afc didsbury 1 vs heaton mersey cc fc / ecsfl division 1 (16/10/16 - didsbury sports ground, didsbury)
AFC DIDSBURY: Leighton, L Darlington, Bolas (Walker), Battersby (C), Mackie (Quinn), McDonald, Kilgour, Menghini, M Darlington (Ferguson), Vasko, Smith.
GOALS: Smith (2), Battersby
ASSISTS: Ferguson, M Darlington
MAN OF THE MATCH: Smith
DIDSBURY KEEP THE HEAT-ON TO RESCUE A POINT
It was an overcast day in Manchester. As the players started to arrive at the stadium the forecast for heavy rain materialised as the high heavens opened. Not the weather of choice for many professional footballers in the modern era, but for the seasoned Sunday morning players this was perfect.
Much had been said about the physical attributes of Heaton Mersey FC. If the rumors were to be true, the opposing team would have been made up of police escorted skin head youths with facial tear drop tattoos - having served a minimum of 5 years in prison – turning up only for a fight. However, this was not the case. A team of gentlemen in-fact.
The AFC Didsbury resident DJ heard the rumors and decided to combat the team’s fears of the opposition by turning up the volume and dropping a few DMX numbers. Pre-match team talk from the gaffer revolved around the system - and with the plan of attack fresh in the players minds they headed for the tunnel as kick off approached.
AFC Didsbury had the better of the possession in the opening period creating a few half chances. It was clear from the start however that the opposition wanted to get the ball down and play. With 12 minutes gone on the clock the opposition momentarily lost concentration, paving the way for Jonathan Mackie to make a darting run from left back and go one vs one with the keeper. The whole team held their breath – a certain goal surely – Mackie opened up the inside of his foot before caressing the ball into the River Mersey – 50p fine.
Without going into too much detail AFC Didsbury gave away two soft goals. A lapse of concentration from Paul Pogbas number one fan Col Pogba and the surrounding defenders resulted in a score line of 0-2 (Col – 50p). It was now an uphill battle to get anything from the game at this point but with the quality of the players on the pitch, certainly not an impossible task.
The referee blew for half time. 0-2 to the visitors. The gaffer was fuming on the side-line. With the score line at 0-2, manager Adam Musson knew there was only one option to turn this game around – that was to take the Neil Warnock Shrewsbury 1995 half time team talk approach - https://youtu.be/kQtWVcFpvHg.
Two half time substitutions of Conor Quinn and Adam Ferguson coming on seemed to make the difference, as the second half got under way.
A lofted ball from Ferguson was met by AFC Didsbury’s Ross Menghini who flicked the ball on (via a defender's shin - no assist!) for Kieran Smith. A good first touch from Smith enabled a shot at goal which flew past the keeper into the bottom corner. 1-2 game on.
Moments later Ferguson received the ball in the middle of the park – out of the corner of his eye he saw Smith make a curved run behind their defence. With a perfectly weighted pass, Smith received the ball before using his strength, flexing his muscles and slotting the ball in the back of the net for his second. 2-2.
15 minutes from the end Heaton Mersey had a powerful shot at goal, which was well saved by AFC Didsbury’s goalkeeper James Leighton. However, Didsbury failed to clear the ball – resulting in a classic goal mouth scramble. Time converted into slow motion as both team ran towards the ball 3 yards from Didsbury’s goal line. However, before any player got within one yard of the ball the moment was cut short by the sound of the whistle. Penalty. A very questionable decision. 2-3.
The clock was ticking – AFC Didsbury got a freekick in injury time inside the oppositions half. Matt Darlington stepped up – he knew there was not long left on the clock. Darlington sent a beautifully curved ball into the box – aiming for a Didsbury head. Chaos ensued in the box as the opposing teams fought for position. The goal keeper left his line to punch the ball out of touch, when out of nowhere captain John Battersby leapt like a salmon, meeting the ball mid-air and caressing it into the oppositions net. 3-3.
Words by Adam Ferguson
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