30th January 2018 - Congleton Town 1 v 2 City of Liverpool - A Tuesday night, a meeting between two well supported clubs, a chance to see a fascinating match and of course partake of the finest chips in the North West Counties League. We set off early, to beat the traffic and most of the purple army - you gotta watch them chip munching bastards, lovely folk but appetites like shithawks on pot - quite indecent don't ya know. On the way down we listened to the fourth installment of 'The Day of the Triffids', a fantastic tale of murdering plants, a murder that is committed with a poisonous sting - crikey. Mind you, there are worse way to go - I remember old Fruity Fred and that cactus his family claimed accidentally slipped up his arse when he tripped over the latest copy of 'Humping Hunks' - a tragedy that still puts goosebumps on me rectum - brrr! Talking of goosebumps, me and the good lady were wrapped up warm tonight and with the aforementioned chips in the belly we hoped that this would be enough to stave of a waft of Jack Frost's icicle - a cup of tea was also used and a cork up the rear end - you just never know. We sat, shivered, watched the Bears and The Purps appear, they part took in a contest that ran as thus:-
A zipping start was had, both teams bang at it. No 10 (Karl Noon) of the yellow clad Purps provided the first crack at goal after his colleague No 7 (Jack Hazelhurst) wove his way through a still sleepy eyed defence. The end result though was too tame to trouble the man between the sticks. Soon after the same bod found the net after a quite polished move. It was a shame the linesman deemed matters offside - there is always one isn't there? A COL corner came next, after much pestering work. The ball went in and was headed out whereupon No 8 (Joseph Camozzi) fancied his chances and tried to place his shot which went just over the horizontal. Within seconds the lemonised lads came again. A razor sharp ball through was cut back at an angle and after a miskick No 4 (Kevin McEllin) drilled forth a low, fizzing shot. Pick that out sayeth the marksman who duly celebrated a fairly decent strike. It was a well deserved goal for a team making all the running and ruling the roost. The Congo, scampering like mint humbugs laden with whizz, had their backs against the wall and a long range effort by the visiting Noon soon after could have been salt in the freshly inflicted wound. Luckily for the hosts it fell just wide of the mark. A scarce sortie forth came the way of the Congleton crew, a cross came and when No 10 (Declan Fletcher) robbed the keeper it was disappointing to see the ball trickle behind and a foul given. The hosts came again, a great cross ball from Fletcher found No 7 (Oliver Ford) who played a good pass to No 11 (Emini Adegbenro) . A shot came but was met by firm hands has the keeper blocked and saw danger pass. This was a good response from the Bears and with just a bit more width they could find themselves back in this one.
A Congleton free-kick offered up the next morsel of intrigue, No 8 (Luke Edwards) pumped it in, Fletcher nutted goalward, Adegbenro pounced like a panther with a hard-on. The keeper had the mental bromide to quell any erections of excitement and saved well, phew - I was getting carried away there. COL responded but No 9 (Thomas Peterson) ended a decent move with one of the weakest shots imaginable - surely Bonnie Langford on a hunger strike could have put more muscle behind the ball! The Congo reacted, a quite majestic pass by Edwards to Adegbenro who rode a couple of tackles and swung the peg. Over, but the distant light of promise was getting nearer by the kick! The City of Liverpool stemmed the turning tide with a brace of corners, one of which nearly went straight in and needed tipping over the bar by a fully stretched keeper. At the other end a blazing move tore The Purps a new arse but the final penetration was woeful as a shot from mere feet out was blasted high into the now leaking sky. A massive miss, one of those turning points methinks. Luckily the culprit got away unnamed - I think it only decent. Next up and Camozzi for the COL's tried another placed shot but once more found only miserable air and then his team came forth again with No 3 (Francis Foy) working hard, passing to the industrious Peterson who put the ball on a plate for No 11 (Dean Shacklock) to slap home. A very impressive goal and executed with such clinical efficiency, 2 - 0 and the Bears now needed to dig in their claws for a real uphill climb. Towards the arse end of the first 45 it was the travelling Peterson who was keen to pick up scraps and work his buttocks into a frenzied state. He gained a lost ball and duly crossed but it was a little too deep for his colleague. It did show however that Congleton Town were on the ropes here and needed to bob and weave as best as they could to avoid that finishing uppercut. The half-time whistle came soon after.
