Friday, 14 September 2018

DOWN TOWN

11th September 2018 - Cheadle Town 0 v 7 Sandbach Utd - The second midweek fixture and another meet up with STP Stu.  The day was spent at work, I was feeling rather iffy with the guts griping and nausea knocking me sideways - I hope these shrooms aren't finally getting to me - that is all I need, a Brittlegill induced shitting session - ooh me poor Twyford Basin.  Anyway, the walk down to the ground was pleasant enough as the autumnal air was kissed with a chill and the old noggin was perked up a little and a spring in the step was had.  I arrived in good time, had a chat with the gent on the gate and met up with my mate whereupon we purchased tea, wandered to the far side of the ground and wagged the jaw.  Predictions as to the outcome were made, I won't emphasise what complete fools we made of ourselves but I would defy anyone who claimed to have foretold the outcome of tonight's match up and accuse them of falsehood with the scathing words 'liar, liar, ring-piece on fire'.  The 3 points went the way I thought they would go, the way they were grabbed was something of a revelation.  Intrigued? Read on and all will be revealed.

The two sides set to battle, the start was played at 100 miles an hour with a certain recklessness just glossed over by the hard work put forth.  Cheadle were guilty of an early howler after their keeper (Daniel Whiting) had to produce a quick save.  His team went down the other end ,No 8 (Rhys Webb) worked in and from mere feet out had a certain strike prevented by a goal line stoppage.  The ball should have been buried, the chance was gone.  Cheadle continued to work hard, their No 2 (Joseph Neild) and No 9 (Rhys Clooney) were central cogs in a steamed up machine and after Whiting had saved another shot Clooney had a chance to burst netting after weaving between 2 defenders and letting fly.  Alas, he could only wallop into the bracing night air.  At the other end a free-kick followed, the ball went into the box, hesitation and indecision made for a minor mess.  The ball was loose, was it going in, was it going to be cleared, wham, in it went from close range, an unkempt goal for the host's to concede, No 11 (Ryan Allcock) for Sandbach was the fortune-favoured executioner.

Cheadle began to grunt and grind like a gay pig with six willies, 2 free kicks at a threatening angle were won, the first was rather wank, the second ruled offside.  Despite this the team were passing with patience, looking with sharp eyes to find that crack in the Sandbach rear (the underpants department can pay dividends).  The guests were using crowding tactics, giving the home lads no peace to dwell on the ball.  The outcome was an error, the SB squad flashed forth, a scything cross was laden with accuracy, up stepped No 9 (James Kirby) to tap home with ease.  0 - 2 it was, the better work-rate, better movement and better options had borne true fruit, and there was still more plucking to be done.  After a delay that saw the home No 6 (Joseph Shaw) hobble off Sandbach soon picked up from where they left off and duly won a corner.  The ball was hoofed in, several chances to clear were missed, No 7 (Harry Cain) for the visitors was being a perpetual menace, eventually the ball fell to Kirby, he was in the mood for chancing and cracked home to bring up a 3 goal lead.  As if this wasn't insulting and embarrassing enough for The Town two further crosses soon came, Kirby was on hand again to belt forth.  The first shot was shit, the second shot was a hit, pluck that out, a 4 goal cushion was had, the roost was being ruled.  The half-time whistle came after a few more semi-threats each end and an awful Cheadle free-kick.  This was an unexpected scoreline, a 'WTF' event, as we wandered to the opposite side of the ground we chatted with a couple of good blokes from Crewe who were also shocked at the outcome - you just can't weigh this strange non-league game up.

Half-time and there was no tea as there were no cups available, food was running low and people looked a bit miffed.  We met up with the assistant secretary for Stockport Town and he joined us for the second-half, always good company that fella and quite an authority on the love-life of Armpit Ants (Glandosis perspirus).  

The match recommenced, Cheadle Town had 2 early chances, both falling to the shanks of Clooney.  The first was dinked wide, the second forced the mitted man between the uprights to save.  The hosts were still not giving up the cause, No 3 (Tom Ratican) tried a long ranger and saw the ball deflected wide, from the corner nowt of any value came but promise was there and only a minor disaster would halt the progress.  Enter a clumsy tackle, a yellow card upgraded to a red and the home lads were now down to 10.  Things threatened to get out of hand with verbals piercing the night air, handbags swung and in danger of losing a few sequins of control.  The lady in charge took no messing, two more yellows came, the game carried on with little fuss.  A Sandbach free-kick followed, the delivery was choice, No 5 (Kris Stockton) stretched and just missed a killer connection.  In return, No 9 (Rhys Webb) for the Town produced a lovely run that culminated in a firm shot that went wide of the far stick - the effort deserved more.  Sandbach had a good 3 cross flurry next, Cheadle cleared and advanced but a hustle was executed, Kirby the perpetrator duly got the ball, headed goalward and looked like a man on a mission.  The head was down, the legs a blur, the target set and when in range the trigger pulled.  The scoreline went to 0 - 5, and we weren't done just yet.

I scribbled my notes, looked up and Kirby was in to tap home and only thwarted by Whiting's athleticism and awareness - good save lad.  The substitute had a dig seconds later, another solid block was had.  Cheadle still tried to scrape together a goal, Webb was thwarted at the last and No 15 (whoever it was) was working his arse off and duly catching the eye.  Alas, one strong pass, a ball forward, Kirby to Cain and the sixth goal was had.  This was a rout, The Town were down and out.  No 8 (Luke Hincks) was eternally frustrated but did managed to unload a nice grass grazer that quivered the vertical timber - it was one of those nights and no matter what one could summon up, the Lords of Fate would shit on it!  A late shot by Cheadle's No 7 (Ruben Abreu) crawled wide, Sandbach replied with 2 quick passes that allowed Kirby to muscle in and grab the seventh of the night - the man needed testing for steroids, this was madness.  From here the game died a death, it fizzled away like the erection of Billy Bunter in an empty larder - this had been a thumping, one of those home game nightmares that send all pre-match predictors home bewildered and in some cases, suicidal.  Man of the Match goes to Sandbach Utd's No 9 (James Kirby), I could give you 5 reasons why and an insight into the off the ball work he puts in, I reckon the previous textual dabbling explains well enough though.  The crowd thinned, farewells were had, all and sundry seemed in a state of disbelief - what a ruddy season this is turning out to be!

