AFC Didsbury: Leighton, Wallace (Owen), Whiteley, Mackie, Jaffray, Lee (Hay), Harrison (C), Creasey, Corcoran (New), Berté, Vasko.
Goals: Berté, Corcoran, Whiteley, Creasey Assists: Jaffray, Harrison, Berté Man of the Match: Harrison
Dominant Didsbury in four-goal Easter Eggstravaganza
Having suffered a disappointing defeat to Joshua Brooks only four days earlier, AFC Didsbury were aiming for revenge and a return to winning ways on this Easter Sunday clash. With Didsbury’s mini-Mourinho absent due to filming commitments on Game of Thrones (Tyrion), the weighty responsibility of lifting the men in Orange out of a two match losing slump fell to vice-captain, Colin McDonald, leading from the side-lines due to injury.
Hungry for a win, Didsbury started brightly, with real attacking intent; quickly closing down the man with the ball and setting up camp in the opponent’s half. Joshua Brooks were well and truly on the ropes, with several players still appearing dizzy from Rick Peat’s mid-week lovely feet. The early pressure was rewarded with several corners, and while not producing a goal, Didsbury had asserted their dominance on proceedings. Didsbury captain and man of the match, Matt Harrison, was king of the aerial battle, winning header after header in the middle of the park.
Despite Didsbury’s ever- easy on the eye tika-taka style of play, the eventual opener came from a classic route one set-piece that Stoke or West Ham would have been proud of. Ben Jaffray (feeling fresh from what sounded like a delightfully relaxing short-break in the picturesque Cotswold countryside) launched a perfectly weighted free kick from the halfway line deep into the opposition box, with Luke Berté converting in the resulting melee.
Didsbury fans braving the cold (Dingo’s family and that lad who hilariously fell off his bike) didn’t have to wait too long to see the home side double their advantage. The lively John Corcoran stole a yard on his marker to get on the end of a flick-on from the industrious Harrison, burying a half-volley deep into the bottom corner.
It was another strong performance for Didsbury new boy, Gaz Lee, who enjoyed a lot of success down the right flank; turning his man time and time again, delivering dangerous balls into the area. Similarly, Didsbury’s European import, Pavol Vasko was wreaking havoc with deft touches and quick turns of pace. As the half time whistle sounded, leading by two, Didsbury were very much in the driving seat, knowing there would be more goals to come in this match.
However, as everyone knows, football is a game of two halves. Inspired by a Phil Brown styled public half-time dressing down, Joshua Brooks started the second 45 with an energy and enthusiasm that they had been distinctly lacking in the first half. And more goals did come, but for the visitors. Playing a high defensive line, a straightforward ball over the top was latched onto by the lone striker who calmly slotted past goalkeeper, James Leighton. Didsbury weren’t going to have it all their own way after all.
It took a while for Didsbury to switch on and recover from the shock of the goal. But eventually the two goal cushion was restored. Berté collected a loose ball outside the opponents box and having turned the defender, unleashed a somewhat hopeful but dangerous shot towards goal which was slotted away courtesy of a glancing header from Tom Whiteley; a fine goal, somewhat soured by the Rahim Sterling-esque celebration.
Caught resting on their laurels, the home team’s high defensive line was again their downfall, as Joshua Brooks pulled another goal back with a carbon copy of the first. Surely Didsbury couldn’t let this victory slip from their grasp.
Looking to see out the closing stages of the match, AFCD brought on fresh legs, in the shape of Twitter’s biggest bragger @GazNewOfficial. However, in a calamitous homage to Arsene Wenger, Corcoran had to play on a few minutes longer while New wrestled with his jacket zip #stuckinhisjacketlikeatwat
Didsbury eventually put the game beyond doubt when Neil Creasey whipped in yet another fantastic curling corner, but this time finding the back of the net directly, in a moment the visiting keeper will want to forget.
Didsbury held their nerve, smothering a few final attacks from Joshua Brooks, including a fine save from the rarely called upon Leighton, to record a well-deserved victory where the score line doesn’t necessarily give a fair reflection of their control of the match. It was an eggcellent performance in all areas of the park, making it a Happy Easter Sunday!