The break was taken having a chat on the phone to our dancing daughter at University. She had had a hard day on the jigging floor and putting the work in - good on her and with recent grades glowing we were quite proud parents. She is a darn decent girl too who, as per, gave a prediction of 2 - 1 for this game - mmm - we shall see.
The teams came back out still sporting their sweetshop colours. I pondered writing the second half with a Willy Wonka theme but knowing the humour of the Purple Helmets I thought it best to avoid any twisting of words and going down the Willy Wanka route instead! Both units cracked on, defied the mizzle and worked hard to ignite that second half flame. Good perseverance from Fletcher won a home corner. The ball was dumped into the box and a free header for No 5 (Thomas Morris) was firm but straight into the meat of the mitters carcass. The COL collective now began to retain possession with the closest to any breakthrough coming from a cross via the feet of Hazelhurst who saw the globe glance along the crossbar and miss all the awaiting strike-men. His cohort in Congleton corruption, the hopeful Noon, was next to drill one but it was off target and didn't raise any further perspiration from the home rear pack.
A quiet patch came, both squads steaming with effort but nullifying each others chances. Congo's Edwards rattled one out of the melee but it was closer to Timbuktoo than the back of the mesh. We fell into the back stretch of the game with intrigue still perky, a Congleton break saw Fletcher at the helm laying off a reverse pass to Adegbenro. The latter player cut in and thwacked, it was another wild and uncontrolled effort. City of Liverpool now found a second breath of life, a free kick was won on the edge of their opponents box and oozed potential danger. No 2 (Luke Denson) stepped up, eyed his chances and duly thumped over - poor indeed. The home heads strove on, a couple of hopeful balls were thrown into the box, a chance punt was struck at goal and somehow we had a strike back out of the blue and Adegbenro had given his team something to fight for. A touchpaper was lit, the licking flames of tension toyed with everyone's nerves, would there be one last twist in this fascinating contest? Shots came at both ends, a certain frantic mania ensued but City of Liverpool are a well-drilled unit and absorbed the pressure whilst Congleton just lacked that killer desire. A few half chances were had to get the match all square but time was the enemy and before we knew it we were done and watching the Purple Army celebrate another sturdy win. The Man of the Match tonight goes to an understated player who was a string-pulling part of the City of Liverpool team and went about his business quietly, with focus and with great success. No 4 (Kevin McEllin) take a bow and your commitment, fine engine and subtle effectiveness did not go unnoticed.
FINAL THOUGHT - What fine trip out to one of my favourite grounds. £6 in, the best chips in the league, a great view point, my wife picked up 10 books off the book stall and we witnessed a match to warm the cockles of the chuff - unless of course your cockles fell off long ago and you have a aging barnacle encrustation to contend with. The 2 teams on show tonight put on a great match but City of Liverpool are a ruddy good team with a quite beleaguering approach that keeps all opponents flustered, under siege and beset by a constant pressure. They are destined to go on to bigger things and let us be honest - who can begrudge em'. Congleton Town are another decent side but who just seem to lack that slight killer edge to push em' on to a series of worthy wins and give them a justifiable place in the league standings. They are better than they think and for me, on tonight's evidence at least, lacked a bit of width, gave up on to many loose balls and let their intensity slip at certain times that duly cost them dear. The team will do fine though but their next 2 fixtures are real testers and it will be interesting to see how they cope. I have a return visit pencilled in for next week, get the chip pan on please and keep our seats warm. PS - a massive thank you to the club for their efforts tonight especially the groundsman who made this game playable - a marvellous effort.