FINAL THOUGHT - The knicker elastic of normality went twang tonight and the pimpled buttocks of Lady Capricious were bared for all the world to ogle at.  The crack of the predictable arse was forced wide upon and from within the rectal area of regulation fell forth an upset that would turn the stomach of any home supporting stalwarts.  Of course the visiting tribe would be thrilled with the evacuation of unexpected triumph - there are some shifty perverts in our midst.  Seriously though Sandbach Utd were on fire tonight and all over the park they were quicker, more fluent and more determined to push forth with control - it was a bold performance and one that backs up many people's belief that come season end we have a definite top 6 team.  Cheadle Town are becoming something of a conundrum and with one match producing a goal glut, another a beating and then another a patchwork performance it seems there is a superabundance of work that needs to be done (primarily off the park).  The players worked hard, tried their best to kick start a stuttering machine but they were outstripped on the night by an opposition who were ablaze and eager.  The next couple of results will reveal more about each side, for the time being I am off shrooming but I will keep keeping a tab on the outcomes.

Thursday, 13 September 2018

BATTLING NELSON

11th September 2018 - Prestwich Heys 1 v 1 Nelson FC - A midweek fixture featuring 2 sides from the NWCFL First Division North at a ground we usually visit several times a season. Times are busy at the mo (they always are) and the fungi season has crept in and thrown me onto the back foot with it barrage of conundrums and identification posers.  From the swirling depths of multi-coloured Russulas, beautiful Boleti, tricky Tricholomas and aggravating Entolomas I am glad to rise and have a welcome respite at the game I love.  The day was a holiday from work and was spent, once more, tackling many chores, with a small break had to watch 'Flying Deuces' featuring Laurel and Hardy - and why not!   My good lady was joining me for the night's kick about and upon arrival we met that keen non-league pootler STP Stu.  A couple of cups of tea apiece, a chat with Sideburn Bob and out for the match.  Predictions for the night's event would normally go the way of the hosts but both teams were not firing on all cylinders and there was a slight suggestion of a shock on the cards.  If I was a betting man though my conkers would go the way of the home 'erberts, but take care, you have more chance of seeing the Pope's todger than making any money following my feeble attempts at footballing prophecy.  Keep your hard earned cash in your pockets folks, just enjoy the game and hope for a good un' - tis a simple formula but it saves one having to re-mortgage the house or knit one's own underwear.  So tea and chocolate acquired, positions adopted, teams out - game on!

An effervescent start was had as both packs worked with a high running ratio and much steam.  The first corner came for the guests, Heys remained rigid in defense and even when a cross cum shot strayed just shy of the vertical the rearguard looked composed.  From here the home team started to pass the ball like the food between the claws of a pair of Red Kites - smoothly and efficiently.  Time on the globe was not had though as they were constantly harried and hustled by the the corvid-like pests that had obviously swooped in to make a game of it.  As Heys pecked, Nelson stubbornly squawked with stubbornness and flew away on a 3 touch move to shock the shit out of the home team's arses of hope.  A goal kick, a soar down the line, a cross and a nut home by the ever willing No 10 (Gareth Hill) and the away team had pilfered the lead.  It was a basic, effective and very sweet execution, suddenly we had a game to consider.

A period like the mush of Ivy Tyldlsey followed, nip and tuck, nip and tuck, the next goal could have gone either way with Nelson's Hill and No 11 (Jake Townsend) chasing everything.  As effort remained high the Heys struck with 2 razor cum laser passes and up stepped No 9 (Lee Bruce) to knock the ball home and level the scoreline.  On possession of play it was a fair outcome, now it was time for someone to grab the gonads of the game and squeeze out an ultimate victory.  No 2 (Ashley Brierley) of the visiting outfit took a punt at regaining the lead and in truth his lengthy effort wasn't too far off the target.  Next, and a long ball for Prestwich went up, down and bounced like a lopsided testicle on an egg box.  This angular rebound saw a defender and attacker thrown into uncertainty, the former gave the latter a nudge, the referee considered it a foul and seeing that these were the most advanced players on the park a red card was issued.  It was a bitter twist and ruddy unfortunate, the fellow leaving the pitch looked far from impressed.  The following free-kick was taken by the home No 4 (Max White) who had two attempts at placing the ball into the net but was thwarted both times by well flung carcasses.  The last time I had seen bodies thrown with such gusto was at the Midget Flinging World Cup on Malta where Arthur Shortarse was pipped at the post by the human projectile that is, 2 Foot Thompson - the Human Arrow.  

Into the back stretch of the opening period, Nelson made a substitute, a long shot by White for the Heys came soon after but had more hope than accuracy.  The hosts were now regaining command of matters though and the away lads needed to work damn hard to go into the break all square.  A slight chance came, a ball in for the touchline, Hill flicked on, the keeper was forced to save.  Soon after another touch on from the same bonse led to an overhead kick.  It was tame but in truth, was more promising than anything the home team could offer - the half-time break was needed for both teams and after a few heated exchanges they pootled off to recharge the batteries and hopefully get to grips with a gritty game.

We 3 onlookers stayed put, we had a Yorkie bar apiece, I had a cussing for picking up my daughter's  chocolate and not leaving it at home - I have a simple streak at times borne of a distracted head - ooh heck.  The second half soon came around, I had no idea how this one would end up.

The Prestwich pack came out chomping, No 5 (Daniel Vincent) put in a punishing pass that could only be dealt with by a clumsy foul.  The free-kick that came pinged out, Nelson had time to re-adjust and get their shape and set about the hard-shift ahead.  No 10 (Ris Wilson-Heyes) for the home lads was the first to break with purpose during this soccerised segment.  Bruce latched onto a delicious cross, a deflection put the ball over.  The corner was cleared, Nelson raced away, Vincent dealt with the situation with a messy lunge and duly saw his name go in the book, the away team were doing their job - thinking and frustrating.  As the hosts looked to burst the Nelson bubble of hope the guests still looked in control and had their shit, well and truly together.  The Admirals were sailing the high seas of stress and coping mighty well, they mithered the home pack like flies around a bovines ringpiece and as the clock ticked on Hill latched on to a defensive lapse and looked to add his own twist of fate to a very intriguing match that could still go either way.  Alas the mittman was alert and did just enough to quell the peril - bloody spoilsport.

