Hot on the heels of their 12-0 drubbing of D&C Athletic, AFC Didsbury 2’s were in a confident mood from the off. Immediately from kick-off that confidence was on display after the ball was rolled back to Will Westall who intricately outwitted his opposite number before calling ‘MEGS’ to deservedly claim the plaudits for champagne moment – unfortunately that was only one of a few notable moments for the hosts.
During the first quarter, neither side were able to claim a stronghold in the game and both reduced each other to very few chances. However, Thom Bannister lost sight of a shot that swerved sharper than a fat bloke avoiding salad, which resulted in the visitors claiming a lead they narrowly merited.
Following the opening goal, AFC Didsbury 2’s were made to soak up more pressure from Great Moor United who were taking advantage of Claude Birtwistle’s ‘options ball’ type passing methods from the back, which merely found a willing green shirt. Aside from this, the champagne guzzler (Westall) himself was stewing up a tasty battle with his earlier foe down on the left flank with a few unsavoury verbal and physical exchanges (some would say slapping, others would argue this was foreplay) as a result of several well contested challenges between both parties. Westall even told his fellow competitor in a fired up, ancient Roman style fashion – “you can't stop the train when she's going in a straight line!”.
AFCD 2’s manfully rode the Great Moor United (GMU) storm or what some might call a gust of Hough End playing fields leaves to begin to create one or two openings themselves. Two good chances were squandered by the hosts. The first saw Chris Kelly cleverly outfox three whooping defenders down the left touch line before cutting a delicious low cross into the box for the oncoming attackers to get anything on the ball – but failed. Second, a rather fortuitous misdirected pass found Andy Williamson through on goal but Jack Simpson, returning from the tram stop behind the goal, gracefully saved the referee from having to deal with the ‘greyest’ area in football (except possibly his own hair) by blatantly touching the ball so that an offside could comfortably be called. With half-time approaching, GMU struck a lucky second goal amid countless attacking threats from the home side, which left AFC Didsbury 2’s with some different questions to answer at the half-way point.
No changes in personnel, a small shift in shape to 4-3-3 at half-time and the fact they were chasing the game meant that AFC Didsbury 2’s started the second half strongly. The most notable moment in the 3rd quarter was undoubtedly James Plowright’s challenge on GMU’s only change at half time, which I believe he is still air bound waiting to land from as soon as officials at Manchester Airport can allocate a slot for an unexpected landing. Amazing only a yellow was shown for the tackle and no words to condemn the situation were offered by the referee to the opposition management for the initial part in the East Cheshire Sunday Football League ‘Royal Rumble’.
Several substitutions were made by the host bench in a bid to recover from their narrow deficit – where was David Cameron when you need him? Chances were coming thick and fast for the lime greens until Jake Coleman forgot what colour shirt he had on and his cutting edge pass expertly found the opposition forward with only Birtwistle on his back foot and the keeper Bannister to beat, which he unfortunately did. Belief amongst the South Manchester team was quashed in a single moment and despite one or two late opportunistic chances flashing wide, gaining anything from the game had become beyond their reach. But, there was always time to tend to unfinished business. Two 50/50 decisions went in Didsbury’s favour amid a late counter attack from GMU, which led to a horrific swipe from the opposing midfield. Queue the ‘Royal Rumble’. An attempted headbutt by Humpy Dumpty’s convicted brother set the emotions of both party alight. Ollie Quaye in particular losing his cool before offering their manager, coach and player out… For a Sunday roast with all the trimmings. A fitting end to the game.
Words by Jake Coleman
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