Goals: Wallace, Corcoran, Johnson, Creasey Assists: Lee, Walker, Wallace Man of the Match: Creasey
One Sided affair by the Moss based Champions
The final day of the season arrived with the MASFL Championship already having been secured by a rampant Moss Side. AFC Didsbury were in a buoyant mood prior to kick off despite narrowly missing out on silverware less than a week ago as this game would see the team say an emotional farewell to one of its most influential servants since formation in 2010.
Neil Creasey having made almost 100 appearances and scoring more than 40 goals in his 4 year spell was clearly fired up for leaving a lasting impression on the South Manchester village. His name will now be added to the hall of fame along with the likes of legends past Oliver Quaye, Alistair Rushton, Andrew Basley, David Hargreaves and Duane Augustine.
The game started with Moss Side dominating possession, controlling the game and showing all the hall marks of a team that has only suffered one league defeat in the last 10 years. The breakthrough eventually came via a scrappy goal from a corner where a Moss Side player was found unmarked in the box to head home a simple finish. Didsbury showed good resilience with some solid defending and crunching tackles, however, still came off 3-0 down at half time. The highlight of the half for AFC came when Gaz Lee outwitted the Moss Side full back before playing in Jack Wallace who rifled a shot from 25 yards only to see the Moss Side keeper superbly palm the ball over the bar.
The second half saw Didsbury come out fired up with a nothing to lose attitude and soon penetrated the Moss Side defence. Gaz Lee once again skilfully bypassed the cumbersome Moss Side full back before picking out Jack Wallace who bravely beat the onrushing keeper to find the bottom corner. The game was beginning to open up and Didsbury pressed forward looking to get back into the tie before an unfortunate own goal from a worked-up John Battersby put Moss Side back in control at 4-1. This lead to a heated exchange with the Moss Side number 10 who seemed slightly envious of the Didsbury Captains size 14 feet and harshly priced his larger than life boots at a modest £3 in an attempted belittlement, if ever a reminder was needed that this was a Sunday League match this was it.
John Corcoran who has earned a reputation for being able to spring even the most advanced of offside traps was found with a through ball from Guy Walker, Corcoran showing brilliant composure rounded the keeper and slotted home his 8th goal of the season to make it 4-2. Following this goal the ever vocal gaffer Adam Musson made short work of the Moss Side striker in a verbal exchange, his superior education reigned supreme in the battle of wits, leaving the tricky number 9 with no response for seemingly the first time in his entire life. He instead opted to let his feet do the talking and before any thoughts of a comeback came to fruition Moss Side quickly increased their lead by a further two goals.
With the game as good as over and only 20 minutes remaining Fletcher Moss saw the introduction of Didsbury Twitter Troll Jonathan Owen. His debut season unfortunately finished without breaking his goalscoring duck or providing a single assist; however, unlike Carlos Tevez and Ashley Cole he will be descending on Brazil for the World Cup this summer. While his player stats won’t be topping any fantasy football tables his Southern English charm and boyish good looks should see him score highly with the Latin American women.
There were moments of consolation for Didsbury before the final whistle. Team veteran and proud father of two Paul Johnson who has erased the words ‘lost’ and ‘cause’ from his vocabulary smashed home a breath taking half volley, with credit going to John Corcoran and Jack Wallace in the build-up. Moss Side then restored their 4 goal lead with a dubious penalty before Neil Creasey was fouled 35 yards from goal. There could only be one outcome from the resulting free kick and it was fitting that the departing man’s final act in a Didsbury jersey would be a screaming strike that left the keeper no chance. It may be worth noting for any stat junkies out there that the 35 yards of this free kick is actually further than the cumulative distance of all 8 John Corcoran goals for Didsbury this season.
With 2 minutes remaining this would normally signal the introduction of ‘Team Jock ’Michael Hay, however, he was unavailable for selection due to his pursuit of Scottish Independence and his seemingly relentless quest to try and outdo Gareth New in every aspect of life. No cameo from the fiery Scott enabled Moss Side to score a late goal capping off an action packed game between the two heavyweights of the Manchester Amateur Sunday Football League.
“Adam Musson at the far post… Musson leaps like Shearer…Goal... Musson wins it for Didsbury” Sadly that was the story of Mussinho’s Saturday night dream. Unfortunately, Sunday was not to be as successful. Before I begin on the actual events, this (still hungover) writer wishes to apologise for any inaccuracies. Any complaints can be made to the pub landlords of Didsbury.
