Nello James 2
AFC Didsbury 4
Goals: Harrison, Menghini, Kennedy (2)
Assists: Vasko (2), García García, Kilgour
Man of the Match: Vasko
Didsbury Too Four-Midable For Nello
It was a lovely Sunday morning, the birds were chirping and hung-over men all over Manchester woke up with morning glory, as the highly anticipated first league fixtures of the MASFL 2014/15 season began. Didsbury were to open their campaign against a competitive Nello James side that had previously pipped them to 3rd place only two seasons ago.
Everything about the day was new, much to the excitement of the young Slovakian hunk Pavol Vasko; new training gear was worn, new boots were aired, new players arrived, all ready to test their wits on the freshly cut... Oh! It seemed that despite nine meetings a week someone had forgotten to organise the cutting of the pitches at Hough End, meaning both teams had to play the best football they could in conditions fit for a game of hide and seek.
Despite the conditions, the Didsbury men didn’t hide from the task in hand and they came out of the traps quicker than Gaz New to a lonely girl in a dingy night club. The newly introduced 3-5-2 system, allowed Ben Jaffray, Colin McDonald and club captain, John Battersby, to begin play from the back and Didsbury dictated the opening moments of the game. Particular success was found on the wings. Cumbrian midfield maestro, Marra Harrison, was given plenty of the ball and regularly fed new supply teaching Spanish waiter, Jorge García García, who was given the time and space to spray the ball left and right to the threatening Gaz Lee and Pavol Vasko.
The opening goal came from a corner, Vasko whipping in a cross for Harrison to rise and direct his header into the far right of the net. Didsbury were 1-0 up after 10 minutes, controlling the game. Then with their first real attack of the game, Nello cut the ball in from the left wing to the unmarked advancing midfielder, who then drew the defence before releasing the ball into the box for the racehorse paced Nello attacker to slot the ball past the advancing Didsbury keeper, Wayne “yes mate” Rodgers.
Didsbury reacted by simply playing the game the only way they know how. Harrison, Pete Kilgour and García García sending the Nello midfield dizzy, before feeding the very lively Ross Menghini and dangerous running Dalek, Mike Corbett. The goal came when the ball was played down the Nello right, only to be cut out by McDonald and fed to the feet of Shakira Shakira – García García. He chipped a delightful ball over the top before Menghini brought it down with delightful ease causing the Nello defender to flap about like Vanessa Feltz on a rubber dingy. He then turned his man inside out before slotting the ball past a helpless keeper.
The home side were starting to get an appetite for the game and the challenges started to get tastier than a lamb kebab to a pisshead. Vasko on the receiving end of some particular rough treatment but the harshest challenge being reserved for the leafy bush at the side of the pitch who dared to grow where a ball might fall. Mother Nature will always win that battle but stay tuned for a pay-per-view event coming soon at a venue near you.
Then with 10 mins left in the half, the ball found its way to McDonald who stupidly tried to bring the ball back and play it to one of his hombres in the back three. The Nello striker took advantage of the sh*t f****n pitch, disposed of the Boothstown Beauty and kept his cool to advance into the box and slot home to make it 2-2 at half time.
After half time Didsbury made the most of the rolling subs to give action to the always reliable, Liam Hadfield, man about town, Matt Kennedy, and talk to frank’s mate, Jack Wallace, who much is his love for the beautiful city of Manchester, decided to embark on a mini tour and turned up at a completely different ground hours earlier. This led to a more direct approach by Didsbury but to their credit they continued to apply pressure all over the pitch. This eventually resulted in the breakthrough goal as Killer Kilgour intercepted and Kenners pounced onto his man with bear type aggression, to muscle him out and rip the ball past the keeper to nudge Didsbury in front.
The challenges then got heavier still, as Nello started to lose their cool, Didsbury’s normally country gentleman, Guy Walker, flew into a tackle which resulted in the first yellow card of the game, dished out by the referee, who clearly enjoys an Irish coffee or two with his breakfast! Moments later the curly haired 80’s throwback from Nello suffered the same treatment and surely now the tenner that he will have to pay for his yellow, will mean one less can of soul glow in next week’s Asda big shop.
With 5 minutes left on the clock, Vasko skipped past his defender only to be brought down for a penalty, which was then calmly converted by Kenners. The final whistle went and Didsbury walked off the pitch with the victory they deserved. They will take real satisfaction knowing that not only did they play the better football but the strength and depth that they now have in the squad, could and should see them push for that 2nd place finish, which they know they are capable of. They will also be hoping that after the heartbreak in the cup final last year, they can get their hands on their first piece of silverware this time around.
Words by Colin McDonald