 2-2 draw like they had won the game and ultimately Didsbury were left rueing the unconverted chances which would have sealed the victory.
With only 4 league games remaining, Didsbury must work hard to
ensure they end the season in a similar style to how they started it.
Words by Ben Jaffray
Moss Side 6 - 4 AFC Didsbury
AFC Didsbury: Leighton, Mackie, Johnson, Battersby (C), Jaffray, MacHugh (Quaye), Bishop, Creasey, Harrison, Berté, Corbett.
Goals: Corbett (2), Creasey, Harrison
Assists: Creasey, Berte, Corbett
Man of the Match: Corbett
A goal-laden encounter between the unbeaten favourites and newly
promoted Didsbury ended up in a ten-goal blockbuster.
A huge build-up to the game came from the fact that Didsbury were pitted against a Moss Side outfit who have gone nearly ten years without losing a competitive league fixture, something Didsbury were desperate to remedy.
Pre-match nerves were soon soothed when man-of-the-match, Mike Corbett, capitalised on a sloppy back pass, rounded the keeper and slotted home to put Didsbury into a deserved lead. Didsbury did not hold onto the lead for long though, as a routine set-piece from Moss Side was not dealt with and the scores were level.
Shortly after, came the goal of the game. Neat one-touch football between Neil Creasey and Matt Harrison set Creasy loose in the box, and he took the ball in his stride to back heel it into the path of Corbett, who finished emphatically into the far corner.
Then, came drama. The impressive Luke Berté was set free and bearing down on goal, when the Moss Side keeper callously tripped him up. An obvious penalty, and despite denying a clear goal scoring opportunity, the referee decided to keep his cards in his pocket. Unperturbed by the controversy, Creasy stepped up to despatch the penalty and Didsbury were 3-1 up. Dreamland.
However, nightmares followed, and mistakes led to two goals being conceded before half-time, and it was 3-3 at the break.
The myth of Moss Side gone, Didsbury started the second half strongly, and Harrison got on the score sheet when he was found by Corbett at the near post, and he calmly put Didsbury back in the lead.
The threat of set pieces from Moss Side however remained and from then, two finishes of the highest quality, put them in the lead for the first time in the game. With no option left but attack, Didsbury stuck free-scoring centre back and captain, John Battersby, up front. The plan almost work, but Battersby’s footwork did not match his positive positioning or movement and two chances went begging.
Moss side scored a sixth, and the score could have been worse but a penalty given away by Mackie was skied.
In the end, a gallant defeat, one that will go down as a glorious failure but ultimately one that will be a disappointment for the travelling side.
Words by Ollie Quaye