AFC Didsbury: Rogers, Hadfield, Battersby (C), McDonald, Jaffray, Lee, García García, Whiteley, Darlington, Corbett, Menghini.
Goals: García García, Corbett, Darlington Assists: Corbett, García García, Lee Man of the Match: Corbett
"I never comment on referees and I'm not going to break the habit of a lifetime for that prat."Big Ron Atkinson On the back of a disappointing November in which Didsbury were twice eliminated from cup competitions on penalties, a league fixture against bottom club Joshua Brooks seemed the ideal tonic for a team looking to re-discover their early season form and end the successful 2014 year on a high.
Returning to his old club, Didsbury new boy Ross Menghini might have been expecting a red hot reception. He needn’t have worried as the freezing conditions and intermittent hail storms meant that not only did the Joshua Brooks supporters stay away, so too had most of the playing squad as the home team were barely able to scrape together a starting eleven.
Manager Adam Musson was missing for the fixture owing to his traditional yuletide visit to Santacon in London (google it!!). Rumours that he was employed for the day as one of the little helpers are unconfirmed at this stage.Credit must go to Didsbury super-fan and stand in manager for the day, Janet Pilkington, who braved the cold as the only witness to this absolute turkey of a match.
Turning to the action, Didsbury started the game in a lively fashion, creating a number of half chances by looking to utilise their pace on the flanks and exploit the extremely suspect Joshua Brooks fullbacks. The opening goal arrived midway through the first half when prolific goal scorer Mike Corbett turned provider, his tempting cross from the right flank was met by the impressive Jorge Garcia-Garcia who found the net with a precise header.
As has so often been the case this season, the tendency of the Didsbury defence to overplay at the back led to mistakes and it was only the wastefulness of the Joshua Brooks forwards that let Didsbury off the hook.Goalkeeper Wayne Rogers was only once troubled in the 1st half, saving very smartly at his front post to a well struck attempt from outside the area by the home side.
The half time whistle gave Didsbury the chance to introduce some fresh legs and once again the away side started the half brightly. Didsbury soon doubled their lead when Garcia- Garcia’s pass found Corbett at the edge of the area, who finished superbly from a tight angle with a shot high into the top left corner of the goal.
With a two goal cushion, Didsbury were in complete control of the game and began to create numerous openings. The game was livened up considerably when Didsbury defender Ben Jaffray was on the receiving end of a dangerous and some would say cowardly challenge from his opposing number. Captain John Battersby was quiche to jump to the defence of his teammate and made it abundantly clear that the young scamp would not be on his Christmas card list this year. From the resulting melee, Battersby and the offending player were both dismissed as both sides were reduced to 10 men. The Didsbury captain made sure the referee was fully aware of his disapproval for the decision and almost landed himself in further trouble with his protests.He can expect a call from the FA this week.
This tear up seemed to give the home team a much needed wake up call and they finally began to ask questions of the Didsbury defence and commit men forward.From one of these attacks, a hopeful ball was played into the box and centre-back Colin McDonald was very harshly judged to have fouled the Joshua Brooks striker leading to a penalty being awarded. For once, the spot kick gods looked favourably on Didsbury and the attempt was blazed wildly over the bar.
Didsbury made the most of this reprieve by immediately going on the attack and finding the killer 3rd goal. Once again the chance was fashioned down the right hand side as winger Gaz Lee found the onrushing Lloyd Darlington with a neat pull back which Darlington calmly slotted into the bottom left corner of the net.
This was not a classic Didsbury performance by any means. The conditions and the lacklustre opposition meant that this was a day where all that mattered was the 3 points. On the bright side, only the second clean sheet of the season ought to give the recently shaky defence some much needed confidence and with a win against Stretford Victoria on Sunday, Didsbury could go into 2015 in second place in the league where tougher challenges await.
St Johns Greens 2 AFC Didsbury 2 *** St Johns progress after winning 6-5 on penalties ***
AFC Didsbury: Leighton, Hadfield, Mackie (Peat), Battersby (C), Jaffray, Lee (Wallace), Harrison, Whiteley (Kilgour), Vasko (New), Corbett, Menghini.
