AFC Didsbury 3 - 2 Lass O Gowrie
AFC Didsbury: Hargreaves, Musson (C), Rogers, Battersby, Jaffray, Robins, Creasey, Mackie (Stiff), McDonald, MacHugh (Wallace), Corbett.
Goals: Corbett, Rogers (2)
Man of the Match: Rogers
AFC Didsbury crowned MASFL Division 1 Champions courtesy of two spectacular strikes.
Centre-back Wayne Rogers produced two goals of the highest calibre in the second half to ensure Didsbury achieved promotion in a nervy affair.
Didsbury have been guilty of starting slowly this season and went behind after only three minutes when a stray pass was intercepted and a first-time strike from 25 yards dipped in over Didsbury goalkeeper David Hargreaves.
Didsbury’s response was to retain possession, build from the back and use the pace of the wingers Leigh Robins and Colin McDonald who both fashioned several chances only for the Lass O’Gowrie defence to hold firm.
The equaliser for came when central midfielder Neil Creasey slid a through-ball inside the penalty area and top goalscorer Mike Corbett slotted home from close range. A spell of several corners and a couple of good saves from the Lass O’Gowrie goalkeeper ensured the scores were level at half-time.
With Didsbury needing a win to secure the league title they resumed the second-half where they left off with neat interchanges of passes and great movement from the front four posing real threat to the opposition. The pressure told and Didsbury took the lead with a contender for goal of the season when a corner was cleared just shy of the halfway line; Wayne Rogers gained control of the bouncing clearance and slammed a half-volley from no less than 40 yards which swerved, dipped and nestled in the top right corner.
Not content with his first strike he sealed the win with another long-range effort arguably as good as the first when a cross was cleared to the inside right channel running away from goal he struck a driven half-volley across goal from 30 yards which found the top-left corner.
Didsbury were left with a nervy final 10 minutes when they conceded a sloppy goal but they dug in and were good value for the win which capped off a fine second season culminating in their second league title and promotion to the MASFL Premier Division.
Words by David Hargreaves
Gold Cup 1 - 6 AFC Didsbury
AFC Didsbury: Hargreaves, Musson (C) (Rushton), Rogers, Battersby, Jaffray, Robins, Creasey, Mackie, McDonald (Wallace), Richardson, Corbett (Trecarichi).
Goals: Robins (3), Corbett, Richardson, Creasey
Assists: Musson, Creasey (2), Robins, McDonald, Wallace
Man of the Match: Robins
Solid gold performance by AFC Didsbury
Didsbury went into this top of the table clash knowing that anything short of a victory would destroy their hopes of back to back league titles.
The first ten minutes were sluggish and Didsbury failed to get their free flowing football underway. Gold Cup took full advantage of the slow start, punishing Didsbury with an early counter attack, 1-0.
This seemed to be the wakeup call Didsbury needed, as they started to take control of the game, playing the style of football that they pride themselves on. Within five minutes of conceding, the away side were level. Didsbury Captain, Adam Musson’s, throw-in was cushioned back for him to whip in a pinpoint cross onto the head of Leigh Robins, who made no mistake from 6 yards out.
Didsbury went 2-1 up shortly before the break when Neil Creasey’s volley was saved but Robins was quickest to react and once again, showed great composure in front of goal.
The second half started with Didsbury assuming control again and found themselves 3-1 up when Creasey’s through ball put left Robins with only the ‘keeper to beat. Robins calmly guided the ball into bottom right corner, completing a fine hattrick.
The goal of the game came moments later when some slick triangle passing, involving Corbett, Robins and Mackie, tore the Gold Cup defence apart. Man of the match, Robins provided the final pass for Didsbury’s front man, Mike Corbett, to slot his finish past the keeper to round off a great move.
Didsbury were in complete control now and the fifth goal involved some nice work on the wing to release Robins, who switched the ball to Colin McDonald who controlled and teed up Sam Richardson for another neat finish.
