AFC Didsbury: Stiff, Johnson, McDonald (C), Hadfield, Darlington (Musson), Whiteley, Harrison, Vasko, García García (Wallace), Corbett, Kennedy (New).
GOALS: Vasko (2), García García ASSISTS: Kennedy, García García, Corbett MAN OF THE MATCH: Vasko
No love lost as Didsbury come out on top
The Valentines weekend saw a depleted Didsbury squad take on Nello James who were fresh off the back of a 6-4 victory over Halton Juniors. With a lot of the players putting the “close the gate” warm up to good use until the early hours it allowed the manager a rare foray into his player/manager role as he named himself on the bench.
Given the weekend it may have surprised many that Didsbury’s own ginger Neuer, Mike Stiff, was able to walk following his ruthless degrading of his female captive the night before, let alone make his debut between the sticks.
It was a dominant start for Didsbury and for once this yielded an early goal. A long ball by Matt Kennedy caused the Nello keeper to sprint off his line and scuff a clearance straight to the feet of Pavol Vasko who lobbed the ball first time over the retreating goalkeeper into the far corner.
Didsbury remained much the better side but it was a long ball over the top that almost undid all their hard work. The whippet of a striker beat the offside trap and bore down on goal but must have momentarily been star struck as Prince Harry came out to meet him. Stiff was able to save well and hold on to the ball in a situation which should have brought Nello level.
That was to be Nello’s only sight of goal in the first half and seemed to kick Didsbury back into action as the solitary goal lead was shown to be a precarious one.
The second goal was not long in coming (something which I am all too familiar with) and was, in the words of Battersby, “a magnificent goal, simple as that”. Magnificent it certainly was though as Didsbury worked the ball from left to right, then down the right flank near the corner flag. With seemingly nowhere to go a quick one two gets the ball into the penalty area and then 3 one touch passes later it is at the feet of our favourite Eastern European, who sees his first attempt saved but makes no mistake with the second, smashing it into the back of the net. Ruud Gullit coined the term “sexy football” and now I understood what he meant as I felt the snake stir in appreciation.
It was looking comfortable for Didsbury, so much so that manager, Adam Musson, was being allowed to experiment and so he let Kenners have some shooting practice, but this came to an abrupt end as they were posing a threat to low flying aircraft. Musson then allowed Tom Whiteley into the box but when the ball found him 8 yards out it was his control that yielded the goal kick rather than his shooting. At the other end the lack of action meant Stiff forgot where he was as he lapsed into 5-a-side rules and tried to roll out of his hands from a goal kick.
Eventually a third goal did arrive. Man of the match Vasko dances past a couple of players on the left before delivering a sublime cross into the 6 yard box where 3 unmarked Didsbury players wait. However rather than simply smashing it in, they decided to show what a great team spirit we have by letting each of them have a touch before Jorge García García applied the finishing touch.
3-0 at half time and fully deserved.
Nello came out in the second half knowing that if they could get an early goal then they may yet be able to salvage from the game. Didsbury's first half dominance was not repeated in the first 15 minutes as Nello gave as good as they got but neither side were able to test either keeper.
As the hour mark approached the first change were made as Jack Wallace came on for the impressive Garcia Garcia, and so switching the team to the classic 4-4-2 formation. Was it this change of formation or was it a lapse in concentration but soon after the change Nello finally got the goal they had been looking for. The ball looked to be going harmlessly out for a Didsbury goal kick, being shepherded out by the ever watchful Colin McDonald, but then out of nowhere the Nello forward nipped around him and got a toe on it to poke it back into the 6 yard area. Stiff and the other striker launched themselves at the ball but it broke kindly for the Nello forward and he was able to slot it into the empty net. 3-1.
Nello were pushing up the pitch now and this was leaving them vulnerable at the back. Wallace, back in the squad after eye surgery, latched onto a huge Stiff kick which deceived the Nello defence, but despite his perfect vision he failed to see the keeper was stood on his line so his attempted lob was a waste.
