Thursday, 19 May 2022

END OF SEASON ROUND UP

 2021/2022 SEASON ROUND UP

Matches attended

89

Goals witnessed

373

Average goals per game

4.19

Highest scoring game

Denton Town Res 5 v 5 Middlewich Town Res

Ten most seen teams

Cheadle Heath Nomads 19

Denton Town 13

Cheadle Town 8

AFC Liverpool 6

Maine Road FC 6

Wythenshawe Amateurs 6

Maine Road Res 5

New Mills 4

Avro FC 4

Cheadle Heath Nomads Res 4

Raffles won

Fuck all (again).

Match Reports Done - 26

End of season round-up

At the end of another solid season time to reflect is upon us and I must say, it has been another pleasure.  The new approach of doing fewer reports has allowed me to pick and choose my scribbling moments and switch off and enjoy when the mood takes me - this has been a good move.  Over the campaign I have tried to spread my support and will hopefully do so to a greater extent next season although one or two local clubs will get more than their fair share of my time. In the midst of matters work has continued on the Nature Projects at Cheadle Heath Nomads and Denton Town with slow headway made - in a world on the cusp, every little helps.

Highlights of the year are too numerous to mention but Denton Town have provided many moments of capricious unpredictability and footballing excitement to keep my nerves well and truly jangled and their welcoming and friendly group of folk running the club (well attempting to anyway) have been exemplary.  Of course Cheadle Heath Nomads have been a club that have been also acceptant of this Fungal git and his humble support and nature loving ways - it is sincerely appreciated.

The folk I meet on my roamings are valued, be they players, staff or punters - it all adds to the rich tapestry of this Non-league world and gives it tangible, vibrant colour and a true feeling of being as one. Here's to many more wags of the jaw and good friends made.

I have visited some fine grounds, with trips to Gorleston FC, Cockermouth FC, Stafford Town, Hindsford AFC, Blacon Youth a few of the new ones and Maine Road, Wythenshawe Amateurs and AFC Liverpool a few of the long standing favourites.  Congleton FC still serve the best chips in the NWCL although the crinkled gems served up at Burscough are a close second.  Parklands FC are winners of the chip award in the Cheshire League, although Denton's Minced Beef and Onion Pies are ruddy superb.

I have witnessed 5 penalty shoot-outs during the season, many last minute winners, some teams fly high and some having a rough old time of it but sticking to their guns.  St Martins are a pure example of 'never say die' spirit and for me, sum up many great aspects of this hoofing world.  Turning out, getting whipped, dusting down and doing the same again has some charm and I hope, for their dedication and commitment, they get due reward in the near future.

I sign off here thanking all for sharing time, having a natter and providing good company.  STP Stu is my fine mate and always solid company on the touchline and no doubt he is looking forward to more brews, choccy bars and more banter next season - bring it on.  Finally my good lady must always gets extra hugs and kisses for her support, driving me here and there and being a good mate who joins me at the odd match - I am sure she is considering getting a Denton Town tattoo - ooh heck.

Anyway big thanks to all who have provided a much needed distraction from the idiocy of the world in general, those who have played things fair and enjoyed being involved - keep it going you buggers and remember - fuck the cash cows, fuck the corporate business bollocks and fuck those neglectful of something rather special - Up the Non-League Doofers forever.

Friday, 6 May 2022

FREE RANGE FOOTY

3rd May 2022 - Whalley Range 4 v 0 Wythenshawe Amateur Reserves - The final throes of the latest campaign are upon us with only a couple of viewing chances left before a full on immersion is taken into noise and nature. It has been an entertaining season and the two teams on show tonight had been viewed a couple of times each during the lengthy campaign.  Upon arrival I had a good chat with a few faces, acquired a brew and then found a quiet spot at the opposite side of the ground with STP Stu.  Good jaw wagging, decent weather and a great way to spend a midweek evening. It looked as though Whalley Range would romp away with this one, come the end of matters it seemed this was just the case. 

A settled start was soon upset with a marauding run forth by the home team's No 8 (Cedric Obama) who was unceremoniously tumbled for his troubles.  The free-kick was like a fruit-machine in Niggardly Norman's Golden Mile Arcade and produced sour bugger all - ooh me cherries.  A new surge soon followed, No 11 (Emmanuel Amole) hugged the wing, put in a low cross that brought about a neat dummy and a shot by No 10 (Tim Kinsella) that was all too tame.  Within seconds Obama was arse over tit once more and a free-kick was awarded.  No 4 (Jack Timmons) chose to have a pop with the bonus ball, but the shot was wide of the mark. This was looking like a long night ahead for the young Wythy lads.

The Whalley waves kept on crashing on the shores of a windswept Wythy Bank with the next dash and splash coming via a corner that was nutted back allowing No 6 (Jacob Wood) to head on target close in.  Like a rubber man on a jumping bean diet the keeper leapt, made a choice tip over and kept the onion bag from further molestation.  The corner that followed was... ahem... crap.

The pressure rose on the Wythy goal, No 9 (Daniel Heffernan) had a shot well saved and Wood put another header over the bar.  The one way traffic was temporarily halted by a rare advance for the guests with No 2 (Stelio Da Skida) battling like a bulldog with an annoying nob wasp niggling the old oriental eye.  Alas the bonus boot was hit straight at the keeper which led to a breakaway for the hosts.  The move was swift and cutting, Obama was the final component but after a comfortable chest down could only recklessly twat the ball and fracture the murky Heavens.

More shots came the same way with no success until another rapier move saw the ball go out wide and get instantly delivered with pace and accuracy.  Obama was in the right place at the right time and scored with what looked like his knee. A punt with the patella, the goal had been coming.

