Gold Cup 1 - 1 AFC Didsbury
AFC Didsbury: Hargreaves, Musson (C) (Bermingham), Rogers, Johnson (Mackie), Jaffray, Robins, Creasey, Stiff, McDonald, Harrison, MacHugh.
Man of the Match: Rogers
Honours even as Didsbury draw for the first time this season in top of the table clash.
Blustery conditions greeted AFC Didsbury away at Hough End for their first game in over a month due to poor weather over the winter period. With both teams evenly matched in the opening exchanges there were little chances of note with rangy strikes from Mike Stiff and Wayne Rogers all Didsbury could muster in a first half dominated by the two midfields.
Gold Cup FC grew into the half as it progressed and two long cross-field balls provided chances but Hargreaves was rarely tested and the scores remained locked at 0-0.
The game opened up in the second half with both teams eyeing the win and an extended period of pressure early on from Didsbury was forcing Gold Cup back into their half. A series of corners whipped in by Kieran MacHugh causing trouble for the Gold Cup goalkeeper who was keeping his team in the game.
The breakthrough was coming and it came from an unlikely source when Didsbury left-back Ben Jaffray broke free down the left wing, played in by Colin McDonald and placed a curling low right-footed shot for his first goal for Didsbury and a vital lead.
Didsbury were left with twenty minutes to hang on and expectedly Gold Cup threw everything at them to try and claim the equaliser. A scramble in the box from a long throw-in resulted in Hargreaves saving low with his feet and smothering the follow-up. However Didsbury were to be denied the win when with five minutes remaining a throw-in was flicked on and converted at the back post to level.
Kieran MacHugh nearly snatched a late winner but was denied by a fine save and a draw was a fair reflection on the fine efforts from both teams.
Words by David Hargreaves