Goals from wide men Jack Wallace and Pavol Vasko earned AFC Didsbury all 3 points in a well-deserved 2-1 victory over an ill-disciplined Halton Juniors side. The victory was enough to move the home side up in to 3rd place in the league and well placed going in to the second half of the season.
In a goalless first half, it was Didsbury who looked the far more likely team to open the scoring and created a number of good openings with Tom Whiteley blazing over the bar from close range and Jack Wallace dragging a shot just wide of the post, when presented with a good opportunity. The away side had only one clear sight of goal in the first 45 minutes, when their centre forward got on the end of a long clearance and flashed a shot just wide of the post.
Despite the heavy conditions, Didsbury dominated possession for long spells of the game and played some of their best football of the season. They got their reward when Vasko broke free down the left hand side; his low cross was calmly converted by Didsbury's man of the match, Wallace.
Halton Juniors’ reaction to going a goal down saw them lose their discipline, which resulted in one of their players being dismissed on the hour mark for comments directed towards the referee. Once down to 10 men however, the away side enjoyed their best spell of the game which led to an equalising goal with a header from a corner.
With less than 15 minutes to play, the away side then went down to nine men when their winger was sent off for violent conduct towards Didsbury midfield enforcer Whiteley.
As the minutes ticked away, it seemed that Didsbury were going to be held to a draw as they wasted a number of good chances. The game was won in stoppage time when the ball broke to Wallace down the right hand side. His well struck shot was heading wide of the post only for Vasko to launch himself at the ball, connecting with a diving header, which somehow made its way past the despairing defenders on the line to spark wild celebrations from the Didsbury players and fans.
It was an all-round team performance from Didsbury, however Jack Wallace returning from a long injury lay off was the stand out player with a superb display from the right wing.
Didsbury will hope to pick up where they left off when they face their next opponents (Moss Side) on Sunday 5 January at Seymour Park.
AFC Didsbury were unfortunate to find themselves on the losing side, in a hard-fought encounter, against table toppers Davyhulme Park, at Simon Field.
Didsbury were the quickest out of the blocks, carving out an opportunity in the opening minute. After good pressing from kick off, the ball was stolen in midfield before being worked out to Matty Harrison, who's teasing cross wasn't cleared by the Davyhulme defence and fell to Neil Creasey to a slot home from 12 yards.
The visitors worked their way back into the game with a period of sustained pressure, looking dangerous from set pieces and it was through this route that they managed an equaliser. A header was blocked at a corner and fell to an opponent who was able to stab home from within the six yard box.
The home side continued to look a threat on the counter, with Pavol Vasko often getting the better of the opposing left back. However, both midfields dominated the majority of play for the remainder of the half.
Didsbury again started brightly in the second half, Tom Whiteley heading over from a Mike Corbett free-kick, before Harrison skewed a chance in the box after Whiteley got on the end of another Corbett cross.
Tempers flared briefly soon after, following a committed challenge by Colin McDonald. The Davyhulme number 10 threatened to munch on McDonald's ear and threw a punch lazier than Froch's jab. He was, however, to make the next major contribution and made Didsbury pay for their missed opportunities.
Davyhulme worked the ball through to their number 9 who managed to round James Leighton and square to the number 10 who stroked home.
It wasn't long until parity was deservedly restored when Didsbury captain, John Battersby, turned home a free kick from man of the match, Creasey. From there, Didsbury, and in particular, the centre half pairing of Battersby and Jon Turner, contained every attacking foray from the visiting side. However, their hard work was undone by a dubious and controversial offside call that allowed the Davyhulme striker through on goal and score the games' decisive goal.
In the dying minutes, John Corcoran found himself free in the box and looked likely to salvage a point for the hosts, only to see his shot saved by the feet of the keeper and the 3 points taken by the visitors.
A spirited display from Didsbury, who deserved a point, but instead must take something from their next fixture to end the year on a high note.