GOALS: Smith ASSISTS: Menghini MAN OF THE MATCH: Birtwistle
BARE BONES DIDSBURY LEFT DIZZY IN DISLEY
This game couldn’t have been more Sunday league…….on a Tuesday evening.
With their ground being situated on the edge of the Peak District, players were arriving in dribs and drabs after work and quite quickly, it was apparent that we probably wouldn’t have 11 players for kick off. Manager, Adam Musson, took on many different roles – picking up straggling players from the local train station, corralling the squad for what would be a tough match and fashioning a pair of shorts out of some old tracksuit bottoms with some scissors for Stu who had forgotten to pack his own.
From afar, it seemed as though the pitch would be a decent playing surface for us to be able to knock the ball around and enjoy the contest – this was not to be. The previously cut up pitch had now dried out in the recent sunshine which made any sexy football impossible – it would be a long ball kind of game.
High Lane FC looked well organised – all of them were there early enough to make us wonder whether they had actually taken the whole day off for this fixture?! In stark contrast, John Battersby (injured) & Musson (now thinking about a career in fashion design) were forced to start as there were only 10 members of AFC Didsbury present for kick off – some casual flirting with the referee bought us a few more minutes but it couldn’t delay the whistle any longer.
Thankfully, the latecomers arrived after 10 minutes, restoring the game to 11 v 11 but by that time, High Lane had their tails up (oy oy) and they were looking to capitalise on the pressure that had been building. Didsbury however remained resolute at the back despite a couple of close encounters and kept High Lane’s shooting to long range shots which left Nate Dogg (Nathan Carr) slightly concerned that one of these efforts would hit a huge divot on the way through and end up in a random corner of the goal.
It was Didsbury who broke the deadlock first though – with a passage of play which originated with Adam Ferguson down the right hand side, Ross Menghini stayed strong inside their box and with some fancy feet, he drew the foul resulting in a penalty. Kieran Smith convincingly dispatched. 0-1. The half time whistle followed shortly after.
Didsbury played some better football in the second half – Ferguson & Rick Peat were having some more joy on the wings, Conor Quinn & Stu Williams were marshalling the middle, Chris Bishop organising the back line. The referee however spoiled this with a dubious penalty against Bishop, which I’m certain was outside the box. In any case, their midfielder stepped up and put it away. 1-1.
With many of their team being quite a bit taller, they were odds on to win the first ball in the air but we were challenging hard for the second. With them spending a lot of time in our half though, it wasn’t too much longer before there was a goal line scramble (which seemed to go on for an eternity), which eventually found its way into the bottom corner – a scrappy goal which epitomised the game really. 2-1.
It was the final 10 minutes which I thought was our best spell – playing out from the back, committing men forward, threatening balls in behind for Menghini & Smith. It had all the hallmarks of an equaliser until they broke with a decent through ball and their striker tucked the ball away. 3-1.
We always knew this would be a challenging game with them being unbeaten this season but it was a closer game than perhaps the scoreline suggests.
Words by Guy Walker
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