Vasko continued to be a thorn in the Nello's right side as he repeatedly skipped past the full back to deliver tantalising crosses, the first fell to Wallace who scuffed his shot wide, and the second to Kenners who failed to make contact with the goal gaping. That was all but his last contribution as Mr Muscle himself, Gaz New, took his place.
New gave Didsbury a new dimension allowing them to play the ball in behind. And it was good play from New which saw his crossed headed clear to Whiteley. His eyes lit up as it fell beautifully for a first time volley. The whole of Didsbury held their breath as he catches it perfectly and like a missile it bares down on goal. The same thing runs through every Didsbury players head “I'm still hearing about that scuffed goal he scored back in November, how many times will I have to hear this one?”. Fortunately, the Nello defender did everyone a favour by putting in a superb block and not only keeping Nello in the game but saving the Didsbury team from going voluntarily deaf.
Nello were having more of the ball but all the chances were falling to Didsbury. The only time they looked in danger was when they overplayed it at the back causing McDonald to make a couple of excellent last ditch tackles to avert the danger.
At this stage New was so confident of his pace he was mocking the Nello defence as he walked around them with his hands in his pockets, or perhaps just prepping himself for the post-match shower.
As the game entered the final 15 minutes hard man Vasko was again in the thick of the action. Vasko known for his love of a good scrap was deemed to have taken down the man mountain at the back unfairly by the referee and whilst they exchanged words he was slapped which unbelievably went unpunished.
With 2 minutes to go the Didsbury defence passed the ball straight to the Nello striker in the area and he was able to jink past his marker before firing past Stiff into the far corner.
Despite the possibility of a nervy few minutes, with the exception of Musson being “backed into by their winger” and then falling over claiming a penalty, which was emphatically not given by the ref, Didsbury comfortably saw the game out. Relief all round but not least for Stiff’s woman as she would only have to enact out chapters 6-14 of 50 Shades of Grey, as he was in a good mood, as he and Didsbury left with the 3 points.
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.
AFC Didsbury: Rogers, Hadfield, Johnson, Battersby (C), Mackie, Lee, Whiteley, Kilgour (Darlington), Peat (New), García García (Stiff), Corbett.
Goals: Kilgour, Darlington, Hadfield Assists: Whiteley, Corbett, New Man of the Match: García García
Feeble Fallowfield Fluke Draw
Didsbury have been going through turbulent times in the past few weeks. No win in 2 games and a growing injury list that is even testing the 25 man strong squad, this game against accustomed league whipping boys Fallowfield FC was an ideal opportunity to get the season back on track.
The match saw pairing Stiff and Wayne reunited for the first time in over a year, asked in the pre match interview whether he thought the break-up of the Stayne contingent had a negative effect on the team and whether their coming back together could spark a revival for Didsbury, Rogers paused, gave the question some thought and perfectly summed up his response with the ever effective combination of the words ‘yes’ and ‘mate’.
Individually there were a number of good points to take away from the first half, Rick Peat enjoyed a lot of early success down the flank and was nearly awarded an assist when he set-up Jorge Garcia-Garcia, The Spaniard met the pull-back with a first time shot only to see his rising effort just evade the crossbar. Man of the match Jorge continued his solid start to the season and again was pivotal in instigating some trade mark tika taka football, made some solid tackles and frequently found himself in promising positions. Credit also for centre back Paul Johnson (overdue a testimonial) who connected well with an expertly crafted corner only to see the Fallowfield keeper save brilliantly at his far post.
Despite occasions of individual brilliance Didsbury lacked the cohesive teamwork that normally comes to them as second nature. This allowed Fallowfield to take a shock lead with an uncharacteristic moment of class that has somewhat eluded this team in previous encounters, the Fallowfield player found himself with time to control the ball on the corner of the box and magnificently curled the ball into the top corner leaving goalkeeper Rogers no chance… Not bad for a side that if analysed by OPTA would generate statistics akin with a flock of headless farmyard based birds.
A former Didsbury trialist was present on the side-lines shouting orders to his team mates. Having been shunned by trigger happy recruiter Adam Musson and then being unable to break into this calamity of a Fallowfield team questions really need to be asked of whether football is the right sport for this man. Unlike Brendan Rodgers our CIMA qualified manager Musson can now justify adding ‘ability to spot a dud’ to his ever expanding repertoire of managerial competencies.
