AFC Didsbury 1 Nello James 1 *** Didsbury go out of the cup after losing 1-3 on penalties ***
AFC Didsbury: Leighton, L Darlington, Bishop, McDonald (C), Mackie (Bermingham), Lee (Plowright), Whiteley, Harrison, Menghini, Corbett, M Darlington (Connolly).
GOALS: M Darlington ASSISTS: Lee MAN OF THE MATCH: Lee Nello Dump Didsbury Out Of The Cup
After two straight 7-0 wins moral was high within the team, the sun was out, the pitch was looking good, and Leights turned up just before kick off not looking too hungover, what a bonus! Didsbury looked ready for a good day in the Memorial Cup.
The game started evenly, the home side failed to keep the ball with several passes going astray and several first touches bouncing off shin pads. Nello James only really threatened when Didsbury gave the ball away, which was too often in the first 30 minutes.
Nevertheless, Matt Darlington went through on goal after 20 minutes, only for the keeper to pull off a good save. Just five minutes later Nello James went ahead, after an attack came down the right the Nello striker got a ricochet that Luis Suarez would have been proud of, leaving him to slot home from just 10 yards out.
Didsbury continued to have success getting in behind the Nello James defence, with Captain, Colin McDonald, floating a number of delicious overhead through balls (LT + Y for you Fifa lovers) to Matt Darlington and Gareth Lee. Credit to James Leighton who, after turning up late (second unprovoked dig there, sorry), took two nasty blows, one to his ankle and the other to the side after punching away a corner. Nello James were definitely making their presence felt.
Didsbury finally hit back just five minutes before half time, Gareth Lee put Matt Darlington in down the right hand channel, the Nello James goalkeeper came out to meet it but quickly realised he wasn't going to get anywhere near it and was stuck in no mans land. Darlington levelled the score with a shot/cross (You can decide by commenting on your thoughts below, in my opinion it was a cross).
Didsbury continued to push before at the end of the first half, after a deft through ball from Tom Whiteley, Ross Menghini found himself through on goal only for the keeper to make another good save.
At half time it was 1-1 and Didsbury had all the momentum.
The second half was end to end, with chances going to both teams, the best again falling to Matt Darlington after a lofted through ball by (Insert name here, I was having a piss) but Darlington put the ball just wide. Manager Musson looked to the bench for changes to change the game, bringing Ciaran Bermingham off the bench and Dan Connolly, well eventually... Connolly was was stripped off and ready to come on twice before he was eventually called upon, due to potential injuries to Whiteley and McDonald, but both times they manned up and carried on leaving Connolly doing his best impression of the full monty on the sidelines.
The second half was a pretty dull affair with only two highlights, the first was McDonald, who while under pressure, turned two Nello James strikers inside out and then gave the management team a little salute... We see you Col. The second was when the Nello James right back, while under pressure, managed to kick and tackle himself and then knocked the ball out for a Didsbury throw in, what a mug!
With just 10 minutes to spare Musson brought on James Plowright to change the game, he did so almost immediately by apparently having a very kickable face, which resulted in a red card for the Nello James left winger. This also signified the end to Plowright's future web cam Red Tube career.
Despite Nello being down to 10 men, Didsbury could not capitalise. In fact it was Leighton who made a key save in the dying moments of the game forcing the tie to a penalty shootout.
The team was full of confidence going into the shootout, with Battersby pointing out the team had lost 4/5 of their last penalty shoot outs. Spoiler, Didsbury's penalty shoot out record stretched to losing 5/6.
Battersby asked for penalty takers and silence fell across the Didsbury huddle. After some staring and finger pointing the team finally decided on their five penalty takers, Menghini, McDonald, Corbett, Whiteley and ... I don't even know who the 5th guy was as it didn't get that far.
This was a pretty painful game to lose, especially for Darlington and Lee who both limped off injured. The pitch itself also picked up an injury after going 12 rounds with Tom "The Terror" Whitely midway through the second half. So, to fast forward and save everyone re-living the pain.
Nello James missed one of their spot kicks, but the rest all found the back of the net putting them through with a 3-1 win on penalties. Despite losing, at least everyone learned a valuable lesson, Didsbury fucking suck at penalties.
Words by James Plowright
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