And to the home run in, the game now appeared to be like that kids game known as 'Operation'.  Nelson were in the role of patient, Prestwich Heys were the examining doctors, prodding and poking and looking to take out the heart of their opponents and bring about their own personal buzz.  Shots came, the nose of decision flashed a verdict of 'shite' and the inner organs of the travelling 10 men remained intact.  A collision after a ball forth brought the Hey Heads a corner, the ball was plucked from the air by the keeper, he seemed to have mighty safe hands tonight.  At the other end the ball went in and out with a handball claim coming from the midst of the turmoil.  A free-kick was given, the Blues No 12 (Kenneth Taylor) put in a lovely chip that just wouldn't fall quick enough.  Into the added time and no great shakes were had, the whistle blew, a draw was gained, Man of the Match for me goes to Nelson's No 3 (Alexander Grice) for his funneled and focused discipline that helped keep the visitors tight at the back and always in with a fighting chance.  He played with the right attitude when needed, as did his comrades, and if this can be achieved with 10 men, what can happen with 11. We 3 watchers buggered off home, we enjoyed it even though none of our pre-match predictions came true - we keep on trying!

FINAL THOUGHT - Battling Nelson was a Danish professional boxer who held the World Lightweight Title after beating Jimmy Britt on September the 9th 1905.  The qualities of this famed pug were similar to what Nelson FC displayed tonight, an enduring resistance to pressure, a durability and an ability to strike when on the back foot.  I was impressed by what the team did and how they remained unflustered and, like plastics titties of Pamela Anderson, they kept their shape when under pressure - it was a performance with many positives and the next time their arses are against the wall, this should be used as a reminder of what is still possible.  Prestwich Heys disappointed me on this occasion, something I am surprised to hear myself say as normally they are a fine footballing unit who play eye-catching stuff with a definite end product.  At times they passed well but when in a position of threat options were limited and they seemed at a loss as to where to go forward.   Too many stray balls were punted into no man's land, too many incohesive moments meant that fluidity was lacking.  They have too many good players in the ranks to let this go on for much longer but work needs doing and on my next visit I will be looking for a much more convincing performance and a solid victory.  

Sunday, 9 September 2018

THE JUDGE, THE JURY, THE KNOCKOUT BLOW

8th September 2018 - Whitchurch Alport 1 v 2 Silsden FC  - The week had entailed decorating (still), work, finalising a few fungal lists, completing a couple of CD reviews and finishing reading my latest book, 'Hands of Stone - The Life and Legend of Roberto Duran'.  I grew up watching this maniac box, he was a walking slab of idiot testosterone and never knew when to quit.  He is the greatest lightweight of all time but marred his record somewhat by venturing up the weights and going on for a little too long - he had some classic mix-ups though which, in a round-about way brings me to today's non-league encounter (yes, the pocketful of pseudo tangents are always at my beck and call).  I was hoping for a minor classic here with two teams capable of playing some quite sturdy football that can pack quite a punch when fortune is on their side.  Like the first meeting between Duran and DeJesus, this was a tough one to call, unlike any contest featuring Amir Kahn or Joe Bugner, I didn't expect it to be a one dimensional affair and tedious to watch - who knows though, if predictions were easy we would all have bulging wallets and be wearing those special underpants that vibrate when a goal is scored (come on now, admit it, shyness is a failing don't you know).  So, after leading a mushroom walk in the morn at Harthill Cookery School (48 species found and a ruddy good soaking had) we drove to the ground purchased liquids and solids (instead of releasing them, although I did manage one small squirt before kick-off) and waited for the battle of two sleeping giants.  I will stick with the pugilistic theme if you don't mind, it keeps me stretched and thinking about matters a little harder.

The bell rang (OK a whistle but let's not ruin the thematics early on), the two combatants got to work (saying 22 would just sound foolish).  Pawing jabs were exchanged, the hosts seemed to just edge early matters but the guests had the initial free-kick and corner that gave the first chance at landing a meaningful blow.  The latter saw the ball come in and get easily dealt with and a counter-attack followed.  A robust coming together brought hollers from the crowd, the reaction by the home fans indicated which way the decision had gone.  The free-kick for Silsden had accuracy but the finishing blow via a rising bonse was off the mark.  A Benny Leonard-like scuffling period produced little action and then a rapier pass from a quiet lull saw the Silsden guard breached.  No 11 (Alex Hughes) used great control, recovered from a slight slip and set his feet to produce a quite punishing shot that the keeper only half-blocked.  It was with disappointment the few peregrinating fans saw their net ripple and the first scar appear on the eager countenance of hope.  

From here the residents looked to open up and flex muscle, the travellers used a peek-a-boo style, absorbed and sought a gap to exploit - the threat of the sucker-slap was always apparent. The upper-hand was still had by the WA warriors, several combinations brought applause and the desire shown was surely noteworthy - a spirit worth concentrating on for future match-ups. Gratis-punts came from both sides, no injury was inflicted as the defensive postures remained disciplined.  Despite Alport commanding ring-space a few bad calls, mistimed combo's and the rigid rearguard of their opponents put pay to any serious penetration.  If Whitchurch were going to build on the domination  they were going to have to work hard and maintain a high intensity of pressure.  2 shots did come, No 7 (Joseph Howell) pilfered and let fly, the guest gloved guardian saved low with authority and then easily gathered up the flying orb as Hughes popped one forth.  The rain now teemed, steam rose, a penalty claim for the home lads was had but was waved away.  A last surge by the Sils saw a touch, flick on and lunge just fall short of a killer thriller.  The half ended with the visiting keeper on his arse after hoofing down field, I think the planned late night with a gay Frank Bruno look-a-like may be on hold.

We stayed put at half time, shared some Toblerone and waffled.  The weather was shite, my feet were still soaked from the morns myco-mooch and my t-shirt and kecks were still slightly damp.  The match was warming up nicely though, by full time the thermals may have wafted my way and I would be as dry as the genitals of Tutankhamun

The match restarted, the visitors pushed out a few tentative prods and pokes, a few crosses came, the mitter did what was required.  Silsden were providing many shots to the Alport midriff but no real set-up punch was had and so the solar plexus crippler remained elusive (bring on Bob Fitzsimmons I hear you call).  A home free-kick, a foul cum low blow was given in Duran-esque style, surely only a one-point deduction at most.  The decision was a shocker, it was a one man reduction as the hosts were given an extra smack in the mush and a cut was opened - the roar from the crowd was vehement, one shout of 'dickhead; from the opposite side of the ground was laden with spite, cor blimey guv'nor.  From here Silsden sniffed out blood, the complexion of the game had now changed, further battle scars were starting to be exposed, niggles were raising hackles and the referee was a man under the cosh.  The onlooking judges were growing livid, a condemnation was taking place, would the confrontation be further affected?  Silsden now expressed themselves with more clarity, a long ball was jabbed forth, No 10 (Aiden Kirby) brought it down on the chest, chanced on a bold crack and wham, the match was all square as the still raw wound of the Alport pack had just been deepened and the team were sent reeling.  Going into the final rounds this was all to fight for, Mugabi v Hagler, Bowe v Holyfield was this going to be a final thrash out?