Goals: Menghini, Harrison Assists: Vasko Man of the Match: Harrison Sloppy Didsbury Dumped out of Cup…Again
Kilgour and Wallace can expect the phone call from the Pizza Hut ad team as once again Didsbury succumbed to some abject finishing and suicidal defending to crash out of a cup against far inferior opposition on penalties.
The game started brightly with Didsbury’s passing game in full flow and St Johns chasing shadows for the first 10minutes.What seems to look like a copy and paste from almost every match report over the past 2 years:
“Didsbury’s pressure didn’t actually result in the opposition keeper making a save”
Meant Didsbury’s opening dominance evaporated and allowed St Johns to grow into the game.
Nothing could have made them grow into it more than the worst back pass this club has seen from captain Battersby.He managed to pull off a 1 in 20 through ball from wide on the left to dissect defence and goalkeeper and straight into the path of the St Johns striker who made no mistake with the finish.
1 – 0 St Johns
With this unexpected and undeserved bonus gifted to them the Division 1 leaders grew into the game and Didsbury’s passing game started to allude them with both Mackie and Hadfield gifting huge opportunities with more sloppy play at the back.
Didsbury struggled to get their forwards into the game and Corbett and Menghini both had the ‘sulking striker’ look planted across their faces for most of the first half.
When the ball finally did get worked upfield Menghini twisted inside and out to create Didsbury’s first opportunity which was followed up by both Whiteley and Lee having speculative efforts over the bar.
At the break Didsbury were still comfortably the better team but with nothing to show for it.
With Musson firing the lads up with a classic rally call there was surely only one team scoring next.
And that was St Johns
Some more hopeless defending that hasn’t been seen since an Under 13s game between Blackburn Celtic Juniors and Burnley Minis a gently floated corner to the near post was inexcusably left by Lee on the line and with Leighton nowhere to be seen the ball goes directly in.Sunday League at it’s finest.
2 – 0 St Johns.
This second goal seemed to spark both the team and the manager with a tactical switch to 3 at the back meant young Rick Peat took to the field in place of centre half Mackie.
With play becoming quicker and more direct Didsbury started to play far higher up the pitch and were duly rewarded when a clever free kick from Menghini went under the wall and into the bottom corner
1 – 2 St Johns
It was now all Didsbury with man of the match Matthew Harrison running the show in midfield. Dominant in the first half and fired up in the second he met a beautiful cross from Pavol Vasko on the front left of the opposition area.The header from this position was sublime, arrowing up and over the keeper into the top right hand corner.
2 – 2 and Didsbury on top.
With fresh legs in the form of Kilgour adding a real spark and pace in midfield Didsbury continued to build momentum knowing that there was no extra time coming.
Once more this season Didsbury’s final ball was not good enough with the St Johns keeper not registering a save of note at all in the closing stages with Rik Peats deflected effort cannoning off the post the closest Didsbury came to the winner.
With the clock ticking down and the skipper still fuming at his poor performance he decided to run half the pitch to stop poor Tricky getting kicked by the smallest man on the pitch.All while Gaz New looked on 5 yards away.
The final whistle blew and we were going to penalties.
After the last exit Harrison and Jaffray kept their hands well and truly down their shorts when the question on who wanted to take came up.The courageous 5 were Hadfield, Peat, Corbett, Menghini and Kilgour
Peat, Hadfield and Menghini all converting along with St Johns counterparts to leave the scores at 3 – 3.
Big Jim Leighton finally announced himself to the game with a fantastic save to put Didsbury in the driving seat.
Corbett converted the next along with St Johns final penalty.
This meant Kilgour could send Didsbury into Round 2.Weird skip at the start of his run up didn’t bode well, horrible dribbler to the right hand side.Keeper walks across and picks the ball up.
Into Sudden Death.
Pressure on Gaz New??You clearly don’t know the Welshman.Banged in to keep Didsbury in it.
