AFC Didsbury 3 - 2 Celta
AFC Didsbury: Leonard, Musson (C), Rogers, Battersby, Jaffray (Mackie), Harrison, Creasey, MacHugh (New), Robins, Corbett, Gillon (Hargreaves).
Goals: Harrison, Creasey, New
Assists: Musson, Gillon, Corbett
Man of the Match: Creasey
AFC Didsbury survive late scare to maintain their 100% record
Goals from Matt Harrison, Neil Creasey and Gareth New ensured that AFC Didsbury stick to winning ways and retain the top spot in Division One.
The match was slow to bring to life as both teams were guilty of relinquishing possession in the opening exchanges. Celta created the majority of the better chances of the first half and goalkeeper Antony Leonard was forced into a fine save from a one on one just inside the six yard box.
It looked like 0-0 would be a fair reflection going into the break, however after switching the play quickly to the right flank a measured deep cross from captain Adam Musson was met superbly by Matt Harrison at the back post to give Didsbury the lead.
As good as Didsbury have been going forward this season, they have been prone to conceding goals. They could consider themselves unlucky for the equaliser which came from a penalty when a Celta shot was deemed to have struck Jonathan Mackie’s arm allowing them to level.
With thirty minutes to go Andy Gillon nutmegged the Celta centre-back and won a penalty which was confidently dispatched by Didsbury’s man of the match, Neil Creasey, for his 6th goal of the season. Minutes later Didsbury looked to have sealed the win when Corbett played in substitue Gareth New, who scored with a low strike from just inside the 18 yard box.
Didsbury conceded a late goal after a ricochet caught the defence off guard and played Celta in to make it 3-2 but the home side were rarely troubled for the final few minutes and held on to claim a valuable three points.
Words by David Hargreaves
AFC Didsbury 6 - 4 Sierra Stars
AFC Didsbury: Hargreaves, Musson (Rushton), Johnson (Stiff), Battersby, Jaffray, McDonald (Bermingham), Creasey, MacHugh, Wallace, Corbett, Gillon.
Goals: Creasey (2), Battersby, Corbett (3)
Assists: MacHugh, Creasey (2), Gillon
Man of the Match: Corbett
AFC Didsbury hold their nerve after seeing off Sierra Stars in bruising encounter.
A hat-trick from man of the match Mike Corbett and a brace from Neil Creasey ensured that AFC Didsbury came away from a hard-fought match with a valuable three points.
It started superbly for Didsbury when neat interplay around the edge of the box led to Neil Creasey stroking home from 16 yards for the opener. The advantage was soon doubled when a dangerous corner found the head of Didsbury’s free scoring defender, John Battersby to power home. By half-time Didsbury looked to be cruising when Mike Corbett slotted home inside the area making it 3-0.
The half-time interval was to be Didsbury’s undoing and Sierra Stars, who barely had a look-in in the first-half began to break down Didsbury’s passing game, pressed high up the pitch and were duly rewarded with a neat move which made it 3-1.
The tackles were flying in from both teams but Didsbury came off far worse and picked up injuries to three defenders. All substitutions were made and another injury forced Didsbury down to ten men for the last 35 minutes.
Sierra Stars continued to battle and exploited Didsbury’s tiring legs with the man advantage and reduced the deficit with goals towards the end of the match. All hopes of a comeback for Stars were extinguished when Didsbury soaked up the constant pressure and hit Stars on the breakaway on several occasions. A fantastic low curling free kick from 20 yards from Creasey gave them breathing space and Corbett completed his hat-trick with two cool finishes allowing Didsbury to hold out for a battling three points.
Words by David Hargreaves
The Drum 3 - 4 AFC Didsbury
AFC Didsbury: Leonard, Musson (C), Rogers, Johnson, Jaffray, Mackie (Robins), Creasey, Stiff, Rushton (New), MacHugh, Corbett
Goals: Corbett (2), Creasey (2)
Assists: MacHugh, Johnson, Mackie, Creasey
Man of the Match: Creasey
Didsbury maintained their 100% start to the season with a third victory in succession. In truth they made hard work of the victory but 9 points from 9 tells its own story for the Division’s new boys.
Drum carry a strong aerial presence on but their opening goal was down to a lack of defensive concentration from a standard delivery and close range header (0-1). As in previous games, Didsbury were stung into action by the setback, a delightful one-two between Creasey and Corbett led to a great save from the Drum goalkeeper, and the resulting corner cannoned off the bar from the left foot of Kieran MacHugh. After sustained pressure the equaliser came after Neil Creasey threaded a precise through ball to release MacHugh who showed poise to unselfishly square for Mike Corbett to convert from close range (1-1).
On 40 minutes, Paul Johnson embarked on a marauding run from centre half, with Drum players unwilling or unable to dispossess him, and after two blocked attempts Neal Creasey registered his first of the game with a crisp finish (2-1).
Minutes later, tenacity from Mike Corbett lead to a shot which was saved, and Corbett himself tucked away the rebound only to be correctly adjudged offside.
