AFC DIDSBURY: Bannister, Simpson (Blackburn), Birtwistle, Hield, Bermingham (Westall), Kelly (Cook), Kennedy (C), Wallace, Williamson (Rouf), New, Adcock (Gowrie).
GOALS: Kelly, New ASSISTS: Adcock, Kennedy MAN OF THE MATCH: New THE SECONDS FIND THEIR GROOVE AGAINST THE GROVE
The dawn of a new day in AFC Didsbury history as the 2nd team arrived for its first competitive game, fresh from our parents uploading photo’s to Facebook of us all in our new kit in front of the front door. As we each tried to match the face to name on Teamer™ (still doing this as I write this report) in changing room the excitement built, after a great pre-season hopes and expectations were high.
Captain for the day Matt Kennedy took the warm up and the 2nd half of the Didsbury tic tac dream team started to get ready for battle on the meadow that is Hough End, as our injured Spanish left back took selfies in his new AFC jumper (or a photo of a tree, reports vary) our opponents arrived.
Kennedy won the toss and elected to change ends for giggles and good luck, the last time Didsbury had played on this ‘pitch’ was a very successful Kenners debut a couple of seasons ago… good times.
Despite the excitement it was the away side that made the first impression on the match with Thorpedo Grove’s star player hitting the post from 25yards out with a nicely struck curling effort. This was a sign of things to come in the first half as Didsbury showed typical ‘first game of the season’ traits in their play. However, the only thing Didsbury did have was cutting edge and broke clear of the groves defence on 2 occasions, the first following some sustained pressure from The Grove, the home side broke quickly from a corner and Chris Kelly powered through from a Jack Adcock through ball to calmly slot home past the on rushing keeper. The second Adcock was involved again out muscling his marker to go clear and side foot it past the keeper…and the goal…and the tram station…and the M60. It was Adcock’s last involvement as injury or embarrassment took hold.
Didsbury continued to restrict Thorpedo, which the more I type the more I realise is the most ridiculous name, Grove to long range shots which were as easy to deal with as a 4 pinter of milk on the sofa for new recruit Thom Bannister. Half Time.
Half time was quiet, too quiet, Didsbury knew they need to improve and so the management rang the changes. Kennedy up front, Jack Wallace to centre mid and Dave ‘weak veins’ Gowrie on for Adcock.
It took 5 minutes after half time for the changes to take hold Didsbury’s play to improve, keeping hold of the ball better and looking more solid in centre midfield. The game then became more of a battle for centre ground with neither team creating clear cut chances, Bannister saving anything long range and pouncing on anything played through the defence to earn his 45minute shower when he got home.
Wallace and Gareth New hounded the Thorpedo (HA!) Grove players constantly and late in the second half Didsbury had they’re reward. A heroic slide rule ball down the channel from Gowrie was back heeled to Kennedy by the overlapping Kelly, Kennedy, disobeying all his natural instinct laid the ball through the centre backs to Gareth New who was free at the far post. New calmly took 4 touches and smashed it past the keeper and covering defender to make it 2-0.
Soon after, the final whistle was blown and it was the end of a very even game. I wouldn’t quite call it a smash and grab but Didsbury definitely rode their luck at times with quality in the final third nudgging us past our opponents. Someone famous once said it was the sign of a good team to not be 100% and still win, onwards and upwards for AFCD2s.
Words by Matt Kennedy
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