AFC Didsbury turned up at the prestigious ‘Simon Field’, for the respected John Old cup final, to an absolute delight of a pitch. The start of the cricket season had been cut to a level only associated with the Camp Nou. Didsbury emerged from the changing rooms to a world record Didsbury sports crowd (30ish). Members of the crowd had come from as far as Leicester to witness this spectacle.
Didsbury started well with Matthew Harrison’s words of the previous week prominent in the minds of the Didsbury players “this pitch is your tapestry, it is time to paint”. An early Didsbury, over the top, caused panic in the Hulme ranks setting Didsbury trequarista, Harrison, free of the last Hulme defender. With the ball hanging in the Manchester wind, the Hulme keeper stormed off his goal line to intercept play. Like Steven Gerrard, the Hulme keeper fell flat on his arse. Fortunately for Hulme, the weather was with them and the ball continued to hang in the air giving the Hulme centre back time to recover the situation. This was to be a day of maybes for the Didsbury men.
Maybe if this writer had gone home earlier on Sunday, he maybe would not have felt so bad at work on Monday.
Didsbury started to gain momentum, playing the total football the crowd had come to see; spraying balls out wide and Gaz Lee sending crosses into the Hulme box. Hulme were not a team afraid to shoot, pinging a number of 30 yarders high and wide of James Leighton’s goal.
Then came the first (very) questionable refereeing decision of the day. The linesman gave offside from a throw in! He must have been reading the same rule book as Jonny Mackie!!
Even with the pleasant Hulme attacker courteously stating to any Didsbury defender in range that “he would bite their nose off”, Didbury’s defensive partnership of Colin ‘Marriott Gold Member’ McDonald and John ‘Wedding? What Wedding?’ Battersby stood firm. A Hulme free kick was blocked by the substantial wall of Gaz Lee and Adam Musson. Chances were still at a premium.
As half time was approaching, disaster struck… Neil Creasey’s right boot split. Fortunately, Ben ‘Knight in shining armour’ Jaffray had a spare pair of luminous yellow and purple boots waiting on the sideline. Was this to be when the magic started to happen? Unfortunately, the first act of the boots was to receive a yellow card for kicking the ball away (spooning a pass). Questionable decision number two. The goalless first half finished with the sight of Didsbury winger Rick ’50 minutes’ Peat carrying a dog off the pristine pitch. 0-0. Half time.
The Didsbury team talk was filled with Captain Battersby’s words of ‘How much do you want this?’, the second half would tell. The second half began as the first half had ended. Hulme continued to shoot from range. James ‘Brain the Beast Jensen’ Leighton produced a great save down to his right as a Hulme shot was arrowing for the bottom corner.
As the game began to reach its final stages, Rick Peat showed that he is more than just a lovely pair of feet. He started to play Mourninho-esque mind games with the Hulme full back. Upon the occurrence of a foul throw by said full back, Peat shouted “it’s because of his limp wrists”. Moments later the ball was played to the Hulme full back, who was still thinking of his limp wrists. Peat hassled and harried the defender and in a flash his lovely feet had taken up possession of the football and he was bearing down on the Hulme goal. One-on-one with the Hulme keeper. Could this be the moment the Didsbury faithful had been waiting for? Peat sidesteps to the right, to see an open goal waiting. But no! Peat is sent tumbling by the keeper’s outstretched leg! Penalty! Surely a red card… but no! The referee produces a yellow. What would the referee’s dog have done?
Up stepped Didsbury’s answer to Jan Age Fjortoft, Michael Corbett, in his stolen from school boots to place the ball on the spot. A born finisher this lad. Corbett shoots… but saved! #$@&%*! He will be burning those boots tonight… or did the image of an excited Musson celebrating in the showers enter his cerebral at the inopportune moment...?
Then the true turning point of the game. Disaster… Hulme score… the Hulme right winger found himself free on the right of the box. With a quality, well angled shot, the ball planted itself in the bottom left corner of the goal. Hulme 1-0. Didsbury, not known for giving up a fight, continued to press the Hulme defence. Harrison managed to catch one of the Hulme defenders on the ball. The ricochet fell to the feet of Luke Berte, who could only poke the half chance into the keeper’s arms. There was still time for Leighton to stake his claim for man of the match with a couple of good saves from a Hulme free kick and yet another Hulme 30 yard effort.
