AFC DIDSBURY: Leighton, Westall, Johnston, Birtwistle, Simpson (Rouf), Kilgour (C), Williams, Kelly, Williamson (Plowright), Wallace (Gowrie), Ferguson (Quaye).
MAN OF THE MATCH: Kilgour
DIDSBURY STUCK ON THE PARKWAY
Didsbury 2’s arrived at Parrs Wood Sixth Form hoping to avenge the first defeat in their history, by returning to winning ways against Parkway Villa FC: A team that had experienced an indifferent start to the season. Manager Ollie Quaye made 5 changes to the starting line-up from the team that lost against Great Moor United, in the hope of securing victory for the 2’s.
Much of the pre-match chatter was about how much better the pitch was than the Hough End pitch we’re used to playing our home games on, and whether it would be Jack Simpson or Andy Williamson that would deliberately score an own goal to ruin James Leighton’s day. Will Westall gave some confidence boosting news to the Didsbury team claiming the Villa keeper was hilariously bad.
Didsbury made a steady start to the match as they immediately looked to get their passing game going; Kilgour dictating tempo in the middle of the pitch. Despite the early composure from Didsbury it was Parkway who created the early opportunities with their left winger twice cutting inside from his flank to have a shot from outside the area. Neither effort hit the target.
In response, Didsbury’s Chris Kelly looked to snatch an early lead for the visitors with a couple of long range efforts of his own. The first comfortably missed the target, and the second went that high in the air when the ball landed it was covered in ice.
Then came the first major incident in the match. Mike Johnston got into an altercation with the left winger of Parkway Villa which sparked pushing and shoving from both sides. Westall in particular took exception to a head-butt from the Villa left winger and went marching after him across the pitch. Eventually the melee petered out and the sides separated with the Villa winger claiming Westall was lucky he got dragged away as he would have been left in a pile on the floor. Presumably the winger forgot to add, ‘I’d have left you in a pile on the floor if I hadn’t run away to the other side of the pitch’. Anyhow bookings inevitably followed for the winger and Westall.
It was less than 5 minutes after that when the next major incident occurred. This time Claude Birtwistle took exception to a challenge from the same Villa winger for leading with his elbow. As the pair pulled out their Louis Vitton’s, Westall stole the limelight flying out of nowhere to suplex the Villa winger, wrestle him into a choke hold, and scream in his face “CALM DOWN. JUST CALM DOWN!!’ The referee took a dim view of the incident, booking Birtwistle, and sending off both the Villa winger and the unusually athletic Westall for his strange approach to taking the heat out of the situation.
Thankfully the entire incident was caught on camera by the official Didsbury cameraman, so Westall can submit the footage for his application to WWE.
With fight club over the match calmed down and the teams returned to trying to play football. It was in this period Didsbury created the best chances of the half. First Jack Wallace found himself with plenty of space at the back post after a nice passage of play, but although he beat the keeper, the post was to deny him the opening goal.
This was followed by a guilt edge chance for Kelly who latched on to a long looping ball with only an open net tap in required to break the deadlock, however Villa’s hilariously bad keeper leaped across the net like a migrating salmon to make an incredible save and leave Kelly red-faced for the miss. Fine for you.
As the half drew to a close Villa began to get on top of Didsbury, having multiple efforts on goal that were either off target, or that keeper Leighton comfortably mopped up. The referee blew for half time at a good time for the visitors, although on balance it was quite an even match.
A couple of changes at half time saw James Plowright and Dave Gowrie take the field in place of Wallace and Williamson.
Didsbury started the 2nd half well, again looking to dictate play through controlled possession. The best chance after the half came the way of Adam Ferguson who managed to get in behind the defence and get one on one with the keeper. Ferguson hit his shot straight at the hilariously bad Villa keeper who still made it look like a very good save.
Despite the firm foothold in the match, it was Villa who opened the scoring around the hour mark. Birtwistle looked to deal with a deep ball into the box, nodding a routine header back to keeper Leighton. Unfortunately Leighton was flapping like a chicken in the Didsbury net and allowed the ball to pass him for the Villa lead. (There is a slightly different version of events but as I’m writing the match report the one already written is the official one – Birtwistle found himself completely confused in his own area and in a severe error of judgment, thundered an unstoppable header past the helpless Leighton in goal)
Didsbury went on the offensive to try and level things up pushing Villa back into their own half. Stu Williams came closest to levelling for Didsbury with a back post header that was destined for the top corner, had the hilariously bad Villa keeper not pulled off yet another incredible save.
Leighton was doing his bit in the Didsbury goal making an excellent save down low to his right to tip a Villa effort round the post and keep the away side in the hunt.
There were 3 more changes made to the Didsbury team with Oscar Garcia, Rabbi Rouf, and Quaye replacing Simpson, Ferguson and the injured Johnston in the hope of getting the all-important equaliser. Although Didsbury huffed and puffed they didn’t manage to break the resolve of Gordon Banks’ lovechild in the Villa net.
As the game entered the last 15 minutes, the tiring Didsbury team found chances increasingly infrequent, becoming more susceptible to counter attacks themselves.
As the referee blew for full time, the Didsbury seconds were consigned to a second disappointing defeat in a row, although there was plenty to talk about after the match.
Words by Claude Birtwistle
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