John Battersby inadvertently put the butterfly effect theory to the test at half time. Although he will take credit for a managerial master stroke no one will truly know what might have happened if Lloyd Darlington had realised that he was not resident garage rapper Mennis, actually needed a pair of shin pads to play the game and was introduced to the field at half-time as intended. The 5 minute substitution delay while Darlington ran to pick up his pads allowed dug out destined Pete Kilgour to capitalise on some brilliant build up play and sumptuous through ball by Tom Whiteley to drive in the equaliser. Darlington then proceeded to bring an injection of energy and scored his first club goal moments after his delayed introduction. Mike Corbett unselfishly slotting the ball into his path before Darlington left the keeper rooted as he smashed the ball into the top corner. Unfortunately quantum physics is yet to devise a method for revealing the alternative parallels of Chaos Thoery, therefore, judgement will not be passed on the potential benefits of the preceding sequence of events.
Didsbury were now firmly in the driving seat and Darlington almost became provider when he found fellow substitute New running into space, New’s first touch left the defender for dead and put him clear through on goal against the keeper. New’s strike went through the keepers legs but then somehow using a combination of his heel and complete luck the keeper managed to divert the ball past the post. This is probably the best piece of news Mike Hay will have heard since himself, Andy Murray and his fellow 1,617,989 yes voters were politely told to ‘sit back down and shut the **** up’. Hay missing in recent weeks has apparently been spotted rounding up clansmen in the Glens of Scotland to try and emulate the efforts of William Wallace, one way or another he will get his freedom.
Mike Corbett almost scored a contender for goal of the season when his stand-still chip was denied by the woodwork. The omens were becoming more apparent by the minute that this game was not going to pan out as Didsbury had planned.
The calibre of Fallowfields second goal was much more characteristic of their ability as a footballing side. The Didsbury defence would admit they probably should have done better but not even new-age keeper/sweeper Wayne Rogers or the outstretched 6ft3 chassis of quiche connoisseur John Battersby could prevent this scrappy goal being scored.
New picked up the ball on the left flank and inspired by shouts of ‘take him on’ by midfield marshall Tom Whiteley went past the Fallowfield right back before cutting inside on a mazy run. Considering they had never played together before the communication between Liam Hadfield and New was almost telepathic - allowing the substitute to pick out the right backs marauding, pitch length run with the outside of his left boot. Hadfield showed great composure and out of nowhere arrowed an absolute screamer into the top corner. 3-2 to Didsbury with less than 10 minutes remaining.
Having being trolled on this very website making lewd gestures towards the lack of flaccidity present in Ex-player David Hargreaves underwear, the Fallowfield keeper clearly had a point to prove. This was evident when he made an appearance in the Didsbury 18 yard box for a corner in the dying moments of stoppage time. His 70 yard dash would have been classed as heroic had he made more of the pin-point cross to his head, however, the ball was bundled away to an onrushing Fallowfield player who shinned a feeble effort through the melee of players to equalise. 3-3 full time.
Didsbury players now move onto a cup game this weekend, hopefully there will be no rifts among the ranks following this result and the small fact each player will be breaking tooth and nail in an attempt to win the generous ‘AFCD Xmas Ticket Sales Incentive Scheme’ before November 28th is upon us…
AFC Didsbury: Rogers, Hadfield (Johnson), Battersby (C), McDonald, Jaffray, Lee, Whiteley, Harrison, Vasko, García García, Kennedy (Mackie).