The unstoppable Rangers came forth over and over again, the nearest they came to doubling their lead was when Kinsella darted, fed Heffernan who shot on goal close in but was denied success by a top class save. Kinsella had his own pop on target next but the keeper was in the way once more.  Wythenshawe had their own attempt on goal that was closer to the local mosque rather than the onion bag and then Kinsella and Amole linked up at the other end with the latter only denied by a very alert stickman.

Another goal for the hosts looked very much on the cards and when No 7 (Walter Chiororo) let fly many onlookers thought the lead had been doubled only to see the ball hit the underside of the bar.  The ball was gathered outside the box by a determined No 5 (Dylan Smith) who stampeded through a mush of bodies and was unlucky to just run out of space.  

Wythenshawe looked destined to go into the interval only 1 goal to the bad but the Range's Amole had other ideas and pilfered the ball in midfield, played a gorgeous pass over the top that Kinsella pounced on and duly sent into the meshing.  It was a body blow for the mauled and mangled guests but they managed to keep the scoreline as it was (due to a few more saves and some poor finishing) and went into the interval with their manager still showering his squad with admirable positivity.

We had a brew at the break and I partook of some chips.  The serving hatch was billowing mists like an overcrowded opium den and when I looked inside I expected to see a couple of prostrate Chinese blokes away with the mystical fairies - by heck what an environment. Despite the cooking situation the chips and tea went down like ambrosia and nectar - the food of the Gods.

Back in position for period two and the Whalley Range machine rolled on.  Chiororo came close with a run and rattle but only the inside of the post was left trembling instead of the keeper's nervous system.  Wythenshawe continued to work away and to give credit where credit is due, I must say they did well to snaffle a short period of possession.  The ownership of the ball was all to no avail though as Chiororo came on again, had one look and fired home to bring the shutters down on the final result.  A chance to add a fourth came seconds later but the mittman, yet again, did the business on a night when he deserved much better than a 3 goal deficit.

Obama and Amole coupled up next (sexy buggers) with the latter player shooting (cripes) and the gloved one keeping his own area unpenetrated (ooh the promiscuity of some of these players).  The Range looked to add further offspring to their family of goals with Chiororo and Kinsella pairing up and being denied the birth of another net-bulging babby by the stubbornly reliable human contraceptive.  

Another block by the travelling No 1 (Sam Goodwin), a penalty shout at the other end (that looked a good call) and No 6 (Daniel Ahens) for The Ammies with an effort that was close enough to tingle the todger of hope made sure this game was non-stop action down to the wire. A few offside decisions scuppered any further invasions of the netting until a Whalley Range dash was halted by a crude tackle in the box and a penalty was given that was firmly fired home by Heffernan.  4 - 0 and after a few more attempts at goal, the referee saved the pummelled opposition from a further mauling on the ropes and called time on a good night's work for the home squad.  Despite a good team performance for Whalley Range the Man of the Match choice goes to Wythenshawe Amateurs' No 1 (Sam Goodwin) who really caught the eye with a string of magical saves, a good awareness under pressure and an obvious talent to take things to the next level - here's hoping and good on ya fella.

I was home for 9pm after the game, tucked up for 9.15pm with my good lady and reading a couple of footy magazines I picked up called 'Where's The Bar' - all good stuff.

FINAL THOUGHT - This was the 87th game of the season that I had viewed tonight and I am looking forward to a break. The match was thoroughly enjoyed though and after a few weeks away from the touchline I am sure I will be foaming to get back in the mix.  Wythenshawe Amateurs Reserves are laden with good prospects and have a solid foundation from which the first team can prosper.  Tonight they showed discipline and a sound temperament whilst coming up against many more experienced players and a team well drilled and looking to move on. Whalley Range will be moving up a level next season and a new challenge awaits.  On recent evidence they look set to make a few waves and really put in a good fight although they need to be more clinical in front of goal and not waste as many chances.  I hope to be back here on several occasions and may scribble another report - one has gotta keep doofing.

Wednesday, 4 May 2022

THE MIGHTY ATOMS

2nd May 2022 - Daten FC 2 v 1 Whaley Bridge - Yesterday me and the missus went to Stafford to look for mosses and micro-fungi, it was a good do but my feet ended up sodden.  Today we had a walk at Westy Park and part of Woolston Eyes - many birds and blooms were seen along with a few bugs, once more my feet were soaked.  Squelching along and after a short drive we ended up at Daten FC's home ground and indulged in a fine cuppa and some lovely chips in the local bar.  My toes were wrinkling as I chomped and come the end of the day they looked like a row of dead man's dicks after getting up to no good at the local homosexual swimming arena.  Despite this scenario the visit to one of our favoured grounds was worth it and whilst stood on my reeking tootsies I defied the threat of Trench Foot and cobbled together a report.  As matters transpired, like the original Mighty Atom (Joseph Greenstein) the home team showed good strength to duly break the will of their opponents (well it beats bending steel bars over your nob).

The opening burst came immediately with Whaley's No 8 (Liam Sircar) in meagre space with a chance to shoot.  The player crossed instead and the chance disappeared into the murky ether.  The guests pressed on, a corner was similar to a drugged up Ronnie Corbett (short and wasted) and a positive surge by No 19 (Jake Miller) dissected the pack with the end shot flying over.  Daten had the next attack with No 3 (Brad Stokes) exposing neat feet, No 7 (Cameron Jupp) putting in a choice pass but the ball only going behind for a corner.  The angled kick came, numerous shots ensued and were blocked with a final nut on from No 14 (Joe Barker) going over the crossbar.

