AFC DIDSBURY: Leighton, L Darlington, Bolas, McDonald (C), Ward, Williams, Harrison, Peat (Agyeman), Menghini, English, Smith.
GOALS: Menghini (2), Bolas, English ASSISTS: Smith (2), English MAN OF THE MATCH: Harrison
DIDSBURY ON POINT AGAINST POYNTON FC
After a recent run of poor results, AFC Didsbury were looking to get back to winning ways against a buoyed Poynton side, who in contrast had recently been in good fettle with a shock result against undefeated league leaders, High Lane. On a fine day and with one or two Aintree hangovers lurking, the Gaffer's instructions were clear. This was a must win game!
Didsbury started positively, setting the tempo to the game and immediately causing problems for the away team. It didn’t take long for the home side to break the deadlock, Kieran Smith provided the assist by whipping in a cross to find Ross Menghini, who took a fine first touch then coolly slotted home past the oncoming Keeper, 1-0.
Didsbury soon made it 2-0 when Joel English delivered an inviting corner for Warren Bolas, who bears a remarkable resemblance to Gareth Barry, to tower above his man and nod home.
The back four of Lloyd Darlington, Garth Barry, Colin McDonald & Tom Ward were looking a solid unit and you’d be hard pressed to find a better looking back line in Sunday league football :-)
Matt Harrison and Stu Williams were providing the intensity in midfield and dictating the play. English and Rick Peat were providing some neat foot work on the wings and Smith was working tirelessly up top, bullying the opposition centre halves.
The third goal came when Harrison won the ball in midfield and the front two combined once again, Smith supplying Menghini for his second of the game with another quality finish to make it 3-0.
Moments later, Didsbury were awarded a free kick about 20 yards out from goal. Williams and English stood over the ball and English unleashed a magnificent Beckham-esque curling strike up over the wall for the games champagne moment... Top Bin!
Shortly before half time Poynton were applying some pressure and were awarded a free kick on the edge of the area. The Didbsbury wall were warned by the referee to keep their hands down but Peat decided to completely ignore this advice and raised his arm to protect his face. As the ball struck, the ref immediately blew for a penalty. Poynton were odds on to pull one back before half time but were thwarted by James Leighton, who produced a fine low save to his left to deny Poynton. 4-0 the half time score line and Didsbury were in complete control.
Adam Musson’s half time team talk was a call for more of the same, to maintain the intensity and to keep on the front foot. Having sustained an injury during the first half, Leighton was replaced by Matt Kennedy, who hastily stripped from his civvies to fill the big man’s gloves. Peat was replaced by Eugene Agyeman to provide a pair of fresh legs down the right flank.
In the second half Didsbury completely took the foot off the gas and the away team came out of the blocks much sharper and were mounting pressure on the home side. It seemed as if the Grand National hangovers were really beginning to kick in. Poynton soon scored 2 well deserved goals in reply and had Didsbury up against the ropes.
Eventually the home side began to get back into their stride and broke down the right flank, Agyeman beating his marker and squaring the ball into the 6 yard box for Smith to tap into the net. However, much to the home side’s dismay, the referee disallowed the goal for ‘playing the ball forward’. A questionable decision, which will surely leave the promising young referee referring back to his rule book. It was also questionable whether or not Williams was old enough to be his dad!
Poynton desperately tried to push for a third to make it a nervy finish and it seemed likely to get one following a goal mouth scramble, had it not been for some resolute defending with Harrison clearing the ball off the goal line.
As footballing clichés go, this was certainly a game of 2 halves and question marks will be raised regarding the team’s fitness and second half performances of late. However, the home side’s clinical finishing in the first half was enough to see the game out with a much needed victory.
Words by Stuart Williams
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