Goals: Whiteley, Vasko, Lee Assists: McDonald, García García, Harrison Man of the Match: Battersby
Didsbury Halt Juniors
On March 4th 1995, Ipswich Town were beaten 9-0 at home by Manchester United (they even let Roy Keane score – embarrassing). The Tractor Boys didn’t score in their next five games, and lost their next six on the bounce. Crushing defeats can break the weak-willed; so how would AFC Didsbury respond to their 6-1 reversal last time out? Today on a wind-swept Wythenshawe field, AFC Didsbury put on their shin pads (more of that later), got back on their horse, and rode it all the way to a spirited draw. To their credit, every Didsbury player managed to arrive punctually (take that, daylight saving time). However, solving that complex mathematical puzzle obviously took it out of the away side, because most of us were about 15 minutes late when it came to actually competing in the match itself. After just a couple of minutes a Halton Juniors attack down the right lead to a pull-back, which was finished into the far corner by their captain. Looking for a reply Didsbury committed men to a corner, which was dribbled not once but twice into the first defender by Gareth Lee, leading inexcusably to a 3-on-2 counter-attack. Their stocky and skilful left winger finished well with the outside of his boot, and memories of two weeks ago surely entered into the Didsbury players’ minds.
The response was defiant and immediate. Lee managed to finally control the ball, taking everyone including their right-back by surprise, and was taken down on the right flank. Colin McDonald eyed up the wind and the slope, and whipped his left around the ball. A mass of bodies tried to make contact as it headed towards the ‘keeper. Taking advantage of the confusion, Tom Whiteley claimed a goal that should perhaps be credited as an own goal, McDonald’s, or even to ‘the wind’. Opportunism at its best, 2-1.
With that, Didsbury were back. Pavol Vasko, Jorge García García and Matt Kennedy began to link up well; Matt Harrison and Whiteley began to dominate the midfield, and back four began to win their tussles against the shin-pad-less Mennis up top.
As an aside, I have a strange admiration for a player who, after witnessing the truly terrible injury suffered just two weeks ago, decided to eschew this injury-prevention measure. Apparently, when @MennisXCIX goes on rides at Alton Towers, he’s so confident he refuses to pull the bar down. When @MennisXCIX goes on holiday, he’s so confident he doesn’t even buy holiday insurance. When @MennisXCIX is changing a light bulb, he doesn’t bother to switch off the relevant lighting circuit. When @MennisXCIX buys an electrical appliance, he’s so confident he doesn’t even fill in the warranty form. I’ve become distracted, back to the game…
Now an even contest, Didsbury knew they had to make the most of the wind, slope and momentum, all of which were in their favour. Exotic playmaker García García got to the by-line and dinked a sumptuous cross to the back post. Meeting it was Vasko’s right boot, volleying confidently into the roof of the net. A goal made in mainland Europe, it may have upset some UKIP supporters, but it had AFC Didsbury’s in raptures. 2-2 half time.
The second half began without much to note. Halton Juniors had more of the ball, and with the slope now in their favour, had a strong territorial advantage. But with Ben Jaffray and Liam Hadfield making excellent interceptions, and the double-pivot of Whiteley and Harrison ably protecting captain, John Battersby, and McDonald, chances were few and far-between. A five minute break in proceedings further restricted the flow of the game. The ref, seeming believing he is paid by the hour, decided to lecture a large swathe of Halton Juniors’ players and supporters for their incessant claims for unpopular decisions. I spent the time thinking about how hard Mennis must be, and started to partially regret standing up for the ref as I did a few weeks ago. (Although I do stand by what I said, you can’t call a 60 year old man a f***ing c***.).
The break did us no good, and the front four of Halton Juniors began to twist and turn to greater effect. When it came, their goal was relatively simple, and almost an exact copy of our second. A cross was lifted to the back post, and their centre-midfielder met it sweetly on the volley giving goalkeeper, Wayne Rogers, no chance. 3-2.
Again, questions were asked of our character. If some of us fail to digest even the most basic of egg-and-pastry-based savoury foods, do we really have the stomach for the Mikey Williams Premiership fight? Vasko, determined to answer in the affirmative, continued to go at his man up the left. Finding half a yard, he clipped in a cross towards Harrison, who had taken over Kennedy’s Herculean task as the lone striker. Harrison competed well, and when his header was blocked the ball looped into the air just beyond the penalty spot. Lee swivelled and made contact with a difficult left footed volley, which positively sizzled into the bottom corner. 3-3.