From some well balanced play a cross from Daten forced the keeper to palm away and then the Bridge charged down the other end with a shot from No 6 (James Gemmel) just whistling past the wrong side of the vertical.  Daten were unflustered and when in possession were continuing to pass well and maintain a certain threat.  The closest we came to a goal though was when the Bridge's No 11 (Ben Bagshaw) looked to be in but was denied on the line.  The follow-up from Miller was wild and nearly killed a poor old lady who was walking her three legged Jack Russell three streets away.  

This was still an intriguing encounter, a very difficult game to call despite the difference in league positions.  The Bridgers had a free-kick next, No 10 (Daniel Gilbride) posted a beauty with a bunch of heads rising and a modicum of paint being removed from the far upright.  Chances followed at both ends, the defences stood firm and all potential gaps and weak spots were plugged (a shame Liberace didn't do the same).

From here The Atoms put in a good period of pressure with some swift play, several attempts on goal and a good lather had.  Sadly, as the half wound down, no breakthrough could be had with Whaley Bridge still liable to pinch a strike.  In fact, soon after, Miller for the visitors sent forth a rasper that the home No 1 (Josh McMutrie) did well to parry behind.  A corner followed, the ball went long, No 7 (Bill Sutton) looked to collect with his back to goal and was crudely pushed and grounded, the penalty awarded though did look a bit harsh.  Sutton dusted himself down, placed the ball on the spot and when the whistle blew duly stroked home with brow cool ease, 0 - 1 - the emphasis was now on Daten to get back in this.

Before the break a Whaley Bridge move was fast and direct with Bagshaw the apical component but only blasting over and taking his side into the interval only one goal to the good, that miss could be costly.

A break, a queue for a cuppa, by heck the young lasses were earning their dosh behind the bar.  We acquired our hot drinks and scarpered which was just as well as we just made it back on the touchline for half two.

The second period began, Daten kicked off and flew forth with untamed desire.  No 2 (Jason Sherwin) burst a bollock and released a cross that a defending shank could only nudge on into the path of Barker who stroked home with praiseworthy control - now then, game on once more. The hosts now worked with industry and maintained a stranglehold whilst the guests coughed and spluttered.  Sherwin dashed once more, a shot came, the top of the net was found, another attack soon followed, from back to front the ball flew, it was with great disappointment the end result wasn't a crack on goal.

Barker was released next, the guest keeper earned his daily crust but the ball squirmed loose like a testicle from a  pair of untrustworthy undercrackers, No 11 (Sam Oyini) was in the right place at the right time, 2 - 1 - turn around complete.  Soon after No 15 (Richard Hansley) who had just entered the fray had a surge and shot - the keeper was on it like a pawnbroker on a gold nipple ring.

25 minutes left, The Whaley brigade were hanging in and started to call upon a new lease of life.  No 5 (Josh Bailey) was neatly released, No 18 (Ed Diamond) received and crossed with pace, the mittman however read the situation and grabbed the ball from the air with seemingly velcro covered hands.  At the other end Oyini was out of the traps and had a dig that shaved the post - this was a very decent game indeed.

More shots came, both teams became impermeable.  Oyini for Daten made a golden run, put in a quality ball with No 16's (Ross Ward) header gathered.  2 shots came the other way, both were tame and with little time left Whaley needed to do better.  

The closing stages, the Atomic squad burst forth, No 13 (Tom Middleham) was at the pointed end of the attacking prong with one touch taken, a fine shot had and a strong save stopping another net swelling moment.  A corner followed. Hansley put in a header - it was alas, the width of an eel's willy shy of the upright.  One more rapier move came for the hosts and ended in disappointment before a spell of lunge and plunge defending was needed as the travelling team tried to get a share of the spoils.  With several minutes of added time done the referee halted proceedings and Daten had bagged a very good win.  Man of the Match was an easy choice with Daten FC's No 6 (Andy McWilliams) a concrete and controlled example of footballing quality.  From the off he caught the eye (maybe it was the fake tan and botox lips) and through the entire game he played with precision, assuredness and with a fine awareness.  Top drawer stuff fella, keep it going.

After the game the referee kindly allowed me to snap the teamsheets for this report and me and the missus buggered off home for a chilled night.  The feet were duly washed and wrapped in cabbage leaves after the toes and been rubbed in chicken sperm - apparently this old wives tale works wonders and the chickens lay super-sized eggs after being gently tossed off - double win.

FINAL THOUGHT - A solid day out, birds, blooms, bugs and ball booting action with tea and chips thrown in.  Daten FC is a grand place to visit and both teams today are always worthy of supporting, be it away or at home.  The guest team today seemed just off the pace and not as cohesive as they needed to be.  They have several fine players, some good desire and at times are capable of some good footballing enterprise.  I have recently seen them get stuffed 3-0 at home, next time I visit I am hoping the scoreline will go the other way.  Daten FC, on today's evidence, are far better than their league position suggests.  They displayed good strength in depth, honest desire and an ability to pass the ball so as to confound their opponents.  Next season I am hoping to make several more visits and see the team up the ante - they may be relegated this time around but an immediate bounce-back is not beyond the realms of possibility - here's to some fine Atomisation.

Tuesday, 26 April 2022

DENTON DESIRE, DENTON FIRE

23rd April 2022 - Denton Town 2 v 1 Vulcan FC - A morn spent sorting a new car out was not ideal, me and the missus are not car fans, they are merely tin can conveniences that get us about - all that petrolhead jargon and sales talk is wasted on us.  After the deed we headed home, had lunch and a chill and then I was dropped at Whittles Park where I met the regular faces and my mate STP Stu.  Prior to the game I had a kick about with a couple of young lads - I got a ball in the face and busted my glasses, I had a right sweat on and lost 2-3 and 1-3 on penalty shoot-outs.  My stint in the nets was shite and I am sure I have ruptured a testicle straining to make a world class save.  I came out looking like Gordon Wanks rather than the ex-England hero of a similar sounding name.  A brew and a choccy bar was the reward and a good natter in the sun.  The wind was now whipping up, I saw local doofer Jimmy Pelosi hold onto his syrup and mutter some indecipherable Scottish cusses - I reckon he should just shave his head and have done, oh the cost of vanity.

