AFC Didsbury 2
Davyhulme Park 3
Goals: Creasey, Battersby
Assists: Harrison, Creasey
Man of the Match: Creasey
AFC Didsbury: Leighton, Musson (Bermingham), Turner, Battersby (C), Mackie, Vasko (Peat), Whiteley (Corcoran), Creasey, McDonald, Harrison, Corbett.
AFC Didsbury were unfortunate to find themselves on the losing side, in a hard-fought encounter, against table toppers Davyhulme Park, at Simon Field.
Didsbury were the quickest out of the blocks, carving out an opportunity in the opening minute. After good pressing from kick off, the ball was stolen in midfield before being worked out to Matty Harrison, who's teasing cross wasn't cleared by the Davyhulme defence and fell to Neil Creasey to a slot home from 12 yards.
The visitors worked their way back into the game with a period of sustained pressure, looking dangerous from set pieces and it was through this route that they managed an equaliser. A header was blocked at a corner and fell to an opponent who was able to stab home from within the six yard box.
The home side continued to look a threat on the counter, with Pavol Vasko often getting the better of the opposing left back. However, both midfields dominated the majority of play for the remainder of the half.
Didsbury again started brightly in the second half, Tom Whiteley heading over from a Mike Corbett free-kick, before Harrison skewed a chance in the box
after Whiteley got on the end of another Corbett cross.
Tempers flared briefly soon after, following a committed challenge by Colin McDonald. The Davyhulme number 10 threatened to munch on McDonald's ear and threw a punch lazier than Froch's jab. He was, however, to make the next major contribution and made Didsbury pay for their missed opportunities.
Davyhulme worked the ball through to their number 9 who managed to round James Leighton and square to the number 10 who stroked home.
It wasn't long until parity was deservedly restored when Didsbury captain, John Battersby, turned home a free kick from man of the match, Creasey. From there, Didsbury, and in particular, the centre half pairing of Battersby and Jon Turner, contained every attacking foray from the visiting side. However, their hard work was undone by a dubious and controversial offside call that allowed the Davyhulme striker through on goal and score the games' decisive
In the dying minutes, John Corcoran found himself free in the box and looked likely to salvage a point for the hosts, only to see his shot saved by the feet of the keeper and the 3 points taken by the visitors.
A spirited display from Didsbury, who deserved a point, but instead must take something from their next fixture to end the year on a high note.
Words by Mike Corbett
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
AFC Didsbury 1
Sierra Stars 2
AFC Didsbury: Leighton, Rogers, Johnson, Battersby (C), Bermingham, Peat (New), Creasey, Whiteley, McDonald, Harrison, Corcoran.
Man of the Match: Battersby
AFC Didsbury slumped to a 2-1 defeat against Sierra Stars, after leading for much of the game.
Brimming with confidence after their positive result last week, Didsbury started the match brightly, taking the game to Sierra stars and causing the defence problems. The early pressure paid off when Matthew Harrison latched
onto a Tom Whiteley through ball - the Sierra keeper could only parry Harrison's shot into the path of John Corcoran, who coolly slotted home from eight yards out.
Continuing their early dominance, Didsbury were unlucky not to go two-up a minute later when some good work down the right by Rick Peat led to another great chance, which was volleyed inches over from 12 yards by Whiteley. The Didsbury forward four of Colin McDonald, Peat, Harrison and Corcoran persisted to work hard throughout the first half, creating opportunities, pressuring the Sierra back line, and probably should have extended the lead as a result of their good work.
As the first half wore on, however, the real stars of the show for Didsbury proved to be their four defenders. Club captain and man of the match, John Battersby, marshalled the line superbly, and the Sierra Stars forwards were forced to feed off scraps up until the end of the half.
Didsbury went into the break very much on top, and looking the more likely side to push on in the second half and add to their tally.
Whatever was said by the manager of the Sierra Stars at half-time seemed to work however, and the second half of the match took on a completely different tone, with Sierra exerting real dominance, retaining the ball well, and limiting Didsbury to a counter attacking display.
Having said this, the Didsbury defence continued to stand firm, and for all of their possession, Sierra never really threatened James Leighton in the Didsbury goal. The home side should probably have even put the game out of reach mid-way through the second half with several excellent breakaway opportunities, all of which were squandered by when the attackers really should have done better.