Off the bench came Jonny Mackie and Paul Johnson, to provide much needed energy as Didsbury looked to stand firm. Halton threw on yet more forward-thinking players, but diligent and brave defending from all of Didsbury’s players kept the home side at bay. Time and again their quicksilver feet bought them half a yard for a shot, but time and again a Didsbury player was there to make a block – none more so than MOM, Battersby, who really earned his post-match flan.
With time running out the ball landed at the feet of one Juniors’ player, who had the chance to render all of our efforts fruitless. Out came Rogers, and with his outstretched left boot, he made a crucial stop, and secured us an incredibly hard-earned point.
We are not Ipswich Town 1994-1995. We are AFC Didsbury 2014-2015, and we’re back on track.
AFC Didsbury: Rogers, Jaffray, Mackie, Hadfield (Walker), Kilgour (Johnson), Whiteley (C), Peat (Lee), García García (Richardson), Vasko, Corbett, Menghini.
Goals: Menghini Assists: Peat Man of the Match: Whiteley Didsbury hearts are broken after Halton score six.
“Some things in life are bad They can really make you mad Other things just make you swear and curse When you're chewing on life's gristle Don't grumble, give a whistle And this'll help things turn out for the best... And... always look on the bright side of life...”
A lackadaisical display from Didsbury saw them succumb to their first defeat of the season at the hands of Halton Juniors.
The opening exchanges were dominated by the visiting side who managed to carve open the Didsbury defence on a number of occasions. It came as no surprise to see them take the lead and quickly double their advantage within the first 30 minutes of proceedings.Halton were certainly the better side, playing with intensity and pace, managing to exploit the defensive frailties that unusually characterised the Didsbury side. Notable chances continued to present themselves to Halton as they struck the post when it was easier to score, missed an open goal from 6-yards and only a stellar block from part-time goalkeeper, full-time mariner Wayne Rogers, kept the score respectable before half-time.
Going forward, and to the surprise of absolutely no-one in either the replica shirt of AFC Didsbury (proudly sponsored by Fosters Fish and Chips*) or the stylish leisurewear range which can be purchased from the club shop**, Pete Kilgour attempted a left footed shot from range, which threatened the Halton goal. Very briefly. But I’m trying to keep this as positive as I can so bear with me. Barrels and scraping come to mind, I agree, but it did succeed in raising a smile or two. And it’s the tiny moments like that which matter.
Other than that small glimmer of hope, nothing seemed to fall for the team in grey as an attacking force but if I was forced to I could mention Jonny Mackie’s attempt to kick the ball as high as he could in the general direction of the goal, which under this post-modern criteria, seemed successful.
Unfortunately, at this point the game was curtailed for over an hour after a serious injury sustained to Jordan King from Halton Juniors. All at AFC Didsbury wish him a speedy recovery and hope he is back playing soon.
Before the ambulance could even leave the pitch the referee had restarted proceedings and Didsbury offered more in the attacking third, looking to play much shorter and keep possession. Half-time came and passed as Didsbury continued to press, in the hope of getting themselves back in the game. Pavol Vasko nearly converted a good move down the left, whilst Ross Menghini found a yard of space in the box but even they couldn’t quite make Didsbury dominance pay before further defensive lapses put the game beyond doubt.
First from a corner, Halton were able to bring the ball down within 2 yards of goal and fire comprehensively passed the hapless Rogers. They followed this soon after with a goal scored either by walking it through a static backline or from a rebound after a free kick 25 yards out which highlighted a static backline. At this point, whether this was the fourth or in fact the fifth goal conceded is meaningless. You will have literally moved further, and quicker, by reading this than the defence did in either episode.
The game started to meander from this point and many were surprised the ref didn’t blow for full time 20 minutes early, just because he could. Although given his contempt for all things middle-class why would he do that? He loved the sight of Didsbury losing as per. 20 minutes later and relief was granted by the Lee Mason lookalike (that’s as far as any resemblance goes) with the game eagerly poised at 6-1. Ross maintained his excellent start to the season with a header from close range after good work from Rick Peat on the right flank, defying his own resemblance to a certain German, world cup winning centre half. At the other end Halton rubbed further salt into the gaping wounds that were the back four by trying to outdo each other with their own miss of the season competition before even that got boring and some lad decided to smartly pick out the top bag for their sixth.