The game began at 2pm sharp, both teams looked full of desire and the initial competition reflected that with too much haste, a lot of waste and a taste of things to come.  Things were highly vocal from the off with the home set-up battling well and hollering away.  The best of the early pressure was a long ranger from No 4 (Lewis Cooper) but accuracy was lacking and the keeper remained unconcerned.  Vulcan held firm, won a free-kick that was put into the box and nodded on.  No 9 (Scott Walker) collected but contact was poor - chance gone.

A long ball from the Denton No 1 (Hari Cawthorne) came next, a defensive header flicked the ball into the path of No 9 (Jordan McCann) who only had the mittman to negotiate.  The attempt on goal was firm enough but the keeper's legs did what was required of them and the scoresheet remained unblemished.  Denton continued to be the livelier outfit and with the wind at their backs seemed likeliest to bag the first goal.  The blasted wind was now a major factor though and hindered attacks at both ends of the pitch. Another fascinating hinderance may have been the puffing linesman who showcased some exhibitionist flag waving whilst smoking a fag and chatting bollocks with a few fans.  Slick Nick did his best although some would say his best was... well you can make up your own mind.

Despite ploughing into the gale somehow the Vulcanites broke the Denton ranks and No 14 (Stuart Wellstead) was released.  With only the last man between the sticks a sure-fire goal seemed to be the outcome but when the effort came the historical file labelled as 'wank' was opened and this attempt was duly stored away in the subsection of 'forgettable'.

Denton responded to this scare with a counter.  McCann had possession and a chance to shoot but crossed instead.  The defending pack stood firm but still conceded a corner.  The ball from the angle came, the wind assisted the flight of the ball and goalward it went with the keeper doing mighty well to palm away.  Cooper was on it like an Anal Fly on a nudist's exposed buttock but the shot was disastrously mis-hit.

The half rolled on, the last 10 minutes came.  Denton maintained the momentum but Vulcan were resolute and standing proud (this does not mean that 11 players ran around with erect members by the way).  A long ball came for Vulcan next, a defensive mix up saw Walker nip in and release a first time shot.  The keeper was caught standing still (maybe there was a hard-on catching his eye), the ball rolled by and looked to be heading into the onion bag.  Alas the globe went just outside the upright, now that was close.

The half ended with a Denton free kick that was fired at the goalie and a similar gratis hoof the other way that was shite.  I think the break was needed.

A brew and natter was needed, and a stretch of the carcass.  I feel like a walking shambles at the mo, fucking anxiety is an eternal predator always waiting to pounce and of late the darn bastard has had me and ripped my innards out.  I am digging deep. Seeing Jimmy Pelosi and the referee measuring todgers during the interval did nothing for my nervous system - I mean, tartan thongs for crying out loud!

Half two and Vulcan were on it with the breeze on their backs.  A ball was immediately dinked forth, No 10 (Ben Brownhill) let fly first time, I am sure it removed a layer of paint as it shaved the outside of the post.  The kick-back from Denton came via their industrious No 2 (Declan Brinsley) who raced down the flank, resisted several challenges and reached the end line whereupon a cut-back ball was executed.  Alas a striker wasn't waiting for the pass and the chance went begging, it was a shame as this was some run.  Vulcan strove to make an impact, a corner, a flick header by Brownhill over the bar and a free-kick taken by Walker which was blocked all too easily, was the best the team could contribute.

The Town made headway next, McCann collected, worked the line and put in a good cross with No 7 (Luke Morris) bouncing high and putting his header over.  The hosts were undeterred by this failure to bulge the bag (phwoar) and peregrinated into the opponents half once more with a cross not dealt with by a dawdling defence.  Morris was the man on the ball again and this time made no mistake and walloped home to fracture the deadlock - the lead was fully deserved

The same player who had bagged the goal was close to doubling matters soon after when a toe-poke from a high ball trickled wide - Vulcan were living on a buttered knife-edge with their conkers bared.  The guests had the ball on target a couple of times soon after but the attempts were straight at the keeper who remained secure.  Corners followed at both ends, no joy was had.  McCann for Denton had a chance to kill the game but the shot was mightily tame and easily gathered.

Time was racing on, Vulcan were getting desperate but a ball out wide came, a cross was nutted onto the head of Wellstead and the cranium did the business by putting the ball over the static keeper - 1 - 1- what a sickener for the home side.

Undeterred the local lads kicked on with McCann and No 12 (Aiden Hopkins) linking up like a couple of homo-sausages, the ball being served on a plate for No 14 (Romero Coley) to wallop home but the result being a shot in to the Heavens.  At the other end  a chance to bag all three points came but the shot just wouldn't stay on target.  The visitors had another go at grabbing the full 3 point prize but a shot from Walker went across goal and no awaiting toe was found.

The game looked to be done and dusted as we entered the dog end of the do.  No 11 (Elvis Omeroghe) had a late shot for Denton fly off target and then a ball went up in the air in and around the Vulcan box.  No 16 (Sherriff Ayoade) for the hosts was the first to react, took one look and let fly a juicy peach that nestled in the bottom corner of the fruit basket.  The players went ape-shit, a few young fans ran onto the pitch to join in the celebrations and moments later the game was done. What a way to finish and although something of a shock result the outcome after 90 minutes was not to be questioned.  Man of the Match goes to Denton Town's No 2 (Declan Brinsley) a player who stuck to his guns, remained consistent throughout and who does things in his own quiet and effective way - he is getting better by the game.  