On the ropes Whitchurch looked to regain composure and hit back but No 6 (Reece Lyndon) for Silsden had the next effort, the disappointingly flew over the bar.  The hosts were not finished though, this fiery game was still on a knife-edge and a corner was won by sheer will-power and damned hard work.  The ball came, No 5 (Leon Ashman) made cranial contact, the end result was shy of the mark.  Both No 9's had efforts next, (Mateusz Tomas) for Silsden forced the keeper to save, (Simon Everall) for Alport was tackled at the last by the guest No 2 (Craig Bentham).  Suddenly another 50/50 coming together ensued, a yellow card was issued, this decision was correct and only emphasised the earlier faux pas.  The free-shot was awarded to the WA lads, the ball was drilled and deflected wide, a cross came followed by another clash in the box which brought an incandescent eruption with chests expanded, arms raised and verbals spilling.  The result, Hughes for Whitchurch sent off, ten little indians were down to 9, the grit of Marciano was now needed, the counter punching speed of Julian Jackson a must, was there a way to save the day?  As matters settled one of the Silsden subs was through and had a chance to win it, the keeper spread quicker than butter on a teacake, the save was both tidy and crucial.  A free-kick soon after saw the keeper clobbered but refuse to drop the ball, he was a fine last man standing that is for sure.  All Whitchurch could do now was pepper in spurts and look for one wild swing.  Despite the imbalance in numbers this one was going to the wire.  The 90 minutes was somehow reached, overtime was the territory now trespassed, could a draw be snatched from the chomping jaws of potential defeat?  The 93rd minute arrived, Silsden put in several set up shots, the home guard held firm until - thwack, No 8 (Kyle Hancock) let fly, the low blow was delivered, the insult to effort spat forth with venom.  The sag to the canvas was forced and the bell sounded seconds after.   What a twist, what a game, what an unexpected conclusion! After the final call we chatted to a fine local, we agreed that several decisions had marred this one but the home team were far from disgraced.  Man of the Match however goes to the visiting No 5 (Daniel Illingworth) who displayed a cool and classy streak with a footballing generalship that kept his defense sanguine and orderly.  Never ruffled, always with the eye on the ball, the way defenders should play.  

FINAL THOUGHT - If that shifty swine Don King ever got his untrustable mitts on a game of football what we would witness would be something like what transpired today.  Full of ambiguity, full of grey areas, full of controversy and with many talking points after the game was done.  Whitchurch may have lost this one but there were many positives and I think, despite a very shaky start, a corner has been turned and things are looking rosy.  The return match further 'oop' north will be a classic and it could go the way of the away side provided they work with high animation like the mithering Harry Greb and execute many lethal rapier-like shots akin to The Hitman, Thomas Hearns.  Their players were tireless until the end, their No 5 (Leon Ashman) put in a great stint and kept his team in the contest until the very death - unlucky sir, unlucky. Silsden are a tough nut to crack and gradually wear down their opponents like the body shots of Mike McCallum.  There is still room for improvement though and today I thought they put in a methodical effort that was reminiscent of Larry Holmes in his pomp - not overly dramatic or flamboyant but getting the job done.  They were helped by a couple of refereeing decisions that looked mighty cruel, but hey, as the season unfolds they will get their share of shit and shine and will just have to ride it.  We had certainly got our money's worth today, until the next time - enjoy the season and keep focused.  

Saturday, 1 September 2018

FROM THE STINK COMES SUNSHINE FOR SHELL

1st September 2018 - Shelley FC 2 v 1 Penistone Church - Mycelial strands are invading my carcass at the moment as the fungal season is upon us and my mind is awash with cheilocystidia, erumpent growths (ooh me arse), paraphyses, hygrophanous caps, sinuate lamellae and other such terminology.  I like the environment, I like the shrooming world so I do my bit and this Non-League footy lark is a nice respite from the absorbing fungal world.  Today was a drift over from red rose country to that which boasts petals of white and after a busy morn we pootled across and eventually found our destination.  Today's musical escort came via bands such as The Lillettes, Nicky and the Dots, The Pirhanas and The Chefs.  In between a smattering of Northern Soul was had too.  The two teams on show today were ones I hadn't seen before so anticipation was high due to my love of all things different.  As a slight diversion, the away team bring to mind the many penis stones I have passed over the years due to having a dodgy gland in the neck that formed crystals to gather in my kidneys.  30 years of passing conglomerates of grit and when the gland was whipped out all was sorted - a pity I had only pebble-dashed 75% of the house. Someone came up with a laxative and gravel diet to finish the rest, I did try but now have a two-tone abode and a prolapsed anus - oh bother.  So back to matters at hand, a shit drive over and a few wrong turnings we arrived at the ground in time to purchase tea and crisps and park our arses to take in the atmosphere.  The programme was poor to be fair, primarily adverts and no substance and the tea wasn't the best.  I hate to be critical though so onwards, honesty prevailing and hopefully positivity dictating.

The early play was up in the air, back and forth and without cohesion.  It was a very scrappy start but out of the muddled mire the Penis tone rung true and a quick ball brought about a one on one situation that saw the keeper rounded, a ball flashed in low and a steady tap home for No 11 (Sam Scrivens).  From here the guests pressed and looked to enhance the ever-promising tangerine dream.  Despite this early goal the match failed to ignite and all we got for our eager eyes was a dreary disjointed spectacle.  In fact, this opening showcase was the worst football I had seen this season and something special or outlandishly capricious was needed to inject life into a staggering footballing beast.  A hopeless cause was chased by the visiting Scrivens, a cross cum shot came (sounds like an angry ape having an orgasm) and the keeper did enough to push it behind.  The corner was decent but was dealt with, Penistone however, still looked the likeliest team to get the next strike.  In fact if No 9 (Nathan Keightley) would have controlled a well-delivered heat-seeking cross his touch home would have been as easy as A, B and C and not as complex as 'X, Y and Q'.  The miss was poor and another cross soon after ended yet again without glory as the ball was left unmolested rather than bollock-booted home.  