Gold Cup seemed to have given up and the final goal came when a through ball released four Didsbury players through on goal with no opposition in sight. Jack Wallace invited the opposition ‘keeper to come off his line and then squared for Creasey, whose shot flew into the unguarded net.
Inter Mancs 2 - 0 AFC Didsbury
AFC Didsbury: Hargreaves, Musson (C), Rogers, Battersby, Jaffray (Wallace), Robins, Creasey, Stiff, McDonald, Harrison (Richardson), Corbett.
Man of the Match: Richardson
AFC Didsbury bow out to two late strikes from Inter Mancs
Two late goals saw Inter Mancs progress to the final of the JA Kennedy Cup at the expense of AFC Didsbury.
Perfect conditions at Turn Moss made a change from the washout which saw the previously attempted fixture abandoned. Didsbury looked composed and decisive on the ball in the early phases of the game, despite an early injury forcing Matt Harrison off.
Didsbury were dominant and retaining possession with poise and making their opponents chase the game and Sam Richardson nearly punished Inter but for a great stop from the ‘keeper. Before the break Inter nearly capitalised on a poor kick from Hargreaves and crashed a lob against the bar from 45 yards but the Didsbury defence recovered and scrambled the ball clear to keep it level at the break. Didsbury had the post to thank again from the following corner when the ball ricocheted clear across the goalmouth from a fine strike by the Inter right-winger.
The second half exchanges were controlled by Didsbury once more with Mike Stiff winning header after header and the composed build up allowed Colin McDonald room on several occasions to fashion crosses and strikes from the left. Sam Richardson hit the post with a low strike from just inside the area. Leigh Robins was causing all manner of trouble and broke clear beating the offside trap but placed his finish just wide of the post. Corbett worked another opening when he robbed possession from the Inter right-back but couldn’t get his strike away. John Battersby flicked on a long throw-in but Robins could only guide his header agonisingly wide of the far post.
Didsbury were made to pay for their profligacy in front of goal when Inter found space in a crowded penalty area and stabbed home to take the lead with 10 minutes remaining. Didsbury poured forward in hope of an equaliser but were left exposed once more when a superb technical volley from close range finished off Didsbury and sealed Inter’s passage to the final.
Words by David Hargreaves
Parkway Dynamo 0 - 4 AFC Didsbury
AFC Didsbury: Hargreaves, Musson (C) (Rushton), Rogers, Battersby, Jaffray, Wallace, Richardson (Quaye), Stiff, Robins, Machugh (Creasey), Corbett.
Goals: Richardson, Stiff, Battersby, Creasey
Assists: Corbett (2), Robins, MacHugh
Man of the Match: Stiff
Didsbury on the Parkway to promotion.
To secure promotion, Didsbury only need 4 points from their final 3 games but to keep their title hopes alive, this game was a must win.
Didsbury started the game off brightly and were knocking the ball about with confidence. It wasn't long before the pressure told and in the 15th minute, a throw in from Captain, Adam Musson, fed Michael Corbett, who rounded his man with a neat turn and Kieran MacHugh’s intelligence showed, as he allowed the ball to run between his legs, leaving possession with Sam Richardson who rifled his shot into the roof of the net.
The lead was swiftly doubled when Leigh Robins beat the opposition fullback, only for the defender to catch Robins on the ankle and the winger went down rather theatrically. The ref bought it and pointed to the penalty spot. Michael Stiff stepped up and smashed his penalty into the bottom right.
The rest of the half was played out with neither team threatening. Didsbury looked content with playing their possession football and started the second half in a similar fashion.
The third goal was a soft one to concede for Parkway, in every sense, as a needless free kick was given away on the edge of the area. Kieran MacHugh floated the ball into the box where poor marking saw John Battersby in space. Battersby’s header was straight at the keeper who somehow still failed keep it out.
The final goal of the game was added when an Alistair Rushton throw was flicked on by Jack Wallace, for Corbett to once again round his man and square the ball, this time for Neil Creasey to slot in from 4 yards out.
Words by Jonathan Mackie