With St Johns continuing to convert meant Jack ‘William’ Walllace needed score.It wasn’t to be, as he sunk to his knees and the tears rolled down his cheeks his team mates couldn’t look him in the eye.
Hung, Drawn and Quartered his ancestor may have been but that is an easy exit from this world compared to the intolerable pain that follows around a decisive penalty miss.
We can only hope Wallace drags himself off the 5th Av floor in the early hours of Sunday morning to put in a performance to get us the 3 points against Joshua Brooks
Goals: Menghini (2), Kennedy, Vasko, New Assists: Kennedy, Whiteley, New, Menghini (2) Man of the Match: Menghini
When I got home on Sunday I could not stop thinking...Mc’Donalds or KFC???What had made him leave??? Why...
What a tough decision, I know.
There is only one dude who can queue up in Mc's and leave everything and everyone behind and go for KFC, and he knows it ;) we love you ..
Whatever made him change his mind that was after the match so let’s go four hours back in time...,
It was a gray cold November morning at Broadway Park, everything seemed to be ready for another engrossing match, till the middle of warming up when AFC realized that they are at the wrong pitch and their opponents are god knows where. Luckily our manager managed to sort that one out after making a quick call.
Before we started there was a queer smell floated in the air ,suddenly all eyes were on Mackie's fiancée , is this how Mackie is paying for his weeding , is this how you can afford to invite everyone for your posh dinner , is it ? is it Mackie?
No wonder, Rogers missed the ball few times in first 5 minutes, thanks god they didn't convert any of it.
Anyway, AFCD started playing tiqui-taca (who doesn’t know what is tiqui-taca just ask google) from the beginning with Jorge dictating the tempo from the middle, they were maintaining the possession well, good on the ball, without any fear going forward, quite solid at the back, with only three defenders as they switched back to famous 3-5-2 even though it is a not good formation, oppositions creating way more chances as they would against 4-4-2.
However, there is always something positive to pick in negative things, did not take long and Matt K.the KFC dude sent beautiful pass behind the highly unorganized defense probably the worst I everseen in my entire life and Ross found himself one on one and with a Diego Costa’s style did not give any chance for keeper to stop him celebrating his 6th goal of the season…. 1:0 to AFC!!!
After the opening goal the game changed a bit, AFC slowed down, Broadway lads got better on the ball, with few lucky touches created few chances and left the AFC defenders once again thinking of themselves. Fortunately, their strikers’ ability were really poor so no goal for Broadway.
With 25 minutes gone, AFCD exchanged few balls in the middle of field, passing the ball forward to Matt K, who brilliantly controlled the ball, went through few players as if there weren't even there and once he reached the edge of the box he didn’t give the keeper any chance to stop his rocket shot. 2:0 to AFC!!! Everything seems to be back on the track after few weeks of disappointment.
We could see some bright moments in AFCD performance, co-operation between McDonald and Vasko was working really well with help from the middle from Garcia, Whitely and Harrison, the same on the other side Jaffray with Gaz Lee caused problems for Broadway’s defenders. Gaz Lee was playing his another great game ("if he just knew how good he is, he just has to believe in himself " as an old Irish would say who BTW did not disappoint again, teaching the opponents good behavior and some basic rules which one of their defenders obviously didn’t like it, kick the ball away, thought he would be a hero and true is he just proved how stupid he is.
AFCD managed to have some good corners till end of the first half and that was it pretty much it in first half.
In spite of the wining 2:0 AFCD wasn’t 100% satisfied with their performance, and wanted to improve even more with the second half ahead of them, score some more goals and more importantly not concede any.
With Gaz New about to get on the pitch that could be a whole new chapter…
Well, after he got on the pitch he received a good ball from right side, ran along the box and finished it with a decent shoot. No longer after that there was a good combination on the right side again and he crossed the ball in and Ross alias Costa nodded it in (after being 2 yards offside) I could clearly see it from my position. 3:0 to AFCD!!!!
Few subs were made, With Hadfield and Lloyd coming on, brought some fresh wind into AFCD’s sails some good passes and stable defending were made especially by Hadfield.