On any other occasion the day could be described as a success: it didn’t rain, I saw a couple of squirrels and Lewis Hamilton won the grand prix. But ultimately, like any song covered by James Leighton, Didsbury were slaughtered.
“Life's a piece of shit, when you look at it Life's a laugh and death's a joke, it's true You'll see it’s all a show, keep 'em laughing as you go Just remember that the last laugh is on you” (Monty Python, Life of Brian).
* if you wish to sponsor Didsbury’s premier Sunday League side and benefit from shameless plugs such as this, please contact Adam Musson (we have over 337 followers on twitter!)
AFC Didsbury: Rogers, Jaffray, Johnson, Battersby (C), Walker, Peat (Richardson) (New), Kilgour, Darlington, Vasko, García García, Menghini.
Goals: Menghini (3), Vasko Assists: García García, Vasko, Menghini, Richardson Man of the Match: Menghini
Didsbury Defiant Despite Defensive Wobbles
3 games, 3 wins. The fantastic start to the season for AFC Didsbury continued. The conditions were perfect for Sunday football; the morning dew shimmered in the sunlight and Gaz New was just finishing off his 12 pack of Cidre from Friday night’s team curry.
The game got off to a somewhat chaotic start with both teams failing to take control of the early possession. However, the deadlock was broken just before the ten minute mark when, out of nowhere, Albert’s tricky left winger was allowed to turn on the ball and run at the Didsbury defence. He managed to make some space for himself and got a shot away from outside the box, which squirmed under Wayne ‘yes mate’ Rogers’ outstretched arms.
The lead was to only last a short amount of time. After some intricate play in the centre of midfield the ball found its way to Jorge García García (‘Jorgey Boy’) who picked out Ross Menghini on the edge of the area and with his back to goal took a neat little touch with the outside of his right boot, which gave him the space to smash home with his left . Clinical. It was met with a rousing applause by the Didsbury faithful, bar Mr. Corbett!
With stand in manager Tom ‘Dalglish’ Whiteley dressed to the nines for his debut on the sideline, he began to wave his managerial hammer and sickle; pulling Rick Peat and Pete Kilgour off in the space of a few minutes for some words of wisdom. However, what happened in the next 15 minutes must have had Whiteley questioning the job he had agreed to take on. The defensive work was as messy as (by Tom’s account) Pavol Vasko’s toilet fiasco on Saturday morning. The home side scored two goals in quick succession, the third was a Ronaldinho cross-cum-shot which flew over Rogers’ flailing arms, no thanks down to the captain’s shout of encouragement “ahh he’s missed it” before the ball had reached the goal.
The home side began arguing amongst themselves, presumably about who had the most luscious beard. Their previously buoyant ship had begun to rock under the tension that was mounting. The two centre backs, Black Beard and Zat Knight, whose touch on the ball was almost as heavy as the somewhat rotund central midfielder, were starting to look vulnerable. Didsbury stepped it up a gear and with the new tactics employed by Daglish Jr, they were starting to have some joy on the flanks. Vasko, tinder’s most popular member, picked out Ross from the by-line who again managed to slot the ball passed Albert’s keeper. The equalising goal came shortly after with Rogers making amends for his previous flap by quickly gathering the ball from an Albert corner and hoofing it up field, where MOM Ross flicked the ball on skilfully (or luckily) to the on rushing Vasko, who complimented the assist with a neat finish.
Half time came about and words were exchanged about the shambolic Didsbury defending, but heads were held high after a fight back that equalled Istanbul and the growing discontent amongst the home team’s angry pirates. The away team knew they could not let this slip. The second half saw Didsbury return to the form which has seen them go unbeaten at the start of the season. They were on top for the majority of the second half and were still having joy out on the flanks, albeit helped by the fact that Peter Kay was playing at right back for Albert. The screw was beginning to turn and with Sam Richardson picking out the run of Ross with a perfectly weighted pass he was able to slot home and seal all three points for the travelling fans.
