Goals: Harrison (2), Peat, Vasko Assists: Vasko, Whiteley, Creasey Man of the Match: McDonald
Didsbury Dispatch Nello James
Typical January boggy Sunday football conditions didn’t deter AFC Didsbury as they produced an excellent all round team performance to see off a stubborn Nello James.
Didsbury opted for a 4-4-2 formation with James Leighton in goal, Wayne Rogers left back, Adam Musson right back, Colin McDonald (C) and Paul Johnson at centre half, Tom Whiteley and Neil Creasey in centre midfield, Rick Peat on the left wing, Pavol Vasko on the right and Mike Corbett and Matt Harrison up top.
Didsbury started brightly looking to ensure the Moss Side battering became a distant memory. Their attitude paid off with everyone pressing, talking and looking for the ball at all times. Didsbury produced, for large parts of the game, football that they have always been capable of; 5, 10 yard passing, retaining possession, switching the play and taking advantage of the flanks at every given opportunity.
It was Didsbury’s very own white Les Ferdinand that produced the goods in the first half as Harrison the hammer latched onto a tidy through ball from our official foreign import 'Pav the Pulse' – Harrison’s shot hitting the post and creeping over the line. For the second it was David Batty (Whiteley) who yet again found himself in another box scuffing a shot that hit the post only for Harrison to mop up for his second goal of the game.
Didsbury went into the break pleased with their first half showing but knew they needed a couple more to make certain. The home side were first back out onto the park and it took 10 minutes for Peat –(Crouch’s little brother) to have a shot saved and to then slot away the rebound. Didsbury wanted more and were conscious of their goal difference in Manchester’s most elite Sunday league. Didsbury continued to play some attractive football and chose to rest their two ‘pacey’ full backs (Rogers and Musson) giving way to Ciaran Bermingham and Jonny Owen. Didsbury managed to get another when Creasey delivered a Beckham like ball over the top for Vasko, who brought the ball down and calmly slotted past the keeper.
Didsbury were determined to keep a clean sheet and brought on more fresh legs, with Gareth New and Kieran MacHugh entering the field of play. Nello James came close and it was Gaz labouring back who managed to get in a last ditch tackle, Jonno using his experience putting in a John Terry like block, a Nello James head butt into the post and Leighton being his agile self that prevented Nello breaching the Didsbury back line.
Didsbury can be proud of this performance and be safe in the knowledge that they have another centre back cover in Col (Kolcienlny) who marshalled the defence impeccably throughout.
Didsbury once again failed to overcome a quality, efficient and ruthless Moss Side
Didsbury started slowly but battled well for the first 30 minutes of the game with James Leighton, Didsbury’s number one, pulling off a couple of great saves and centre backs Jon Turner and John Battersby letting the Moss Side front two know it wasn’t going to be easy day at the office.
It looked like Moss Side where going to rue some of their early missed opportunities as Didsbury grew into the game – the midfield trio of Jonny Mackie (the ‘Bull Dozer’), Tom Whiteley (Didsbury’s own David Batty) and Neil Creasey (Christopher Dean) began to win more of the ball in the centre of the park with Matt Harrison and Colin McDonald on the flanks, causing the Moss Side full backs problems.
Albeit a slow start to the game for Didsbury, they sensed there could be the opportunity to go into the half time break 1 nil up or on an even footing with the MASFL champions. It wasn’t to be though as Moss Side broke quickly 10 minutes before the break and Turner produced a tackle that would happily fit into an axe advert to concede a penalty – on any other football field; a straight red would have been the outcome but the referee strangely decided to play the penalty before deciding Turner’s fate. Moss Side’s talented number 10 stepped up only for Leighton to parry out. Wayne Rogers was first to react with his typical lightning pace but failed to register the shouts of “TIME” and ended up clearing for a corner instead of a throw in. Before the corner was taken Turner was given a yellow…?! The resulting corner ended in a goal after some poor defending from Didsbury. Heads dropped slightly but application didn’t and Didsbury had their best spell of the game before the break – going close twice with Harrison producing a Les Ferdinand like header, which just went over the bar after some Giggs-esque dribbling and cross from McDonald on the left.
Didsbury went into the break one nil down but still felt that there was something in it. However, it wasn’t to be as Moss Side’s star player ‘Omar’ consistently skinned the Didsbury midfield and defence causing countless problems. The home side scored a second goal early on in the second half and Didsbury had no choice but to go 4-4-2 and push Harrison up alongside John Corcoran who worked tirelessly throughout the game to try and salvage a point. Unfortunately, this allowed Moss Side to continue breaking and Didsbury ended up conceding 3 goals, the last; Leighton will wish to forget!
Didsbury can take heart from the performance. The MASFL championship is by no means out of their grasp for future seasons; a bit more composure and quality in front of goal and who knows!