AFC Didsbury: Leighton, Mackie (Bermingham), Johnson, Whiteley, Jaffray, Lee, Harrison (C), Kilgour (García García), Menghini (New), Corbett, Kennedy.
GOALS: Harrison, Menghini, Whiteley ASSISTS: Kennedy (2), New MAN OF THE MATCH: Leighton
Didsbury Bank their Place in the Quarter Finals
On a misty morning, so cold John Snow and the Nightswatch would have had to put an extra pair of socks on, AFC Didsbury, prepared to take on Firbank of Division 2 in the JA Kennedy Cup.
With manager, Adam Musson, hoping the ‘magic of the cup’ would not strike another footballing giant and he’d be left doing his best Mourinho impression, AFC Didsbury set about their task. Early signs showed that he needn’t of worried with luxury centre forward Matt Kennedy pulling the best from Firbank’s No1 twice in the opening few minutes. The first a tip over the bar from a superb left footed shot from 25 yards out, after the defence had backed off in awe. The second from point blank range as Kennedy had brought the ball down and athletically volleyed after some pin ball action from a corner.
Didsbury continued to pile on the pressure and 15 minutes in, they had their reward. Another corner was sent into the box, which the away side failed to clear and Kennedy from the edge of the box, threaded a pass through two onrushing players into Matt Harrison’s feet, who finished from 6 yards. 5 minutes later, once again Kennedy turned provider, after some neat work down the wing with Jonathan Mackie, Kennedy found himself on the by-line. With a swish of his right wand, Kennedy sent in an arcing ball for which Wembley Stadium or ‘Joan of’ would have been proud of. Arriving at the back post was Ross Menghini who finished from 10 yards.
In the later stages of the first half Firbank grew into the game, cutting out the supply to Kennedy, and keeping the ball well in mid-field but for all their good play could only forge a couple of chances, which were wasted thanks to poor finishing and a great save from Leighton.
AFC Didsbury are renowned for their charity work and 5 minutes into the 2nd half Musson continued this trend into the match by substituting Kennedy, but not before he tested the keeper once more, Firbank’s No1 again coming to their rescue getting a toe to a Kennedy flick after a superb ball from Spanish Ladies’ man García García.
In the second half Didsbury failed to get out of second gear, which invited pressure from the away team. As the half went on Firbank found their shooting boots, but as they did, Leighton continued to be a brick wall and despite having the distribution of a blind postman, he was plucking saves out from the top draw and keeping Didsbury’s lead intact. Even after Didsbury increased the deficit when Tom Whiteley tapped in from a corner, Leighton was on hand to save Harrison’s blushes with an excellent penalty save from little Charlton.
Firbank rallied to get a deserved consolation goal and just like all those Friday night Babestation sessions, this spoilt Leighton’s dreams of keeping a clean sheet. Winter cobwebs were blown away and Didsbury march on to the next round.