GOALS: Adcock ASSISTS: - MAN OF THE MATCH: Birtwistle
NOT THE KNOCKOUT BLOW DIDSBURY WERE HOPING FOR
A fresh Sunday morning saw AFCD return to a familiar hunting ground of recent weeks. Torkington Park almost felt like a home from home, with AFC Didsbury teams picking up two wins on this ground already, in the previous three weeks. Conditions were certainly familiar, with the same quagmire in the far corner of the pitch, the same conversation with the referee about being sensible in this area of the field and the designated excrement officer again being required to deploy his shovel.
The pre-match talk of the changing room centred around the previous night’s PPV event, “Toe-to-Toe in Trafford”. Tales of heroic victories from the double fighting pride of Didsbury provided all of the inspiration required to fire up the troops. That and as Jack bluntly pointed out, “beat these and we leapfrog them into third place lads, simple as that”.
With that, the greens took to the park, ready to rumble. The start was bright, with some really good pressing, forcing plenty of errors from the opposition, leading to possession in dangerous areas of the Great Moor United half.
It was that pressing that quickly saw Dan Connolly bearing down on goal and in a footrace with the on-rushing ‘keeper. With said ‘keeper carrying the combined weight of both fighters from the Jimmy ‘Lights Out’ Leighton bout, yet only slightly more height than Adam Musson, Connolly was able to nip in just before him, simultaneously stabbing the ball towards goal, whilst being sent careering through the air. As the ball clipped the post and trickled wide, Didsbury claimed for the penalty, nothing doing. The first in a string of bizarre refereeing decisions, leaving skipper for the day, Mark ‘The Body’ Hield to politely ask the ref to “talk me through that one please?”
Shortly after, more good play found Jack Adcock one on one. He too struggling with the task of finding a way around the considerable obstacle between him and the Great Moor United goal.
Finally a break in the relentless Didsbury pressure and Great Moor worked their first attack of the game - Getting in down the left, a drilled cross-shot deflected around the six yard box, before finding its way into the Didsbury goal via a Great Moor United knee. A sucker punch.
Didsbury were still trying to regroup and get back on the front foot, when a James Plowright miskick saw Great Moor United bearing down on goal again, their attacker squeezing the ball in at the near post.
On the ropes, Didsbury continued to try and find a way back into the game. Sham Rohman and Rob Higginson both getting into dangerous positions, but Didsbury were unable to capitalise. Then came the biggest mismatch seen since, well, since Jimmy Leighton’s fight about 14 hours earlier. A Rohman ball into the box saw Connolly battling with the centre half to get to the ball, a nudge in the back was followed by an absolute car crash of a collision with the sizeable ‘keeper. Grateful to have escaped with his life, Connolly turned to find the ‘keeper prostrate and bloodied in the six yard box.
The half ended with Great Moor’s only other attack of the half bringing a smart save from Nathan Carr, who pushed it wide, goal kick…
It was decided that a change of shape was required to capitalise on our good play and despite best efforts to deploy a 3-6-2 formation, Jonny Owen unfortunately found time to take a break from playing in the stream to veto this, forcing a more orthodox 3-5-2, with Kelly replacing Higginson. AFCD came flying out of the traps. Some good flowing football led to Mackie threading a ball through in search of Adcock. There was just too much weight on the pass and it made its way through to the keeper who, clearly still seeing double, spilled it inexplicably at the feet of Adcock, who almost apologetically slotted it into the unguarded goal. It was to be the ‘keepers last action, subbed and sent to Stepping Hill.
Owen rang further changes, with Rabbi Rouf on for Connolly and the return of Higginson for Plowright, as Didsbury went all out in search of an equaliser. It wasn’t to be and a ball over the top saw Great Moor suspiciously break the offside trap firing into the bottom corner. Cue ‘The Body’ and another polite conversation with the ref...
The remainder of the half saw Didsbury complete some impressive individual feats. Jake Coleman, pending an imminent loan move to Australian football, was looking to sign off on a high. In his wildest dreams, he wouldn’t have been expecting a hat trick. Unfortunately this hat trick was the stuff of nightmares, as he was megged for the third (3rd) time in the match! It was just left to Claude Birtwistle to wrap up proceedings, with an acrobatic clearance, straight into his own face. A painful blotch on an otherwise commanding display from Didsbury’s very own Michael Keane, with a string of superb blocks and last ditch tackles - a deserved man of the match.
We head into the Christmas break with plenty of positives. 3 wins in the last 4 league games, improving and building our understanding of each other with every game. Let’s come back even stronger for the second half of the season. COYBIG!
Words by Dan Connolly
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