Time was nearing the end. Could Didbury’s Man United fans conjure up the spirits of 1999. Could Thomas Whiteley and John Corcoran conjure up the spirits of Istanbul. Could Wayne Rogers conjure up the spirits of… the Auto Windscreens Shield. Could Jaffray conjure up the… erm…
Suddenly Didsbury break… but no… the referee has other ideas, taking out Whiteley as the Hulme defence was looking bare. There was still time. Battersby hooked an effort towards goal. It was in… it was still in… Didsbury’s water boys Bermo and Dingo were on the pitch… No! The ball had narrowly sneaked past the post and nestled itself amongst the bushes. Didsbury continued to press but to no avail. Hulme had seen out a very close final. The Didsbury boys can hold their heads high after all they are “not losers but beaten finalists”. Who am I to argue with an ex-marine sniper!?
The day wasn’t over there. After attempting to park the bus against Hulme, McDonald then attempted to park his car…. The only thing bigger than the club made an appearance… Leighton’s credit card! The Didsbury boys saw out the day celebrating John Corcoran staying onside and consoling themselves that they will not be present at the event of the summer…!
Next up for AFC Didsbury… Moss Side.
To quote Mr Pacino… “That’s a team, gentlemen. And either we heal, now as a team, or we will die, as individuals. That’s football guys. That’s all it is. Now what are you going to do?”
AFC Didsbury: Leighton, Owen (Musson), Rogers, McDonald (C) (Jaffray), Mackie, Wallace, Harrison, Lee, Berté, Hay (Corcoran), Peat.
Goals: - Assists: - Man of the Match: Harrison
Lacklustre Didsbury no match for Stretford Vics
On a miserable May evening Didsbury failed to brighten up their loyal fans with their usual scintillating football and were outplayed by a good Stretford Vics side.
Manager Adam Musson was forced to make a number of changes due to unavailability and niggling injuries, the latter of great importance with the upcoming cup final a few days later. With 3rd place already secured in the previous match Didsbury were playing for pride against a side they were yet to beat on 3 previous occasions.
The first 15 minutes saw Didsbury start well and they were, for the most part, controlling play and created a few chances from the edge of the area and with balls into the box without really testing the travelling keeper. However, as it took 15 minutes for Stretford’s 11th man to turn up without Didsbury taking advantage the signs for the rest of the game were already there.
To be honest I wouldn't read any further, essentially Didsbury failed to turn up, and lost to the better side. I am only writing the rest as it is technically a match report so shouldn't stop just yet. But trust me; I will be saving you a few minutes of your life, which would be better spent doing basically anything else!!
Anyway, once Stretford had a full complement their presence in the game grew and they began to put more and more pressure on the Didsbury defence. Around the half hour mark a long ball forward caught Didsbury short at the back and their lively if very scroty forward managed to get on the end of it and knock it past the onrushing James Leighton and in to the back of the net. There was no response from Didsbury and it was 1-0 at the break.
Musson tried to en still some passion into his players at the break, which was certainly lacking in the first half and for the first 10 minutes things were much better. Didsbury were getting on the ball and keeping possession and created a few chances, noticeably when a through ball from Mike Hay was latched onto by Jack Wallace, whose shot under pressure was too close to the keeper and he parried it past the post. However, it wasn't too long before Stretford started to get a foothold back in the match.
Unlike Didsbury, Stretford made their pressure pay and some neat football around the edge of the Didsbury area, found the Stretford left winger free inside the box and he calmly placed it into the far corner.
Didsbury heads noticeably fell and what was a poor display got worse. Stretford continued to put pressure on and after missing a few chances finally put the game to bed with a third. A pin point long ball forward was well controlled by the still scroty centre forward who then went on an amazing run, turning Didsbury defender, Jonathan Mackie, inside out before squaring to a teammate to lash the ball into the roof of the net.
3 became 4 movements later. A loose pass shortly after kick off gave Stretford the opportunity to play another through ball, which was easily dispatched by the fatter but no less scroty other Stretford striker.
Didsbury did finally wake up and substitute John Corcoran forced the surprisingly agile Stretford keeper into two fine saves. The first came from a glancing header from a cross from the left, which the keeper tipped around the post, and the second, another header, from a Gaz Lee corner which only the keeper will know how he got his hand to.
However, it was too little too late and all in all it was a poor performance. With a slight injury concern to Didsbury centre half and vice-captain, Colin McDonald, it was definitely a match to forget and quickly with the cup final only a couple of days away.
Come along and show your support when Didsbury face Hulme in the John Old Cup Final at Simon Field (Ford Lane, Didsbury) on Sunday 11 May, KO 11.00.