I just want to add a quick note to the end of this report. If any of the Albert lads are reading this, beards went out of fashion when Matty Harrison shaved his off #mattyfacts
AFC Didsbury: Rogers, Hadfield, McDonald (C), Jaffray, Lee (Johnson), Darlington, Vasko, Kilgour (Mackie), Walker (New), García García, Kennedy.
Goals: Vasko, Kennedy, Kilgour Assists: Kennedy, Lee, McDonald Man of the Match: McDonald
Dogged Didsbury Do The Business
AFC Didsbury continued their winning start to the season with a hard fought 3-2 victory over the newly promoted Albert 1874.
Manager Adam Musson had a busy summer in the transfer market and has added some real quality in all areas of the pitch. Musson started with 5 of his new summer signings and it seems that he could teach Brendan Rodgers a thing or two about integrating new players into the team.
Didsbury started the game brightly and striker Matt Kennedy was unlucky to have an early penalty claim waved away by a referee that appeared to have forgotten his whistle for large parts of the game.
Albert slowly began to find their footing in the game and created the first clear chance as their striker forced a good save from defender turned goalkeeper Wayne Rogers. Rogers has enjoyed a solid start to the season and any questions about whether he could translate his pre-season form into the big leagues have been met with a resounding ‘Yes mate’.
It was Didsbury who opened the scoring midway through the first half with a superb 25 yard strike from the ever impressive Pavol Vasko. The little Slovakian received a knock down from Matt Kennedy and with very little back lift was able to strike the ball on the half volley into the top corner. For those bemoaning the influx of overseas talent into the English game, here was the perfect response. They just don’t teach that on these shores.
Didsbury then began to go through the motions for the remainder of the first half. Never really being troubled at the back but also failing to offer much of a threat going forward. This lethargic approach was punished with an Albert equaliser on the stroke of half time when a quick counter attack ruthlessly exposed Musson’s new beloved 3-5-2 formation.
A rousing half time speech from the Didsbury manager seemed to wake Didsbury from their first half slumber as both sides began to up the tempo. Unfortunately, it was Albert who got their noses in front as keeper Wayne Rogers spilled a cross from the left flank which presented the Albert right winger with a simple finish from 2 yards. You’re still a legend, mate.
Undeterred by this setback, Didsbury began pressing for an equaliser and the home fans did not have to wait long. Left back Jaffray found himself in unfamiliar territory in the centre midfield area and when closed down by the portly Albert midfielder, calmly lifted the ball over his head with a Gascoigne inspired piece of trickery before finding Gaz Lee on the right wing. The dangerous Lee ran at his marker and was bundled over in the box; the referee had no choice but to point to the spot. Matt Kennedy coolly converted his spot kick to add to his growing reputation as the Matt Le Tissier of the MASFL.
Albert sensing that the game was getting away from them began to employ some classic Sunday League rough house tactics. Winger Pavol Vasko was on the receiving end of some heavy tackles and at one point was punched by the imposing centre half which the referee inexplicably missed - #whyalwaysPav
New midfield signing Dr Pete Kilgour then went close for Didbsury with a long range left footed strike, which whistled past the post following a surgeon run!
Albert almost had an equaliser when a last ditch tackle from terrier like new signing Liam Hadfield was required to prevent a certain goal. The desperate away supporters claimed a penalty but this would have been ruff on Didsbury.
With less than 10 minutes of the game remaining, Man of the Match, Colin McDonald delivered a dangerous set piece from his own half which seemed to deceive the onrushing Albert goalkeeper and fell into the path of Kilgour to finish with scalpel like precision.
Albert’s chances of getting something out of the game were effectively ended when their striker was sent off for directing expletives at the referee who clearly had no intention of accepting the invite to see him next Tuesday.
The final whistle came as a relief as the tiring home side were grateful to take all 3 points in an evenly matched contest.
AFC Didsbury: Rogers, Jaffray (Hadfield), Battersby (C), McDonald, Lee (Bermingham), Kilgour (Walker), García García, Vasko (Wallace), Menghini, Corbett (Kennedy).
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.