FINAL THOUGHTS - Vulcan came with hopes raised and were caught out by a side up for the task and willing to put in a stint.  The beaten side though still have hopes of promotion with 3 tough fixtures to negotiate that will take points away from their rivals.  The team is balanced, has a good home ground and have not got this far through the season without being anything less than 'effective'.  I think if the team miss out this time they will be favourites for the next campaign - all they need do is keep the ethos, keep the players and make sure they make consistency their chief weapon.  Denton Town have had a rocky time of late and put in some stinking performances.  Today they were on it and all areas worked their arses off and communicated with clarity and purpose.  The result speaks for itself and again, if the team holds onto its present staff, focuses on the challenge ahead and makes sure everyone is 100% committed both on and off the field then success will follow.  It sounds mighty easy but it ain't - here's hoping anyway. 

Wednesday, 30 March 2022

BEAR-FACED ROBBERY

29th March 2022 - Cheadle Heath Nomads 2 v 3 Congleton Town - The palpitations are niggling me, the ticker is playing silly buggers and I am having attacks of the vapours (well, that's what Mrs Teacake used to say).  Having recently spent a testing time in A&E, an ECG, blood tests and general heart check all came back showing no blips or any cause for concern.  To get my monies worth I asked them to give my pecker the once over and check my prostrate - despite a U-bend in the aforementioned sexual piping all is well.  A chat with the doctor eventually ended up debating the plight of Cheadle Heath Nomads this year and the stethoscope wielding quack indicated the palpitations could be linked to too much touchline excitement.  I informed the medicine man that the way The Nomads are performing this time around is hardly helping the fluttering strawberry - he saw my point.

And so, after 4 weeks of pinging and awaiting further explorations into the internal upset I have decided to pen another footy report and reveal a few insights into this great and absorbing game.  I arrived in good time and met the usual faces, it was good to see the Nomads chairman looking upbeat after his recent court appearance for lewd transvestism.  George Gibbons (known at the weekend as Gloria Gibbons) is an unashamed cross-dresser and eases much footballing tension by having a few nights a week on the razzle dressed as a woman.  This is all well and good but a recent trip saw Gloria involved in fracas with the law after trying to steal a Fray Bentos pie from a late-nite convenience store.  Of course, Gloria had had a few sherberts and fancied a quick snack but the police were unimpressed and when Gloria tried to kiss the Chief Inspector the bracelets were clamped around the wrists of the deviant and to the local clink he/she was escorted.  Rumour has it the outcome was a £50 fine for theft, £75 fine for being armed to commit robbery (a can opener in the peephole bra) and £30 for wearing crotchless knickers back to front - that must be the most expensive pie in history.  Anyway, enough of these nerve-shattering insights, let us crack on with the game at hand.

At 7.45pm I was on the touchline along with the good folk that are Gareth and Sandra Evans (who look after the turnstile and wash Ms Gibbons weekend wear). The game began with the climate almost ideal with the first team to gather any momentum being the guests after The Nomads lost possession and a break away came.  A sugar-sweet ball was dealt with No 11 (Arron Johns) outsprinting two desperate defenders and letting fly with a shot that took a slight deflection and dropped into the far side of the onion bag - now where the hell did that come from?

Within seconds of this opening shocker the Congo crew were marauding forth again with the hosts looking frightfully unsettled. Thankfully the resident team were saved by an offside decision and from here made some headway into the game.  No 10 (Kyle Foley) was buzzing about like a wasp on steroids and the rest of the team had an urgency that was surely going to pay dividends.

After much bluster No 6 (Joshua Tinker) had a pop that was deflected just shy of the mark with the corner producing nowt to write home about.  The game however was a captivating contest with both teams working up a good arse-lather.  As the home team earned their crust, from a midfield mush a ball was suddenly released and No 9 (Daniel McLaughlin) was free and only had the keeper to beat.  Like a well-seasoned pro the ball was controlled and slotted home to bring parity back to the game and make this a cup contest to savour.

The high tempo of the game continued with the Nomadic pack now shading matters but with several moments of pissing about with the ball at the back always giving the Congo boys hope and a glimpse at a certain vulnerability.  Some good pressure was maintained though with a couple of corners had, the latter finalised by a poor shot from Foley.  Congo responded with a liquid move of orb-snagging pace that opened up the opposing defence like a tin of sexed-up pilchards.  The apical component to the foray forth was No 10 (Jordan Johnson) whose shot straight at the keeper was more than disappointing.

Towards the arse end of the half Congo continued to force the issue with numerous crosses peppering the zone of peril.  The hosts remained resolute and after one minor scare the half ended all square.

For the break I stayed put, breathed deeply and tried to calm the palpitating heart.  I pondered things tranquil - sunny flower strewn meadows, acid hazed days in dens of iniquity and fluffy pillow switch offs due to excess glue-sniffing - it all seemed to work until my eye spied the aforementioned Gloria Gibbons doing a lap of the pitch on a rusty Penny Farthing.  The sight was a mockery of womanhood, a ghastly horror show to curdle the cranial gunk, and why the fuck was this abomination wearing crotchless knickers? My heart was left racing with disgust.  Thankfully the cycling psycho was taken away by some brave officials, the teams came back out and this was what transpired.

A swift start to period two brought an early free-kick for the away team but the execution was ruddy shite to say the least.  The Nomads soon upped the ante and worked with good fizz. A ball was placed out wide, No 7 (Daniel Byrnes) collected and posted into the box with both pace and accuracy.  Foley came flying in like a fart flung from an elastic anus, the contact with the ball was sound - 2-1 it was - what a fine goal.