Eventually the Shelley squad hinted at promise with their No 10 (Israel Johnson) an intricate component in the first applaudable move.  It was unfortunate that the ensuing corner and throw in produced nowt.  Free-kicks came at both ends - the first for Penistone hit the quality mark of 'wank', the second for Shelley upped matters to 'non-wank' but the following header failed to hit the target.  As the half withered quicker than the exposed teats of Old Mother Riley in a desert-based sirocco the visiting bunch put in many good surges but were let down time and time again by the final ball. This footballing folly was exacerbated by a bout of rearguard indecision that saw several crosses come and the blatant vacillation punished by the quick feet of Johnson who walloped home and got proceedings back to all square.  The half ended soon after but not before the Penistone No 5 (James Young) drove in a lovely free-kick that swung low and was beautifully saved by the home mitter (Max Dearnley).  A good full-stop to the half to banish much of what had gone before - the break was very much needed.

A wander to the touchline, a swill of some fruit juice and a soak up of the rays - it were getting warm lad.

The second half began with Penistone out quickest, a couple of switch passes ended with No 8 (Jordan Coduri) crossing to Scrivens who eventually got the ball down, poked forth and was denied by a quality block.  At the opposite end No 7 (Matthew Waller) put in a superb angled ball that saw No 9 (Craig Billington) take down and crack first time mere inches wide - unlucky. Shelley urged each other on, Penistone were malingering and lost possession.  Johnson for the hosts put in a superb ball, in popped No 8 (Daniel Keane) - somehow the hosts had turned this around, their opponents looked both disgusted and gutted.  A quiet patch followed, Coduri for Penistone had a glorious opportunity to level but was struck down with Heavenly guidance and gently knocked the ball into the awaiting keeper's arms - how Christian and who said charity begins at home?  Frustration now manifested itself, space was being found by the hosts with a couple of chances just inches away from a definitive killer blow.  Billington should have added another but tied himself in knots and released all too tamely.  The same player had another shot soon after, this one with more pep, but gravity was denied and the ball sailed over the bar.

A few spiced tackles now came as well as a smattering of end to end marauding.  Several escapades towards goal were indulged in, all players who had hopes of a rippled net where about as accurate as a glass-eyed dart player with an attack of delirium tremens - it seemed to be one of those days.  Composure was an absent friend, no doubt playing host at the local bridge school or hanging around the chilled vegetable section of the local supermarket where other cooled cucumbers may be found.  The finish to the affair was fractious, a bloody nose, a headbutt accusation, a splatter of gushing desire borne from the loins of many desperadoes. Penistone sent in numerous low balls, every single time an executioner was absent - very frustrating indeed.  The guests just couldn't get back in this one and after a few impeding moments via the whistle and an head injury, the final call came and they had to resign themselves to letting this one slip.  Man of the Match though goes to their No 11 (Sam Scrivens) whom I thought offered most danger, ran himself into the ground and was unlucky not to be on the winning team - it is a small consolation I know.  We two wanderers buggered off home, I did see two Hawthorn Shieldbugs near the car park - it was a nice way to end the trip.

FINAL THOUGHT - A day out that didn't live up to expectations with the game being a struggling session between two teams not fully firing on all cylinders and hitting too many stray balls.  Shelley though stuck at matters and somehow pulled a victory from the mire which, in many ways, can be the sign of a team not to underestimate.  They need to pick up matters though as the NWCFL will certainly take no prisoners and they have a few teams within the league that could really take them to the cleaners.  I am sure I will catch them again at some point, it will be interesting to see the progression made.  Penistone have potential and should have had this game won today but  they were ground down, didn't fulfill many opportunities and at the last, were too rushed in their play and so let some good positions go astray. I shall have a pootle to their ground deeper in the season, once more it will be interesting to see how far they have progressed from today's performance.   We are still in the pubescent throes of the season, wait til the bollocks have dropped and a fair judgement can be passed - I will be waiting!

Wednesday, 29 August 2018

'ALT'-ITUDE MAINTAINED

28th August 2018 - Denton Town 0 v 3 Altrincham Reserves - My second dabble of late into the Cheshire League and my second foray to Denton Town.  I had turned 53 today, an aging punk bastard still digging in and doing things the best way - with passion.  Alas 40+ years of listening to the noisy wonderstuff (prior to that it was rock and roll and then some glam) has taken its toll and a visit to the doctors on the morn of the match reinforced that I had lost a bit of hearing in my right lug and was suffering from the buzzoid bastard known as Tinnitus.  Tis too late to stop listening to the music, ear plugs may be needed at gigs to quell the vibrations, the love of the tune though is in the blood - bah.  A day at work was done, tea chomped and out me and the missus headed to meet up with STP Stu again and enjoy some good old football.  The weather was decent tonight after several days of shroom-inducing rain and I expected a fair and well-contested match.  The guests are playing well, topping the league and obviously looking to continue the roll,  the last time I saw Denton Town they had much to admire, I reckon tonight though they would be under the cosh and have to work darn hard to get a result.  The joy of the non-league though is the uncertainty hence the reason many are just plain old hooked.  Just prior to the game it came to light that there was no milk in the clubhouse and tea slurping was on hold, I was stunned, depressed, aghast at the prospect of 45 minutes without a belly full of leaf borne liquid - oh man.  On the plus side, there was a nice troop of Psathyrella candolleana growing on the pitch as well as numerous Mottlegills - you see, shroom inducing rain for sure.

So, dehydrated and with clouds of depression hanging over my tea-starved head I watched the two teams come out and take to the turf that was lush and perhaps a trifle lenghty.  The ball rotated, I swallowed spittle and tried to forget my love of the bag (no not Hilda) and noted Altrincham starting in a controlled and organised manner with Denton buzzing about like Haemorrhoid addled wasps.  The guests had a regimented passing set up and looked to build slowly and steadily but Denton had the first chance at causing a thriller killer when a throw in went to No 9 (Offe Gideon) who attempted an impudent overhead pass that fell to No 7 (Fabio Goncalves) who turned and shot and hit the inside of the post.  It was a finger on the prostate gland for the arse of Alt and they reacted with a racing run by their No 10 (Joel Swift) who beat the dashing keeper to the ball and put in a cross.  As the goalie scampered back he must have been mightily relieved to see that the ball in was lacking in spunk and failed to find any in-rushing bod - what a lucky bugger.  Soon after, 2 more forays forward came by the visitors with Swift and No 11 (Dylan Scanlan) both having digs that lacked power or direction. The same unit rampaged again with a stunning cross finding the galloping No 9 (Reece Coley) who was mere feet from the goal and only needed the most delicate touch to bring up the first goal.  The player arrived on time, swung the shank and boom, the ball went over - a stinking miss and one that was laden with potential post-match hauntings.

