AFC Didsbury 1 - 1 Stretford Victoria
AFC Didsbury: Leighton, Musson, Rogers, Battersby (C), Mackie, Stiff, Creasey, Bishop, MacHugh (Trecarichi), Harrison, Quaye (Bermingham).
Man of the Match: Battersby
Didsbury steam-train slowed down at Victoria
Didsbury’s 100% start to the season was ended in a tough match after conceding a late equaliser.
The home side started well and put Stretford Victoria under pressure, most notably when Adam Musson picked out Matt Harrison in the box, whose attempt was just off target. The pace and guile of Stretford’s front two meant Didsbury’s back line didn’t have as much time as they would normally have to play the ball between themselves and as a result Stretford were able to press very high up the pitch.
At half time Didsbury were frustrated but content with a decent first half performance. In the second half, with the wind behind them, Didsbury seemed to stutter, inviting pressure from the off, but Stretford still failed to register a shot on goal. After a lunge on Quaye, Creasey delivered a pinpoint cross from the resulting free kick, and Didsbury’s captain, John Battersby, timed his run to perfection to loop a header over a helpless Stretford goalkeeper.
As the clock ticked down, Didsbury were desperate to grab a second to put the game to bed. However, with stoppage time approaching, a long punt up field fell to the feet of the Stretford number 9, who unleashed an unstoppable half-volley that nestled in the corner of the Didsbury goal. Soon after, the full-time whistle went and Didsbury were left to contemplate what might have been. An early season set back will hopefully focus the squad for future games, but overall a draw was a fair result.
Words by Ollie Quaye
AFC Didsbury 4 - 0 Lass O Gowrie
AFC Didsbury: Leighton, Musson, Rogers, Battersby (C), Bermingham, Stiff (Mackie), Bishop, Harrison, MacHugh, Corbett, Quaye (Trecarichi)
Goals: Bishop (2), Quaye, Corbett
Assists: Corbett (2), Bishop
Man of the Match: Bishop
Didsbury hit a fantastic four past Lass
Didsbury continued their strong start to the new season with an accomplished performance, which was also rewarded with a first clean sheet of the season.
Memories of clinching the 1st division title against the same side in last season’s final game were put to one side and Didsbury got off to a dream start. New recruit and man of the match Chris Bishop opened the scoring with a magnificent right foot strike from a full 35 yards with the game still in its infancy. This was followed shortly by Ollie Quaye, in the right place at the right time to follow up an attempt by Mike Corbett after he was intelligently picked out by Kieran MacHugh.
Following a rare set-piece, Lass O Gowrie threatened briefly but their effort was cleared off the line by full back, Adam Musson. Didsbury then went in search of more goals, after some good work by Quaye down the left wing found Corbett, whose shot was parried into the path of Bishop, who calmly slotted home his second.
Presentable chances for Quaye, Corbett and MacHugh all went begging as Didsbury attempted to kill the game off but the score remained 3-0 at half time.
The second half saw Lass O Gowrie apply significant pressure on Didsbury, enjoying more possession but without really threatening the Didsbury goal. Knowing the next goal would be crucial, the timing of Didsbury’s fourth killed the game as a contest. When Bishop found MacHugh on the edge of the back post, he neatly turned onto his left foot and dispatched a thunderous effort into the top corner.
A deserved win and clean sheet for Didsbury is promising but the squad knows that the hard work has only just begun.
Words by Ollie Quaye.
Manchester Falcons 1 - 3 AFC Didsbury
AFC Didsbury: Leighton, Musson, Johnson, Battersby, McDonald (Bermingham), Bishop, Creasey, Harrison (Mackie), Vasko, Corbett, MacHugh (Quaye) (Rushton)
Goals: Johnson, Creasey, Quaye
Assists: Vasko, Harrison (2)
Man of the Match: Vasko
Falcons wings clipped by Didsbury’s winged wonders
Stifling heat and lengthy grass presented both teams with a challenge but Didsbury came out victorious against last season’s runners-up of the Premier Division, Manchester Falcons.
Didsbury’s early pressure culminated in the opening goal after centre back, Paul Johnson, powered home a header from a corner delivered by man-of-the match, Pavol Vasko. Whether this stung the Falcons into action or Didsbury stepped off the gas, the balance changed following the first goal. Incisive and probing play from the Falcons, and several marauding runs by their right back put Didsbury on the back foot for the first time.
The referee pointed to the spot after a rash challenge from Colin McDonald. Confidence was high after Didsbury goalkeeper, James Leighton’s penalty heroics in pre-season but this effort was precise and wrong footed Didsbury’s number 1 to make the scores level.
Half-time brought a welcome respite from the midday heat and a chance for the team to try and recreate their early dominance. Didsbury regularly tried to work the Falcons stand-in goalkeeper in the second half. Matt Harrison picked out Neil Creasey on the edge of the box and the midfielder turned and aimed a low strike, which snuck in at the far post.
The game seemed to be wrapped up when Didsbury scored their third, with Vasko whipping his cross into Harrison, whose flick fell kindly to Ollie Quaye. The Didsbury winger showed great technique as he hit the ball on the half volley, bending it into the far corner.
During the closing stages Didsbury showed maturity in controlling possession and ensuring they didn’t invite pressure from the Falcon attack. The final whistle signalled a job well done and more importantly, 3 more points in this fledging season.
Words by Oliver Quaye
AFC Didsbury 7 - 1 Celta
AFC Didsbury: Leighton, Musson, Rogers, Battersby (C), Bermingham, Vasko, Creasey, Stiff, Wallace (MacHugh), Harrison, Corbett.
Goals: Creasey, Corbett (4), Vasko, MacHugh
Assists: Vasko (2), Harrison (3), MacHugh, Wallace
Man of the Match: Creasey
Didsbury in seventh heaven after opening day
Newly promoted pair AFC Didsbury and Celta tussled in their first outing in the MASFL's top flight, and Didsbury showed why they were crowned Division 1 Champions last season, romping home to an eventual 7-1 victory.
Before the game all the hype surrounded Didsbury's new Slovak signing Pavol Vasko. With his energy allowing him to be a thorn in the side of the Celta attack, as well as a constant worry for their defence. The nimble, fleet-footed eastern-European did not disappoint, as he provided two assists as well as bagging himself a debut goal.
The first half of the game finished 1-0 to Didsbury with man of the match, Neil Creasey, belting home from close range. The ball fell kindly to Creasey’s feet after a venomous strike from Vasko, which forced an excellent save from the opposition goalkeeper. There were a number of appeals from the Celta players, as the goal came as a result of a questionable decision for a corner given in Didsbury's favour.
The second half however, was very much a one-sided affair. Didsbury made their fitness show through wave after wave of attacks on the Celta goal.
On numerous occasions Matt Harrison parted the Celta central pairing like Moses at the Red Sea. He provided the assists for the next three goals, as Corbett, Vasko and MacHugh made no mistake in front of goal and lengthened the margin to 4-0.
The frustration began to show from Celta and their day got much worse after they had a man sent off for kicking out at Didsbury’s right back, Adam Musson.
The home side then used the new rolling substitutes rule to good effect, giving Corbett a short breather on the sidelines, only for him to return to the field and score another three goals in quick succession. After scoring 22 goals last year, Corbett is already looking like he intends to come back with a similar return this season.
Celta managed to snatch a late consolation goal, after a slip at the back left the opposition centre forward one on one with Didsbury’s other new signing, goalkeeper James Leighton.
There is no doubt that there will be tougher tests to come, but Didsbury picked up where they left of last season, and will be glad to get points on the board at their first attempt.
Match report by Matthew Harrison