Congo now reacted, a long ball found No 9 (Thomas Pope) who chested down and cracked forth - the outcome was only a corner that was wasted, retrieved and redelivered by No 7 (Oliver Putnam) with great panic ensuing and the Nomad's surviving by the skin of their private bits. Soon after Putnam was provider again, this time No 4 (Richard Booth) was the recipient but could only lash into the sable beyond in reckless fashion.

To the next animation and The Nomads rallied, No 11 (Kieran Alley) was a menace incarnate, a cross was blocked but immediately reposted with a wild clearance over the bar the outcome.  The corner was cleared. No 14 (Charlie Mulgrew) gained controlled, put a neat ball to No 4 (Kieron O'Connell) who had an unexpected pop across goal that ended mere inches wide of the far timber.  This was now a very entertaining bout of ball-booming action with Congo counterpunching and Pope at the apex having a good effort beautifully saved by a well-stretched keeper. After a failure to capitalise on the momentum the travelling pack were soon on the back foot as Foley fed Mulgrew and then screamed for a return pass.  The player in possession however ignored the pleas and chanced his shank with the ball rising over the keeper and twatting the horizontal - unlucky fella.

A bout of pseudo argy-bargy saw handbags lose sequins and frilly knickers get in many knots before play resumed. Tension rose, the guests were getting anxious but a Nomadic error came and miscommunication allowed Putnam to weasel in and put the ball into the net for a very crucial equaliser.  Now this was getting tasty.

Disgust and disbelief swept through the home supporting ranks, elevated hope brought raised hollers from the visiting onlookers, the time trickled on regardless - it was a case of 'next goal wins'.  The Cheadle Chaps advanced with No 16 (Max Lewens) surging and providing a cross of teasing proportions that needed a lengthy shank to connect with and send the globe home. The clock ticked on, penalties loomed until... Johns of Congo had a shot that the home No 1(Dimeji Wilan) saved with elegant skill. A corner came, another blockage, the ball was soon back in the box and a bagatelle of madness ensued.  Ping, pong, ping - and then... the ball was in the net and the Congleton contingency were ecstatic.  Moments later the victory was confirmed, Cheadle Heath Nomads had committed Harikiri (again).  Man of the Match however goes to the home No 3 (Jack Taylor) - I thought his stint was composed, rock steady and a crucial bedrock on which the rest of the team could rely. Here's to plenty more performances like this.

FINAL THOUGHT - Congleton came as favourites tonight, were matched in every area of the park, and somehow scraped through into the next round. The Bears were dipped in honey tonight, they stuck to an arduous task and when on the back paw still worked away and never lost their belief. They nearly got stung but fortune favours the fighters and somehow, they pilfered the victory tonight and I do hope they go all the way in this competition.  It is always a pleasure to visit their ground of course, the chips they sell are still unsurpassed.  Cheadle Heath Nomads are now appointed Masters of the Unpredictable - one game they are on fire, the next smouldering like pissed on ashes.  One minute they are dashing to victory, the next they are falling to unexpected defeat - a gambling man would be crippled if he were placing wagers on this team, in facts he would be starkers and destitute and in need of psychiatric help - I think he would need to get in the queue with Ms Gibbons - God bless the doctor who deals with these matters.

Tuesday, 29 March 2022

HAPPY VILLAGERS

26th March 2022 - Gorleston FC 1 v 3 Long Melford - We were out and about recording nature and our travels had found us stopping for a few night's in Acle, Norfolk.  A day break from wild wandering was taken with a morn spent at Great Yarmouth where a good walk was had, some fine scram digested and a superb ice-cream devoured. Along the way I did have a gander at a few wildlife species (there is always time to have a nosey at things natural) which included some 2 Spot, Pine and Harlequin Ladybirds, a few bird species and some sub-species of human beings that deemed it fit to carry unnecessary weight and let it all spill out in the unseasonable sun, individually known under the Latin appellation of (Indiscreetus wobblewankus).  From here we took a short drive down to the tucked away ground of Gorleston to witness an encounter of a team lying second in the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division and a travelling team lying second bottom.  The outcome, on paper at least, looked a matter of course but the last time these two teams met Long Melford won 1 - 0 and trying to predict anything in this Non-League lark is about as easy as juggling diarrhoea.

Upon arrival at the ground we paid our dues and chose our sitting positions (right in the glorious sun that saw me expose my belly in the hope of turning from milky white to Cadbury brown).  We were soon joined by the fine gent that is Richard Kemp (Long Melford President and Independent Councillor) and his lovely wife Blanche, who both kept us entertained with footballing stories and insightful gems.  Soon the teams were taking the pitch and we all settled in to watch the encounter where I shifted position to stay out of the glare and get a solid view of both goals.

With the haze insistent the game got underway with matters quite stagnant early on.  The away team sat back and allowed the opposing force to prod and poke like an arse-inspecting doctor with a criminal record as long as your arm.  After taking a slight mauling however Long Melford sprang a counter with some swift football culminating in a tumbling for No 9 (Jamie Griffiths) in the box.  The put-upon judge who holds all the cards was unimpressed and waved play on with another penalty shout at the other end also ignored.  The latter claim for a gratis gift was for a handball, I think if the decision would have been given it would have been quite scandalous, almost akin to the time when Alan Ball claimed to have a 14 inch dongler.

