AFC Didsbury 4
Goals: Corbett (3)
Assists: Vasko, Whiteley, Harrison, Corbett
Man of the Match: Corbett
Dominant Didsbury Dismantle Fallowfield
AFC Didsbury entertained fellow Premiership opposition, Fallowfield, in the preliminary round for the John Old Cup, in what many have dubbed the middle-class derby.
Being their first game in three weeks and their first at Simon Fields since December, Didsbury were understandably slow out the blocks, failing to keep hold of possession, perhaps trying to be too ambitious in their attempts to play the ‘beautiful’ game. However, the defence held firm, Fallowfield not having the cutting edge to punish South Manchester’s finest.
They were made to rue their missed half chances; first Colin McDonald rampaged down the left flank flashing a shot across goal, only to be denied by the right-hand post. Pavol Vasko then found space down the opposite flank and squared to Mike Corbett, who scuffed his first attempt before reacting quickly to bury the rebound. Semi-clinical.
Didsbury sniffed blood as they streamed forward and within minutes they had made it 2-0; patient build up across the defence and midfield dragged the opponents out of position allowing midfield general, Tom Whiteley, to find himself ‘between the lines’. Anyone who watches MOTD knows that’s how to beat teams. He duly capitalised by fizzing a ball to Corbett whose cushioned first touch took him through on goal, before he then beat the retreating centre half and wrong-footed the keeper from 18 yards. Tesco bags and Greyhounds arses all round again.
Delicately delivered crosses from everyone’s third-favourite right-back (potentially fourth), Adam Musson, and another unlikely source, left-back Ben Jaffray, caused temporary mayhem in the Fallowfield penalty area. Didsbury started to punish their opponents who began to submit, metaphorically apeaking of course.
They played their part in their next downfall as they failed in attempts to clear their lines allowing Matty ‘Garry Goals’ Harrison to bring the ball down with the elegance and grace of a lone swan parading the Cumbrian Lakes. He proceeded to jink his way past the opposing full back, who was left with no option other than to drag him down for a stonewall penalty. Corbett stepped up, giving the keeper ‘the eyes’ to send him the wrong way and completed a first half hat-trick, making it 3-0 at HT. Demoralising.
What the first half lacked was Fallowfield scoring. They rectified that to their credit after the interval, pressurising Didsbury possession and after missing a good chance within a minute they scored their opening goal soon after when the ball was worked to the far stick for their striker to slot home. Before that, they hadn’t really tested Didsbury debutant Gary Clucas, in the Didsbury goal but the home side needed to be wary of an unlikely fight-back, maintain focus and probe away in attack. What they needed was to restore their 3 goal advantage and afford themselves breathing space.
Cometh the hour, cometh the man. A free-kick was launched into the Fallowfield box from deep, the ball dropped to Corbett, approximately 5.5 yards out who, with the goal gaping and under no pressure whatsoever, blazed over the bar. T**t
Despite the glaring miss, Didsbury continued to press high up the pitch limiting their opponents to long balls forward which were dealt with well by the centre-back pairing of Jon Turner, in his final game, and captain, John Battersby, both making mesmerising meandering runs forwards on occasion as the Fallowfield midfield and defence parted.
Further half chances fell to Mike Hay whose shot was well saved by the opposing keeper and Corbett unselfishly tried to tee up Gaz New up in the box however it was left to the Anglo-Slovak, Vasko, to kill the tie off.
Corbett laid the ball off to Vasko who nodded the ball into his stride and slotted home despite the amateur attempts of the Fallowfield full-backs to put him off. Ice cool.
The visitors continued to chip away and added a further consolation, making it 4-2, following a ricochet on the edge of the box, however Didsbury were, at this stage playing in first gear – noted by the number of pirouettes from the classy Luke Berté – controlling the game to the close.
A good team performance, given the soft underfoot conditions and rustiness
following recent postponements, ensuring Didsbury remain on the road to Flixton. Incentive enough.
Words by Mike Corbett