AFC Didsbury 0
MAN OF THE MATCH: Darlington
Game Over For Didsbury
It was a Spain-like morning here in Manchester, warm and sunny perfect to practice football. After the Fallowfield disappointment, a depleted Didsbury squad were ready to take on Hulme in the JA Kennedy Cup semi-finals.
The challenge ahead was enormous: first of all, Didsbury were missing vital players such as captain John Battersby, Ben Jaffray, Matt Harrison, Tom Whiteley, Michael Corbett, Ross Menghini, and AFC Didsbury star and second best continental footballer of the squad Pavol Vasko.
Secondly, the rival was the frightening side of Hulme, undefeated this season, currently leading the league and sharing with us the honour of having beaten Moss Side this year. But we all know about the “Cup Magic” and the fact that in a football game anything can happen.
The aforementioned difficulties and an accidental glimpse of Kenners' six pack took me instantly to a different era. It was the year 450 BC, when Leonidas and his 300 Spartans went out to meet the Persian army, (the biggest army ever seen at that time) in the epic battle of Termopylae.
Back in Manchester, vice-captain, Colin McDonald, gave a motivational speech, even If I cannot remember the exact words I think the message was “ they won´t be scared about us, let’s show them no respect as Fallowfield did to us last week”.
So the semi- final started. With a 4-5-1 formation, our high pressure strategy succeeded in the first stages of the game preventing them from creating important chances. The defensive performance of the team was embodied by the unrelenting Man of the Match, Lloyd Darlington, who brought the necessary balance to our team during the match.
But frankly, that was all from us, we failed to keep possession and play shorter while long balls in behind their defence never met Matt Kennedy or Didsbury’s newest recruit, Tega Ighofose. Sadly as it is, we did not create a single chance in all the game. Anyway, the great team spirit and some fine saves from James Leighton left us 0-0 at half time, with 45 minutes to dream of a cup final.
Needless to say what happened in the second half. Soon they take the lead, and quickly double their advantage. Other chances came and went for them to make the final score 4-0. The referee blew for full-time leaving Didsbury players in a despondent mood, until Liam Hadfield counterattacked with some classic Didsbury banter!!
It was a day to keep making history, but sadly sharing the same destiny as the earlier mentioned Leonidas around 2500 years before, we were defeated and our heroic efforts were met with no reward. From my point of view, we all should be proud of last Sunday´s performance , we gave Hulme a hard time and played as a team helping each other at all times. Credit as well to Kenners, who turned up on time to the warm up for the first time in the season, another myth is gone.
Surprisingly accurate words by Jorge García García.
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