Sierra Stars 3 - 5 AFC Didsbury
AFC Didsbury - Hargreaves, Mackie, Rogers, Battersby (C), Jaffray, Robins, Harrison, Stiff, MacHugh, Corbett, Trecarichi (New).
Goals: Robins, Trecarichi, Stiff, Corbett, New
Assists: Harrison, Battersby, MacHugh, Corbett
Man of the Match: Rogers
AFC Didsbury battle the elements and see off Sierra Stars
A penalty awarded midway through the second half converted by Mike Stiff proved crucial in the context of the match and sent Didsbury on their way to victory.
Blustery conditions greeted both teams playing at Hough End and keeping the ball on the deck to avoid the strong winds was essential. Didsbury were given a wake-up call when Hargreaves was forced into an early save one on one early on. However, after 15 minutes Didsbury opened the scoring, as Leigh Robins was first to react to the rebound, after Matt Harrison’s low drive was palmed out by the Stars’ keeper. Didsbury doubled their advantage after a free-kick was flighted upfield it was flicked on by stand in Captain John Battersby and Paul Trecarichi applied a glancing header into the far corner.
Sierra Stars pulled a goal back after a corner was only half-cleared and a flighted ball from a tight angle found the far corner. Didsbury were reeling after dominating possession but held out to half-time with a slender advantage.
Sierra Stars started the second half stronger and following a scramble in the penalty area they were level with a neat finish into the bottom right leaving Hargreaves no chance. Didsbury responded and after Kieran MacHugh picked the ball up on the left wing he cut inside and was adjudged to have been tripped in the area. After an agonising wait of more than five minutes while tempers flared from Sierra Stars eventually Mike Stiff held his composure and coolly slotted the penalty to give Didsbury the lead once again.
Mike Corbett capitalised on a short backpass to the Sierra Stars goalkeeper and charged down his clearance and held his nerve to restore the two goal advantage. With 15 minutes to go Sierra Stars threw everything at the Didsbury back four and were rewarded when a dinked ball over the defence wasn’t dealt with and the forward stepped in to round Hargreaves and give Sierra Stars a lifeline. It wasn’t to be however as Didsbury broke forward and Mike Corbett held his nerve to round the goalkeeper and hold the ball up for Gareth New to smash home the goal that clinched the game at the death.
Words by David Hargreaves