The avalanche that was building was put on temporary hold as the hosts found reserves of resistance and produced a couple of sorties into territory rarely trod.  No 11 (Franciso Costa) worked hard to cultivate a genuine chance but the guests remained well-drilled all over the park and mopped up the trouble like a washerwoman on speed.  It looked as though Denton would have a chance at scraping their arses into the break with a scoresheet void of goals when an innocuous looking push in the box somehow led to a penalty being awarded to the purple-clad Alt Army.  It seemed a ruddy strange call to me, my good lady and mate Stu seemed equally bewildered - was the referee on the nest with the Mayor of Altrincham?  Was indeed the man in black about to give birth to the Mayor's love-child or, was it a correct decision and I was just being a blinkered twat?  Either way No 7 (Rhain Davis) stepped up, placed the ball, struck with focus and bagged the lead for the purples - now Denton had to come out fighting!  Alas for the trailing team another assault came, No 5 (Sam Heathcote) knocked a delicious ball to the angle that saw Denton scramble like a nest of disturbed fire-ants and somehow hang on to just the 1 goal deficit.  From here the Town built, No 6 (Myhun Woong Seol) wriggled and turned like an eel having an epiphany.  The ball was released, Gideon had a rush of triumph-seeking blood and tried the most improbable overhead imaginable. It came closer to killing next doors cat than hitting the goal - hey ho.  The half progressed into the latter minutes, the game was held up as all balls were lost and a few players had to go on a mooch.  2 balls were in gardens, 2 in the brambles, 1 in the trees at the back of the dug-outs.  The game soon resumed, I spied a man with a warm drink in his hand and yearned for the break.  Before I could ponder the world of PG or the heady zeniths of Mount Typhoo I saw Alt have two more surges.  The first ended in a shot that skimmed inches wide of the upright, the second finished in a free-kick that was belted in, parried by the keeper and followed up by the keen Swift who bagged the 2nd of the night right on the call for half-time.  It was a harsh blow for a team who had done well to cling on but, at the end of the day, it was a fully deserved scoreline.

Half-time, a mist fell over the eyes, I wandered in pre-programmed fashion to the clubhouse, there to be informed that milk had been acquired and tea was available - I purchased 3 cups, film evidence may later prove that a trio of non-league onlookers had been baptised in sweetened waters of tan - God bless the great British drink.

Back to the touchline, the game was soon back underway, a rough and tumble start was had, Coley was being mightily competent for the guests except when he found space, sprinted away and picked his target only to push the ball agonisingly wide - it was a marks-mans misfire, time to reload sir.  More bustle, a few emboldened tackles and then, after a delay for an injury a cross for Altrincham.  The kick came in was pumped out by a desperate defensive header, another cross followed and Scanlan finalised with a very poor header.  Within a fraction another sortie at The Town's back pack came, a cross eventually found Coley who poked out a toe and made minimal contact.  Time stood still, the ball trickled towards the goal and kissed the inside of the net and left the home team heads hanging.  From here one expected a dam to burst and raging waters of success to foam over and drown Denton's desire.  A knife-through butter move could have exacerbated the situation and sent them reaching for the life-jackets but the end shot was wild, The home lads stayed afloat - just.  

The skies now grew leaden, night was advancing with chilled breath as well as the threat of precipitation.  Coley still glowed, worked the flanks, put in a peach of a cross for No 2 (Lloyd Bannister) to gather and have time to set his sights.  The shot went off target, another poor finish to say the least.  Free-kicks followed at each end of the pitch, deliveries were average, end touches below the expectation level, into the dog ends we travelled.  From here, despite the scoreline and the repetitive pressure, Denton Town showed a sound resilience that kept things on the cusp of half-decent.  Towards the last Altrincham had a few more attacks, the final one seeing Davis latch onto a quick pass, shoot and force the keeper to sprawl and save.  A corner was given, the ball came and went out and a shot rattled the bar before the whistle ordered the end of matters.  The players left the turf, the game was only destined to go one way and Altrincham always looked to have too much in the tank and were sharper throughout.  Man of the Match for me goes to their No 9 (Reece Coley) who, has an abundance of skill, an overspill of good pace and an eagerness to work forward and create many a glowing chance.  On another night he could have bagged 3 or 4 goals instead of the lone strike - one to watch for sure.

FINAL THOUGHT - There is something earthy, DIY and very, very real about what is going on at Denton Town FC and the struggle to stay above the surface is there for all to see.  Tonight one man ran himself ragged, the team turned up and dug in and a few heads came and watched what was a pretty one-sided affair with Altrincham FC looking to be the more coordinated and well structured team who seem destined to stay at the top of the Cheshire League table from here on in and make much misery for many teams along the way.  They have one or two players who really catch the eye with some who graft and graft and keep things perpetually moving.  My heart though is forever with the underdog and for me Denton are worthy of more support throughout the year.  I like their approach, attitude and the fact that, even though their arses were against the wall tonight, they battled to the death and showed enough potential on which to build.  They are a physical yet fair outfit and with a bit more space used and general organisation in the ranks they can climb from the second-bottom slot and get due reward for their tenacity - here's hoping.  My travels around the North-West keep me busy but I'll be back here several times this campaign, I hope a few who are reading this can make the effort too and if you do, bring some fucking milk.

Tuesday, 28 August 2018

WYTHERING HEIGHTS OF A MINOR KIND

27th August 2018 - Wythenshawe Amateurs 1 v 0 Cheadle Heath Nomads - Today the report takes a title similar to that emotive gothic novel penned by the the textual manipulating genius that was Emily Bronte.  Of course Kate Bush should get a mentioned too as well as that back street artiste who did a cover version of the famed ditty, Kate Thrush - this latter warbler offered aftershow introductions that saw many a gullible man pay a visit to the pox doctor the day after and end up on a 6 month course of antibiotics and repeat applications of penis petrol to burn off the sores - I'll stick to the novel thank you very much.  So, after an early start, a local wander looking for fungi with my good lady (38 species named and shamed) I arrived at the ground wondering what the upshot would be.  I saw the guests at the weekend and they played a game that was a 50% surge, 50% struggle - would today be a manifestation of strong attacking gales that would indeed make for Wuthering Heights or would we see a team offer up only a mere restrained fart and end up labelled as Withering Shites - it was time to bounce back, I had no doubts they could do it.  This was my first viewing of the hosts, I was hoping they could turn on the style today and make for a fascinating footballing affair - I love the sensation of pre-match hope.  As per, I met up with STP Stu, we slurped tea, chose a spot, wagged the jaw with a few faces and in the tic of a fidgets face, the match was underway.