The Greens were on top during the opening throes but the next action came after a Long Melford ball ended in a corner that was delivered, dealt with, reposted and nutted over by a player in free-space.  I failed to get the cranium cracking player's number - darn this awkward sun.  Gorleston were soon roaming forth, with No 10 (Connor Ingram) laying the ball onto No 9 (Christy Finch) who shot on the slow turn and watched the ball trickle wide.  This was a grinding first 45 with little between the sides.  As the hosts pushed and pressed the guests stood firm with their mittman punching a few balls clear and collecting a few angled kicks with ease.  

Half chances came and disappeared down the U-bend of no hope before Long Melford advanced with much promise.  The ball was passed across the box, No 11 (George Day) gathered and decided to swing the shank and send forth a decent curler that just stayed on the wrong side of the timber - now that was close.  Again the visitor's came and following a free-kick, a ball out wide was crossed and a header was denied at the very last, leaving Gorleston thanking their lucky stars.  The half wound down with little else to report besides Gorleston's No 11 (Robbie Sweeney) having a bonus boot on target that was too easy for the keeper.  By now I was very much in need of a good cuppa.

As my lasses went for a beverage I chatted with a fine bloke who had played for Cambridge and several other clubs in his heyday.  Alas I couldn't compare my footballing past with this as the highest level I ever competed at was as a substitute for the Titbit's Eleven reserve team who competed in the now defunct Rubber Arse Magazine League - now that is fantasy football.

With brew in one hand and pen in the other the second half began and I scribbled and slopped with keen abandon.  Gorleston had had a man sin-binned at the end of the first half - Long Melford were keen to capitalise.  After a scrapyard opening 5 minutes Gorleston tried to progress but the guest keeper (Matt Walker) gathered and humped long.  The last defender couldn't manage matters and in pounced No 7 (Hassan Ally) to collect and slide past the stick man to open the day's scoring.  The lead lasted only a couple of minutes though when a ball forth for Gorleston saw a defender/keeper miscommunication and in stepped Finch to grab the loose globe and fire home from a tight angle - Long Melford had committed the cardinal sin (no, not pissing in the font water but losing a goal just after scoring one).

This was a good contest now and I am sure many would have put money on Gorleston turning up the heat.  Not so, despite being desperate to keep their title challenge on track Gorleston lacked creativity and urgency and were soon trailing again after a long free-kick was nutted back into the perilous zone and No 8 (Ben Judge) swivelled and fired home with sanguine ease.  This was a finger up the rear of the resident ranks who now tried to force the issue (there is nowt worse than straining a sphincter muscle).  A cross into the box by No 8 (Joel Watts) was pushed away by the hand of the prostrate keeper with an immediate follow-up shot coming via No 17 (Kyle Ingram) with the gloved guardian recovering to produce a quite excellent save.

Time was now Gorleston's enemy and Long Melford were doing their best to slow matters up and quell any home momentum.  With 10 minutes left The Greens continued to seek an equaliser whilst The Villagers played a cagey offside game.  Home-free kicks were earned and wasted whilst the LM lads came close to grabbing a third.  Into extra time we soon went and the home No 5 (Connor Deeks) was complacent at the back and duly robbed of possession, No 9 (Josh Norris) had his eye on goal but unselfishly fed (Griffiths) who rattled home to secure the 3 point prize.  

As the travelling fans shouted for full-time and the lone sable clad figure of tested patience refused to blow his pea-laden contraption Long Melford nearly had a fourth but No 14 (Ronnie Ward) somehow put the ball over the bar from only a few feet out.  Gorleston refused to give in but the best they could offer was a couple of shots wide of the mark - the game would have to be signed off as a bad day at the office.  The referee closed proceedings soon after, we said farewells to Richard and Blanche and consider Long Melford's No 8 (Ben Judge) worthy of the Man of the Match Award after a live-wire stint that gave his team constant options and a good supply of energy.  A player always thinking and looking to make a difference I thought.  

We pootled off happy with the match observed, it will be good to get back over this end real soon.

FINAL THOUGHT - As a neutral, the difference between the teams today was hardly noticeable despite the league positions of both units.  What I witnessed was the fact that Long Melford have enough desire to get clear of the drop-zone and maybe finish the season in a more respectable position but, running off the ball and playing with greater width are crucial to rising within the ranks as well as stout discipline.  Gorleston looked a trifle one-paced today and for me, just didn't battle hard enough for 50/50 balls and when in a position of threa and didn't deliver anything of quality.  Passion and pride are now needed to win this league as well as a fiery hunger and some focused work on dead ball situations.  The outcome lies in their own hands, this loss will test their mettle - I shall be checking on-line to see the weekly results.

Thanks go to all though for another grand Non-League outing - I can't fault it and here's to many, many more adventures.

Monday, 28 February 2022

THAT'S MOORE LIKE IT

27th February 2022 - Moore Utd 2 v 1 Maine Road Reserves - It seems the world is on the brink of the apocalypse, and yet no matter what, too many folks are marching into Hell with their heads screwed on backwards and not prepared to do a damn thing for the planet.  It makes me puke!  The morn was spent recording nature at a local park near to the ground, with a little effort a few species go on the map and conservation efforts can be done with a little more knowledge - in truth it is pissing in the wind.  Talking of pissing in the wind, why would anyone in their right mind do a football report for a game with only 16 folk in attendance?  Why would anyone stand around in a chill and scribble away and try and put something back?  Well, the option of doing fuck all is no option at all and as a DIY doofer I am happy to pitch in and try and do something for the game at level 'real'.  This is where it matters, down in the soccer cellar where it is one constant struggle to just keep things ticking over without any hope of any big time success.  This is bread and butter booting and I fuckin' love it.  Like my nature jaunts and the music I promote, it is all about getting back to zero and seeing things unaffected and unmolested by greed and kudos.