Goals: Wallace, Corcoran, Johnson, Creasey Assists: Lee, Walker, Wallace Man of the Match: Creasey
One Sided affair by the Moss based Champions
The final day of the season arrived with the MASFL Championship already having been secured by a rampant Moss Side. AFC Didsbury were in a buoyant mood prior to kick off despite narrowly missing out on silverware less than a week ago as this game would see the team say an emotional farewell to one of its most influential servants since formation in 2010.
Neil Creasey having made almost 100 appearances and scoring more than 40 goals in his 4 year spell was clearly fired up for leaving a lasting impression on the South Manchester village. His name will now be added to the hall of fame along with the likes of legends past Oliver Quaye, Alistair Rushton, Andrew Basley, David Hargreaves and Duane Augustine.
The game started with Moss Side dominating possession, controlling the game and showing all the hall marks of a team that has only suffered one league defeat in the last 10 years. The breakthrough eventually came via a scrappy goal from a corner where a Moss Side player was found unmarked in the box to head home a simple finish. Didsbury showed good resilience with some solid defending and crunching tackles, however, still came off 3-0 down at half time. The highlight of the half for AFC came when Gaz Lee outwitted the Moss Side full back before playing in Jack Wallace who rifled a shot from 25 yards only to see the Moss Side keeper superbly palm the ball over the bar.
The second half saw Didsbury come out fired up with a nothing to lose attitude and soon penetrated the Moss Side defence. Gaz Lee once again skilfully bypassed the cumbersome Moss Side full back before picking out Jack Wallace who bravely beat the onrushing keeper to find the bottom corner. The game was beginning to open up and Didsbury pressed forward looking to get back into the tie before an unfortunate own goal from a worked-up John Battersby put Moss Side back in control at 4-1. This lead to a heated exchange with the Moss Side number 10 who seemed slightly envious of the Didsbury Captains size 14 feet and harshly priced his larger than life boots at a modest £3 in an attempted belittlement, if ever a reminder was needed that this was a Sunday League match this was it.
John Corcoran who has earned a reputation for being able to spring even the most advanced of offside traps was found with a through ball from Guy Walker, Corcoran showing brilliant composure rounded the keeper and slotted home his 8th goal of the season to make it 4-2. Following this goal the ever vocal gaffer Adam Musson made short work of the Moss Side striker in a verbal exchange, his superior education reigned supreme in the battle of wits, leaving the tricky number 9 with no response for seemingly the first time in his entire life. He instead opted to let his feet do the talking and before any thoughts of a comeback came to fruition Moss Side quickly increased their lead by a further two goals.
With the game as good as over and only 20 minutes remaining Fletcher Moss saw the introduction of Didsbury Twitter Troll Jonathan Owen. His debut season unfortunately finished without breaking his goalscoring duck or providing a single assist; however, unlike Carlos Tevez and Ashley Cole he will be descending on Brazil for the World Cup this summer. While his player stats won’t be topping any fantasy football tables his Southern English charm and boyish good looks should see him score highly with the Latin American women.
There were moments of consolation for Didsbury before the final whistle. Team veteran and proud father of two Paul Johnson who has erased the words ‘lost’ and ‘cause’ from his vocabulary smashed home a breath taking half volley, with credit going to John Corcoran and Jack Wallace in the build-up. Moss Side then restored their 4 goal lead with a dubious penalty before Neil Creasey was fouled 35 yards from goal. There could only be one outcome from the resulting free kick and it was fitting that the departing man’s final act in a Didsbury jersey would be a screaming strike that left the keeper no chance. It may be worth noting for any stat junkies out there that the 35 yards of this free kick is actually further than the cumulative distance of all 8 John Corcoran goals for Didsbury this season.
With 2 minutes remaining this would normally signal the introduction of ‘Team Jock ’Michael Hay, however, he was unavailable for selection due to his pursuit of Scottish Independence and his seemingly relentless quest to try and outdo Gareth New in every aspect of life. No cameo from the fiery Scott enabled Moss Side to score a late goal capping off an action packed game between the two heavyweights of the Manchester Amateur Sunday Football League.