Wythenshawe came out quicker than David Pleat's pecker in a red light zone and a swift ball saw No 9 (Edward Moran) belt and pound the underside of the bar.  The ball flew outward instead of inward, a very unlucky moment for the striker involved.  Despite the lengthy turf both teams went on from this early hair-raiser to pass with pace and use good off the ball movement.  It was a long ball however that brought the next hint at excitement when the Nomads No 4 (Ashley Crank) found the ever willing No 9 (Richard Tindall) who fought hard and earned his side a gratis-dig.  The ball in was decent, the home rear pack dealt with it as several offensive heads tried to make contact.  The guests were perhaps just shading matters during the opening moment but the Wythy lads were no mugs and soaked up any threat and always looked dangerous when in possession.  A shot and turn by the Blue and White clad No 8 (David Wright) brought a corner kick, the ball that came in was elevated in the extreme but the Nomads made hard work of clearing their lines, stuck at matters and eventually regrouped.  The game was on a knife-edge, both units seemed to be on the brink of a punishing move with a regulated and controlled momentum working through each rank.  It was the odd stray pass that was negating the potential, but action soon came at each end with the Nomad keeper (Aaron Tyrer) down quick to parry a firm low cross and the guest No 11 (Stephen Kirby) unfortunate to see his rapid cross miss the carcass of the in-rushing Tindall.

Cheadle now put a really impressive move together with Kirby to No 7 (Kayle Power) who crossed and saw the defense only just impede before No 2 (Craig Coates) put in a fine ball for No 6 (Isaac Graham) just fail to make concrete contact with.  A corner was semi-salvation but the effort was finalised by a Tindall shot that was easily saved.  From here both teams worked the turf, they battled and perspired to make that all so crucial opening but discipline at the rear remained in the ascendancy.  From out of a somewhat bustling period a coming together between No 7 (William Ahern) for the home lads and Graham for the visitors saw heads come together but not in a Billy Goat Gruff style, just in a push and snarl kind of way.  The letter of the law was adhered to, the Wythenshawe lad got a booking, the Nomad was sent walking, it was a careless moment but the team one man down put immediate pressure on their opponents only to disappointingly came up short at the very last.  Wright for the Amateurs had a turn and crack before the half-time call but the ball fizzed across the face of goal and was duly kicked clear. We were soon heading for a cuppa, it had been a ruddy intriguing first 45.

As me and Stu pootled for a cuppa I was sidetracked and wagged the jaw with a Nomad member.  My good mate supplied me with a warm beverage soon after and we returned to our spot, clueless as to how this would end up.  The visiting tribe had it all to do.  Pete, the guy I mentioned in the previous report, had been with us for the first half, for the second he had wandered to a corner where several trees were standing.  I thought it was in case it rained that he went to this sheltered spot, little did I know that he was going to climb up on high and start sniffing glue - I can't fault it!

No 10 (James Green) came out for the second half full of gusto, he sprinted forth, had a shot and was thwarted by a very alert mittman.  Within seconds a free-kick for Wythy was had, the ball was cracked in by Green, Ahern slid forth like a shaven arsed gibbon across a shit-varnished billiard table (darn these hallucinogenics) and brought up the first and highly crucial strike of the game.  It was a swift and decisive assault, the Nomadic lads were left reeling but fought from the trenches like worthy troopers and from here on in put up a stubborn resistance that they should be proud of.  A tetchiness was manifesting itself, especially in the Cheadle ranks due to the constant barrage they were now under.  Corners, free-kicks and the kitchen taps (no not the sink, things weren't that bad as yet) came, Cheadle displayed resilience and fortitude, they made sure the 3 points were still there for the taking, much to the admiration of those on the touchline.  Wythenshawe kept their heads though, stayed disciplined and found space for No 11 (Jordan Burton) to sizzle the tips of the travelling keeper who did just enough to tip the ball onto the bar.  Fortune favoured the gloved one and from here the Nomads had a bout of spirited play that saw several crosses come and then No 8 (Phillip Yuille) let fly with a hum-dinging howitzer that buzzed over the horizontal.    Wythenshawe came on but Cheadle were on a roll and when a corner came, a nut down saw the ball run free which could have gone anywhere.  Alas for the guests it was dealt with, a break came soon after, No 17 (Patrick O'Brien) fled the pack, Yuille was hot on his tail.  The gallop charged close to the box, contact was made - the unfortunate Yuille was sent for an early bath, Wythenshawe had a free-kick with the resultant fizzer tipped over.  The game, as a contest, was now dead, the last minutes ticked away and the referee made sure the game went the way of the hosts.  It had been a gritty contest, full of effort and steaming passion, Man of the Match goes to Wythenshawe Amateurs No 6 (Richard Gresty) who shone from the melee like a buffed up pimple on the posterior of a an acne-infested buffalo.  His communication, calmness under pressure and downright discipline is a lesson for many, he put in a very good 90 minutes work too with his peepers always on the ball - I always respect that kind of play.  So homeward bound I went, the game had kept me enthralled, I reckon several returns are a certainty, here is to the next one.

FINAL THOUGHT - What we had today was a very competitive affair with 2 new teams to the league striving to maintain momentum and keep early promise aglow.  Of course matters were marred by the 2 sendings off but Cheadle Heath Nomads should be proud of their reaction and if anything should be used as an example of what can be achieved by hard work.   As per, several players worked their arses off and set a lofty standard for others to keep up with, No 10 (Terence Butler) a choice representative to back up these observations.  Wythenshawe Amateurs are a decent squad who play with consideration before pouncing forth in the hope of gaining triumph.  From front to back there are no weak points and today it was only a matter of relying on a ball over the top a little too often that hindered many advances.  They will do alright for themselves this year and with a charge of £3 on the gate, a good clubhouse and a decent crowd (252 in attendance today) they can only go from strength to strength.  It was a very good day out all round, I even found a couple of fungus prior to the match (Mycena galopus and Marasmius oreades for the curious) so what more could I ask for.  Well, perhaps more goals, a leather sofa to watch the match from, free bottles of QC sherry throughout the game and a nude midget show at half-time to keep one intrigued, one can hope but hey, get down to this ground folks and enjoy - they do what they do mighty well, the Fungal One shall return.