Goals: Vasko, Corbett, Corcoran Assists: Leighton, Vasko, Whiteley Man of the Match: McDonald
Didsbury call yet another halt on Juniors' Season to secure 3rd place.
Following a flawless 2-0 victory to reach the John Old Cup Final, Didsbury displayed attacking fluency and defensive resilience to outplay Halton Juniors for a second time in a week.
Prior to kick-off, the mood was somewhat marred by an unforgiveable action from one individual; the referee. To establish himself as centre of attention on the centre spot, the ref attempted to show-off a ‘never-before-practiced’ piece of skill that a dying swan from San Marino with two webbed left feet could have better produced. Luckily, Didsbury remained unaffected - though a minute’s silence will take place next week.
It was Didsbury who sent out the first warning. Breaking swiftly down the right flank, John Corcoran played a quick low ball across the 6 yard box, only for it to be tickled by the studs of an outstretched Mike Corbett.
Encouraging signs were instantly followed by a break-through. The 10th minute bore witness to a quality and direct move from the away side. Initiated from a route one kick from the “soon to be insured for a significant amount, following some incredible skill during the warm-up” feet of goalkeeper, James Leighton, was well flicked on by Corbett into the path of an alert Pavol Vasko - who exhibited quality and composure to expertly loop over the keeper. 1-0 Didsbury.
The second goal soon followed. A pin-point cross field ball from tireless winger and new recruit, Guy Walker, found the ever-present Vasko who generously returned the favour with a composed assisted header across goal for Robin Van Corbett to accurately slot into the bottom corner. 2-0 Didsbury.
Didsbury decided to introduce fresh legs for the second half. Like for like substitutions included Johnson on for Battersby and... Rogers… to… replace… Corbett??? Rogers was able to dismiss any doubters, rendering his transition from centre-back to centre-forward as seamless by his presence and energy alone - like a somewhat smaller Christopher Samba.
Prior to the second half KO, the mood was once again marred by an unforgiveable action from one individual… the referee. On this occasion, he deemed that his ‘terminal swan-like-skill’ was better practiced (it wasn’t) and actually appropriate to form part of the kick-off (it wasn’t). An inquiry will soon take place.
Halton Juniors started the second half with speed and intent and decided to issue an early warning by whipping in a cross only for the ball to bounce awkwardly and hit the crossbar - to the relief of a routed Jimmy Leighton.
Didsbury fought back and continued to show exactly why they hold the strongest backline in the Mikey Williams Premiership. Halton continued to probe but failed to penetrate for much of the second half, with tireless performances from Jonathan Mackie and Tom Whitely in the midfield centre to ensure that the backline were protected throughout.
With one eye on the approaching cup final, manager Adam Musson was eager to come away from this fixture without an injury to any squad member. Unfortunately, this was not to be the case. As a strong and persistent Vasko managed to get his body in between his marker and the ball, as he often does so routinely well, the versatile winger was knocked off balance only to land awkwardly on his shoulder. Luckily though, Corbett was able achieve his second assist of the day - driving Vasko to A&E. Every cloud. AFC Didsbury wish Pav a swift and speedy recovery and pray he will be available for the cup final #Pray4Pav. Jonny Owen replaces the injured Vasko.
Throughout the second half, Didsbury posed a real threat and continued to demonstrate their attacking intent - including numerous shots from Wayne Samba Rogers Christopher and a first-time pin-ball shot from Corcoran - which seemed to hit the bar, then the post, then the keeper, then the post, then the bar and then caught by the keeper. Corcoran’s supportive Dad said it didn’t go in. Corcoran disagrees.
Didsbury were to concede in the final 5 minutes. A trailing leg combined with a fancy bit of skill resulted in a Halton Juniors penalty. This was dispatched by veteran Mr Halton himself, resulting in quite a funny pile-on by the opposing players. I hope he’s okay… 2-1 Didsbury.
Any anxiety from the penalty was instantly addressed by a speediest of AFC Didsbury counter-attacks (approximately 17mph) that consisted of some neat feet from Whiteley, to then square the ball to Corcoran, who wrong footed the keeper to dispatch into the bottom right corner. 3-1 Didsbury.
This was a real team performance and a superb victory for AFC Didsbury. Confidence is high and the club continues to improve. In the words of Robbie Nelson Mandela Savage (sorry), “Momentum is a hugely powerful weapon in the face of the opponent.” Didsbury must really focus on continuing this momentum for their penultimate league game against Stretford Victoria on Wednesday.