With 15 minutes to go, and Didsbury still hanging on to their slender lead, Sierra managed to break down the defence with a slick passing move, which ended with some good footwork and a cultured finish from the Sierra forward - a forward who if the FA took talk sport's advice on punishing divers, would be facing a retrospective 6-game ban for an outrageous attempt to con the referee into giving him a penalty just minutes before his goal.
Sierra, now clearly sensing the opportunity for all three points, piled on the pressure. Almost immediately, they won the ball in midfield, and crossed a deep ball into the box. Confusion reigned within the battle-weary defence, and a late run from the Sierra forward was rewarded with the winning goal.
The game became very open during the last 10 minutes, with further opportunities for both sides to score, however Sierra managed to hold on for a deserved three points and a first win against AFC Didsbury in their history.
Didsbury must now look to pick themselves up and work hard to put this result right in the Memorial Cup next weekend. I'm sure they can do it.
Words by Tom Whiteley
AFC Didsbury 3
AFC Didsbury: Leighton, Mackie (Bermingham), Johnson, Battersby (C), Jaffray, Vasko (New), McDonald, Whiteley, Peat (Hay), Harrison, Corbett (Corcoran).
Goals: Whiteley, Harrison, Corbett
Assists: Vasko, Whiteley, Hay
Man of the Match: Whiteley
Didsbury settle into their new home by putting three past Fallowfield
After an opening day defeat, Didsbury were keen to make sure that they took the full three points from their first competitive game at their new home on Ford Lane.
Goalkeeper, James Leighton, was simply a spectator in the first half, as Fallowfield failed to hit a single shot on target. Didsbury’s Rick Peat came close after half an hour, as his shot from 30 yards forced the Fallowfield goalkeeper into making a full stretch save. However, the deadlock wasn’t broken until deep into the half when winger, Pavol Vasko, played the ball through to midfielder, Tom Whiteley, who opened up his body and curled his shot into the top right corner of the net.
The score remained 1 nil at the break, but soon into the second half man of the match, Whiteley, found himself in the opposition box and neatly fed the ball through to Didsbury’s number ten, Matt Harrison, who calmly side footed into the bottom corner.
Didsbury were clearly starting to get into their stride now and continued to create a number of good chances. Harrison was left red faced when he was presented with a golden opportunity from five yards out, but the striker couldn’t hit the target and his shot ricocheted off the post.
Didsbury made a number of changes in the final stages of the match and substitute, Mike Hay, seemed to make an almost instant impact. He used his pace well down the right flank and his cross found Mike Corbett in space in the box. Corbett’s first shot was saved but he was first to react to the rebound and made no mistake with his follow up attempt.
Three goals and a clean sheet was the sort of result that Didsbury had hoped for from this fixture and will certainly fill them with confidence going into their next game.
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
AFC Didsbury 0 - 5 Moss Side
AFC Didsbury: Leighton, Mackie, Rogers, Johnson, McDonald (C), Wallace (Harrison) (Bermingham), Creasey, Berté, MacHugh (New), Trecarichi (Stiff).
Man of the Match: Mackie
Didsbury knocked for five.
Didsbury couldn't stop Moss Side claiming the championship in their penultimate game of the season.
The match started off in an even contest with both teams sharing possession of the ball. The opening goal was out of keeping of the style of play both teams started with. A deep cross was floated to the back post for Moss Side's giant
striker to nod an easy header in from 5 yards.
The game went from bad to worse when a second, albeit fortunate, goal was scored. The ball rattled round the Didsbury box and fell kindly for a Moss Side player to meet the ball with an acrobatic bicycle kick, which nestled into the top corner.
The opening spell of the second half saw an early free kick scored and then a well taken finish by Moss Side to go 4-0 up.
The life was taken out of Didsbury by now and the fifth was only a matter of time, a ball over the top, with the striker, not picked up by the referee, seeming to be 5 yards offside. He took the ball in his stride and squared it to an on rushing winger to make it five.
Didsbury have one game remaining and a win will secure 3rd place, providing Manchester United Supporters Club beat Nello James. Results have certainly been disappointing in 2013, after such a bright start to the season. However, a 3rd place finish in only their first season in the top flight, would certainly provide Didsbury with a strong platform to build on for next season.
Words by Jonathan Mackie