Shortly after Neil Creasey provided the champagne moment of the game with a stunning 40-yard effort that whistled past an impressive Drum goalkeeper to make it 3-1. The strike drew applause and appreciation but there were more goals to come.
More lacklustre defending from Didsbury made it 3-2 when a routine delivery form a corner wasn’t attacked resulting in a free header. The team must improve their defensive concentration in future if they are to fulfil the promise that results are beginning to suggest they hold.
Didsbury appeared to have made the game safe when another Creasey through ball was clinically finished by Mike Corbett for his second and the game should have been made safe, but a glaring miss from Kieran MacHugh was closely followed by a third for Drum, but Didsbury had sufficient quality to see out the game and it ended 4-3.
10 goals in three games is a great return for the team, but a few defensive lapses have cost dear and as the season progresses, this is the sort of thing that must improve, but for now the positives have far outweighed any negatives and the team sit pretty at the top the 1st Division standings.
Words by Ollie Quaye
AFC Didsbury 3 - 1 Urmston Town
AFC Didsbury: Leonard, Rogers, Johnson, Battersby (C), Mackie, Stiff, McDonald, MacHugh, Cowley (Wallace), Corbett (Hargreaves), Trecarichi (Bainbridge)
Goals: Battersby (2), OG (Urmston Town)
Assists: Cowley, Corbett
Man of the Match: Battersby
Centre-back John Battersby scored twice as AFC Didsbury produced an accomplished display against Urmston Town to continue their perfect start to the season.
The opening exchanges were dominated by Urmston Town who went ahead 1-0 early on. A wind-assisted goal kick created a defensive mix-up, which resulted in a sumptuous half-volleyed lob from 35 yards, leaving goalkeeper Antony Leonard stranded.
AFC Didsbury responded strongly to the setback and the midfield trio of McDonald, Stiff and MacHugh started to control possession and managed to release left winger Mike Corbett who went close on two occasions.
Midway through the first half Urmston Town began to concede set-pieces and after Pete Cowley whipped in a corner from the right, John Battersby steamed in at the back post to equalise with a powerful header.
Buoyed by the equaliser a long goal kick from AFC Didsbury dropped over the Urmston Town back line and Paul Trecarichi forced the mistake from the Urmston Town centre back, as his attempted clearance bounced off the back of another Urmston defender and rolled into the net for an incredibly fortuitous own-goal.
More spells of possession towards the end of the first half resulted in a series of corners and John Battersby was there again with a looping header across goal, which beat keeper and defender on the line to make it 3-1.
The second half was a relatively scrappy affair with few chances for both sides but AFC Didsbury were superior in possession and coasted their way to a well deserved victory.
Words by David Hargreaves
Atletico Chorlton 2 - 3 AFC Didsbury
AFC Didsbury: Leonard, Musson, Johnson, Battersby, New, Cowley (Harrison 55), Creasey, McDonald, Corbett, MacHugh, Gillon
Goals: Johnson, Creasey, Harrison
Assists: McDonald (2)
Man of the Match: McDonald
All the pre-season training and friendlies have been negotiated, the desperate Saturday night carbo loading has taken place and now the talking stops and the hard work begins…
AFC Didsbury kicked off their season noticeably leaner from a punishing pre-season regime designed to prepare them for the significant increase in opposition strength following their promotion to the MASFL Division One.
Being drawn against a team that finished 2nd bottom last season might have seemed like a fortuitous draw but the pervading feeling in the camp before the game was that this would be a tough test.
As the first half began so it proved, as AFC Didsbury controlled possession without making many meaningful incursions into the Chorlton final third during the first 30 minutes. Just after the half hour, Chorlton scored against the run of play when a speculative left foot drive form outside the box left AFC Didsbury ‘keeper Antony Leonard a spectator. For a highly competent defensive unit that only conceded 32 goals last season, the space afforded to the goalscorer was regrettable but no doubt just a result of early season rustiness. Fittingly, elder statesmen of that defence, Paul Johnson, levelled the scores with a towering near-post header after fine work on the left wing from Colin McDonald, who provided a sublime pinpoint cross with the outside of his left boot.
Either side of the interval, Didsbury continued to dominate proceedings, but seemed unable to get enough bodies up front to trouble the opposition goal. Winger Kieran MacHugh showed he was willing to put his head where others may not, getting a thundering blow to the head from a stray Chorlton boot. His suffering was not in vain as Neil Creasey curled a delicious free-kick in from just outside the box.
With time diminishing and Chorlton committing more bodies forward a left-wing cross from Colin found Matt Harrison in space in the area and he showed no mercy dispatching a right foot thunderbolt past a despairing goalkeeper. With minutes to go, and Didsbury down to ten-men due to a potentially season ending injury to Andy Gillon, Chorlton grabbed themselves an unlikely second but Didsbury held on for a maiden win that will give great confidence for the season ahead.
Words by Ollie Quaye