What happened then, it is difficult to put into words, it was quick and did cost Rogers his clean sheet ,everything started after Whiteley hilariously ending up on the floor , myself laughing my head off instead attacking the fella with the ball (pretty sure there was few more of us doing the same) , and that’s how Broadway got back to the game.
Didn’t take long for AFCD to shake off from the goal , Ross got into the box from right side and with a gentle chip set the ball for Vasko on the other side who comfortably volleyed it in. 4:1 !!!!
Similar chance has Lloyd few minutes later unfortunately the ball went above the bar… (It was good mate , but not quite Carling !!! )
Gaz new then finished his good performance with great goal as he sprinted through whole pitch, leaving the 40 years old dude behind him and not giving any chance to keeper , what an outstanding moment. 5:1 to AFCD !!!
Gaz found himself in few more chances afterwards,however, he did not manage score any more goals.
Broadway, added one more goal at the end, but that did not stop AFCD from having a nice Sunday , either in KFC or Mc'Donalds, personal preferences ...
All Didsbury players are looking forward to their X-mas Party and next Sunday match which is going to be live on ITV from 10:30
Let me put this definition into context by playing a laborious and rather boring guessing game with you, which after much deliberation, I’ve nicknamed ‘Predict the link’… First clue: What links the dates 19th May 2013, and 11th May 2014? Second clue: What do the figures £77m and £75m relate to? Thirdly: What do these two names have in common – Andre Villas Boas and Brendan Rodgers? I warned you the game was boring, but please just indulge me.
19th May 2013 - the date Gareth Bale played his final game for Tottenham Hotspur. £77m is the reported fee Real Madrid stumped up for his services, and AVB is the Manager who was charged with rebuilding the squad after the loss of this sporting colossus.
11th May 2014 - the date Luis Suarez played his final game for Liverpool Football Club, £75m is the sum of money Barcelona used to steal him away to that God-forsaken hell hole, and Brendan Rodgers was the man given the impossible task of replacing the slightly ‘bitey’ Uruguayan genius.
Okay, so now for the final part of the conundrum… How do the date 15th May 2014; A pack of pickled onion monster munch and the promise of a pokey bum wank; and Adam Musson all fit into this mind-numbing link game? You should have worked it out by now, but I’ll tell you the answer anyway.
15th May 2014 was the date Neil Creasey played his last competitive game for AFCD, the monster munch and promise are what he was sold for, and Adam Musson is the gentleman currently waiting for Virgin Trains ticket to London for Christmas so that he can collect payment. While waiting, the impossible job of replacing an AFCD legend has fallen squarely on his shoulders.
Now I was going to write a clever link about how we have replaced the irreplaceable Neil Creasy with big talent across the park, and as a result, we are currently mirroring these premier league giants on a much smaller scale. I’m not going to do that now due to time constraints. What I will say is that this is the strongest squad AFCD has ever had in terms of ability, and we now have quality in each position. Garcia Garcia, Kilgour, and Darlington have all brought culture to the midfield, Mangina is my player of the year so far, Hadfield has brought a calm head and a touch of class to the defence, and Kenners is dead good at warming up. So let me finish this section by saying Creasy is missed, the new lads are good, and as a team we are moving forward. Now on to the happenings on Sunday…
And so it was on a crisp Centenary remembrance Sunday morning in Stretford, that AFC Didsbury were looking to jump off the microcosmic boat, and do something that both Liverpool and Spurs have failed to do since losing their star men – play well and win. Trafford Mersey were the opponents, a place in the third round of the Manchester Amateur cup was the prize awaiting the victors, and the fighting spirit of our fallen hero’s would surely be needed if AFCD were to triumph.
Didsbury, for all of their recent problems, started the game brightly. The Full-backs Jaffray and Hadfield were calm and collected on the ball, the midfield were stroking the ball around confidently, and both Darlington and ‘Man of the Match’ Lee were constant threats down the wings. Even AFCD Captain John ‘Quiche’ Battersby, who had brazenly set his stall out for the day by attempting to warm up in his Grandad’s cardigan (I suppose we all have our own ways of showing our respect on poppy day), was proving that even if you do dress like a pensioner, it doesn’t mean you will necessarily play like one.