And so, we arrived at the club early, had a brew, conducted our pootling, returned and had a chat with Maine Road Reserve Coach Darren Jones, a fine amiable chap, trying to do something positive and eager to get his arse in gear.  After the jaw wag me and the missus sat in a bowling hut and had a bite to eat before having a natter with the day's referee - another nice bloke helping keep this game moving.  Eventually the players were out, the few in attendance were in position and we were pitchside with the grandad of The Roads No 10 (Joshua Clegg) - and good company he was.

The game began on the stroke of 2pm, a mere 30 seconds had passed before Moore United attacked down the flank with No 11 (James Sowerby) delivering a choice cross that No 7 (Dylan Glass) connected with and fluffed but duly jabbed home at the second time of asking.  Was this the quickest goal in Cheshire League history?  If so, will the ghosts of Ross and Norris McWhirter be summoned to verify this claim and would the spirit of Roy Castle do a tap-dance in celebration?  Either way - Maine Road reserves looked as though they couldn't give a toss and weren't impressed by this early kick up the arse.

Moore continued to be the more animated pack and repeatedly advanced with notable purpose.  A gratis hoofing was earned, No 10 (Tom Smith) posted onto the cranium of No 9 (Kane Hackett) who disappointingly nutted the globe over the timber.  The hosts came again, Hackett put in a troublesome cross that saw the Maine Road defence get their knickers in a twist and snap a few elastics.  Somehow the trailing teams gonads of fear were tucked in and the danger was dealt with.

Maine Road eventually found their feet on the uneven and adhesive surface.  Clegg was on the end of an overhit free-kick and duly darted and won a corner.  The angled punt was caught by the wind and looked to be curling into the far corner of the meshing but the inside of the post was unkind and the ball bounced to safety.  Moore broke with rapid pace, a cross came and two wannabe assassins flew in to make that all-important killer contact - the final touch never came.

Again the resident ranks poured forth with No 8 (Jordan Rudge) and Glass linking up with the former player having a pop that had a trifle too much elevation. Maine Road, in return, put together a sweet passing move that ended in a free-kick decision.  The attempt on goal from a standing ball was ruddy poor and punishment was duly issued as Moore attacked and wellied the ball from one side of the pitch to the other.  A cross came. Hackett launched himself like a pseudo Bob Latchford and executed a flying header to double the lead - the guests looked gutted.

The game entered the final third of the first period.  More assaults on the MR goal came with headers and shots dealt with but all sending a strong message that the home team were hungry for more.  No 2 (Chris Slater) came close but had a brace of efforts blocked and Road in return had a weak penalty shout after No 11 (Joesef Aloush) went down like a poleaxed piss-pot and Clegg had a pop on goal, but the unforgiving pitch saw the ball bobble and end up flying into the now bracing air.

Half done, we headed back to the hut beside the bowling green and had a warm drink and a choccy bar.  A sit out of the wind with my best mate was grand and by heck the Bounty Bar was smashing.  

Back out for the second half we went to witness Maine Road playing a perilous passing game at the back and not showing any urgency to advance.  Possession was eventually lost, Rudge supplied Hackett who sent the ball into the box where Glass was denied on the line.  A corner ensued and Hackett connected with his noggin but sent the ball wide.  Maine Road were like Naughty Norman Price in a memorable episode of Fireman Sam (no, not the one where he got bummed) and were playing with fire.  

The hosts sensed another goal was about to be gained but the closest they came was when No 6 (Jack Lawrence) had a long range drive just bend away from the target zone.  The blue clad team tried to up the ante but were lacking composure and an all round sharpness. Too many times they lost 50/50 balls and a lack of off the ball work was costing them dear.  

Another corner came for Moore with the guest keeper doing well to punch and then hold the follow-up shot.  The Road kept huffing and puffing with No 12 (Zach Curtis) having a pop wide and then another shot that brought the home keeper into his first bit of action of the day.  The save was regular - nothing more, nothing less.

The game bundled on, from a midfield mire one of the red clad residents was released and had only the keeper to negotiate.  The attacker's first touch was shabby, the mitted man collected the ball with great relief.  A corner the same way came soon after, an ambitious gent tried to execute a hopeful overhead with the result a punt off target and a ruptured scrotum.  Some route one football followed with the Moore keeper booting long and Rudge chasing and looking destined to score from 5 yards out.  Inexplicably the post was struck and I am still wondering how he missed it!

With time running out the scoreline looked settled but on the 90th minute Clegg for Maine Road was in possession out wide, sent in a teasing cross that No 8 (Sam Barnett) bumbled into the net.  2 - 1 and thoughts of a comeback were on, but banished seconds later when the full-time whistle blew.  I think the deserved side won and their No 8 (Jordan Rudge) a good choice for Man of the Match.  A brilliant work ethic, some all round effective movement and a willingness to get stuck in all over the park - a choice stint.

FINAL THOUGHT - a ragged match on a testing playing surface with both teams at the bottom end of the league and looking to build some late season impetus.  Maine Road were disorganised and out of sync today and looked like a team in need of some serious attention.  Commitment to loose balls was lacking, not enough verbals left players in possession not knowing what to do next and a willingness to run off the ball for the full 90 minutes wasn't there. On the plus side, there were many players on show capable of skilful touches and appearing to have the ability to up their game and their sides fortunes - here's hoping.  Moore Utd wanted this and worked hard from the off.  The desire got them through a tricky fixture that was lacking in general flair and delicacy of touch.  The key, when in the mire, is to just dig deep and give it 100% - I think the long ball game is an option here and when the back is up against the wall - kick big chaps, kick big. Sometimes winning ugly is the only way - just ask Quasimodo about the time he won the jackpot on Liberace's One Armed Love Bandit - ooh err!