It was during this period of dominance that AFCD carved out not one, but two golden opportunities to take the lead. The first chance was created when right-back Hadfield knocked an inch perfect ball into the path of the lively Darlington, sending him through on goal with no defenders in sight. It’s difficult to understand how the ball didn’t end up in the back of the net, however the words ‘barn door’ and ‘banjo’ spring to mind when thinking about Darlo’s finishing this season, and this time was no-exception. With only the keeper to beat, and an eternity to think about where he was going to put it, how he was going to celebrate, and whether to choose Goose or Venison for his Sunday dinner, he managed to skew his shot embarrassingly wide, and the score stayed level at 0-0. On a slightly lighter note, I believe he opted for foie gras as a starter.
Minutes later, a second guilt-edged chance fell to our cultured European import Jorge ‘George Shakira-shakira’ Garcia Garcia. After some great footwork from Corbett in the Trafford Mersey box, he found the impressive Spanish Midfielder with an excellent reverse ball, who managed to not-so-impressively blast over from six yards out. Rumours that he was heard muttering something about ‘anything Kilgour can do…’ under his breath as he made his way back into position in midfield, probably aren’t as wide of the mark as his most recent effort was.
Mid-way through the first half, against the run of play, there was a breakthrough. Trafford Mersey on a rare attack won themselves a corner on the right hand side. The ball was whipped into the box, and stand-in goalkeeper James Leighton (sorry Jimmy) initially did well to fight his way through a crowd of players and punch the ball away from his goal line. The AFCD defenders didn’t do enough to win the second ball, and after several deflections, miss-cues, and all-round calamity, the resultant pot-shot from the edge of the area ended up nestled in the bottom corner of the Didsbury goal. Proper Sunday league!
The game became scrappy, with few chances created by either side, and neither team really managing to take control. With both sets of players praying for the half-time whistle and the chance to re-group, the referee duly obliged.
Didsbury needed many things from the half-time team talk, but the Laurel and Hardy-esque sketch acted out by Manager Musson and Captain Quiche wasn’t one of them. Musson’s ideas were delivered with a similar level of clarity to that of Rain Man giving instructions… after suffering a major stroke and then double dropping to escape the pain for a night.
With the second half underway, 20 minutes passed before anything even remotely interesting happened – Gaz New was brought on to stand offside for the rest of the game (as a club, AFCD have a reputation for thinking outside of the box when it comes to tactics); Darlington was hacked down in the box by two clumsy defenders but the referee somehow missed it; and the tricky Jack Wallace was denied a clear goal scoring opportunity by the inept referee, after having been adjudged to have gained an unfair advantage by watching Trafford’s left back fall over his own feet.
Captain Quiche, fueled by weeks of Eggy-protein abuse, finally snapped and let the referee know exactly what he thought of his below average performance (people in glass houses JB). He ended up in the book for his troubles. Let’s hope this is the only time this season the red-mist descends on AFCD’s normally level-headed captain…
With time running out for Didsbury, a moment on magic turned the game on it’s head. Midfield general Whiteley picked the ball up on the edge of the area. Ignoring the opportunity to shoot at goal himself, he cleverly (and rather unselfishly), delivered a superb disguised pass into the feet of Corbett. With the quality of pass straight out of the top draw, and Corbett’s unquestionable ability to score easy chances carved out by his talented team mates, the outcome was inevitable – 1-1. Game on!
Trafford Mersey hung on for dear life, Matty Harrison did what comes naturally to him and missed a one-on-one to win the game, and Gaz New stayed offside (putting in the kind of performance ex-management headache John Corcoran would have been proud of). The referee blew for full-time and the match was decided on penalties – Didsbury lost… again.
While the result is heartbreaking, AFCD can take solace in the fact that the team played well, they battled, and they deserved a win. Maybe Adam Musson is on the verge of achieving something that neither AVB or Rogers have worked out how do yet – taking a great squad onto the next level.