Saturday, 25 August 2018

TOP TWO TUSSLE

25th August 2018 - Cheadle Heath Nomads 2 v 3 New Mills - A morning shrooming at Etherow CP (50 + species named and shamed) was carried out before a quick change was had and I arrived at The Nomads ground in plenty of time to swill tea and wag the mandible.  A productive week had been spent identifying many species from the natural world, taking 2 lots of Young Carers out and about to a couple of farms and decorating the kitchen which was getting there, albeit rather slowly.  I had got through a recent anxiety spell and come out the other end and was trying my best to maintain a balance where the head stayed positive and the body followed suit.  Despite hearing that one of my best friends lost a testicle in a fracas with a one eyed midget and that my next door neighbour had damaged his stomach drinking pickle juice I was feeling in pretty fine fettle.  This match looked a tasty prospect, an early season thriller that could further propel one team off the springboard of hope and deeper into the waters of potential success.  It could also throw a stinking turd under one teams wheels of good fortune, send them arse over tit and knock their conkers of confidence for six - oh what sweet ingredients for we onlookers.  So gossip done, position taken with my mate STP Stu and Mamma Mia, here  we go again!  I did identify Meripilus giganteus and Conocybe apala whilst walking to the stands - and a Sparrowhawk was seen during the first half - tis all good stuff.

The match started with the hosts displaying the greater hunger early on as well as exhibiting good pep in the chugging engine.  Despite this the guests had the first foray forward with 2 honey kissed passes followed by a shot that was deflected over.  The corner was barren.  The Miller's seemed intent on using the angled long ball but time and again Cheadle mopped up and keen chasers were lacking.  No 3 (Jack Benson) put a temporary halt to the growing tide with a eye-catching run that ended in a short dissecting pass that was marred by an offside run.  2 corners followed at the other end the second of which was nearly nutted home by the predatory No 7 (Jake Bates) who missed the globe by mere millmetres.  Cheadle collected themselves, Benson took down a goal kick on his chest, went on a run that was laden with purpose and put the ball through with No 9 (Richard Tindall) eventually getting to grips with matters, having a peek at goal and cracking home like a well-seasoned striker.  Perhaps this goal was against the grain somewhat but the game needed it, the top spot was still up for grabs.

Cheadle carried on from here with a good work ethic.  Tindall was in again chasing a ball but this time accidentally clobbering the keeper who came and did enough to quell the chance. The game, as a contest, was well-balanced, both teams looked capable of grabbing the next strike but the Nomads were unfortunate not to double their lead when Tindall played out to No 6 (Isaac Graham) who lobbed in a cross that hit the post off keeper's back and somehow ended up in the lucky mitter's hands.  From here it seemed New Mills ran out of ideas and were forced onto the back foot.  No 11 (Liam Millen) for the home lads was trying a few neat touches, Tindall was putting in the usual stint and was beaten to the ball at the last by an unfazed keeper. The best the Millers could summon was a brief bout of in-box ping pong that was cleared by the home defense albeit in unorthodox fashion.  The lead should have been doubled soon after when Tindall was in again and from a few feet out put the ball over the bar - it was like the Elephant Man's privates as seen through a telescope - a shocking sight to behold.  With these thoughts of gibbose gonads in my mind I saw the Millers break with pace, the Nomads pack get back into position with high urgency and the final ball in be void of eager runners - 3 reasons that highlighted why the scoreline was as it was - half-time work was needed for the travellers.  One more long ball came at the host's goal, the keeper let it run and was nearly dipped in hot water with a smattering of shit - luckily he recovered and the half was soon done.

A wander, a cup of tea, a walk back and a catch up with Abbey Hey Fan Pete. A nice gent who likes his non-league as well as his tattoo's of naked celebrities.  His latest addition was a full frontal effort on his inner arm of none other than Norman Vaughan (ex-Golden Shot presenter) - I feigned interest, he is now saving funds for a rear pose of Robert Robinson - it may be a form of madness.

The second half came, it was evenly contested until The Millers upped the ante and after a blocked shot the loose ball was pounced upon by No 10 (Jordan Milne) who had one look and thumped. The bottom corner was found, it was the perfect start, where the hell would this one end up was anyone's guess!  The guests came again, No 9 (Aaron Dwyer) was tussling, a penalty claim was had, a corner given that came and was nutted wide.  More corners followed, the Nomads were shaken, the Millers stirred, No 3 (Jack McConnell) advanced and shot - unlike the accuracy of Jame Bond's Walther PPK, the result off target.  Dwyer came on again, a shimmy, a shake, a shot into the outside of the netting.  In return the Nomads worked hard to build and win a corner, the delivery was certainly a cause for death by firing squad - or perhaps I am being too harsh, it was a ruddy stinker though and in these desperate times more was needed.  At the other end a free-kick was nutted back and No 11 (Jordan Pendlebury) did well to make contact and was unlucky just to hit the top of the bar - another reprieve for the Cheadle chaps, they were playing with fire and fingers were't going to be burnt if care wasn't taken - remember - Charley says.....  

As time progressed the hosts were being molested and mauled by a worked up New Mills unit. The visitors came once more, Milne ran with focus, put a ball through that was touched on to Dwyer.  The striker was pushed wide, he persisted and perspired and shot from the angle - the mesh rippled, somehow a goal had been got and what just reward for some real determined play.  Moments later, Pendlebury was in, he had a chance to bury but the home mitter (Aaron Tyrer) was quick to react and pulled off a tip-top save.  Two shots came towards the opposite goal, No 5 (Joseph Armstrong) was resolute in his rearguard duties and blocked both  efforts - fine work.  The match now wound down, Dwyer had a crack from a free-kick that the keeper read well but soon after a pilfering took place, a ball was played through to Dwyer who cracked home with aplomb and cemented a firm lead for his side and a solid brace of goals for his hard-working self.  The time now drained away, Cheadle tried to force matters, a free-kick was poor, and then I thought another free-kick had been awarded.  Wrong, a penalty was the outcome and No 7 (Kayle Power) stepped up, slotted home and put doubt in the minds of all those who thought the match was done.  Alas for the hosts, after a bit of scrappy play the game was finished, it had been a good 'un, one of two halves and from the pack of players my Man of the Match goes to No 9 (Aaron Dwyer) of New Mills for never giving up the ghost, keeping in control of his emotions and the ball and scoring two well-deserved goals out of almost nothing. Keep the head down, work hard and there will be many more to come squire.  Farewells were had, a team-sheet obtained, 5 goals for a fiver - bargain.

FINAL THOUGHT - This was an example of a game of two halves if ever I saw one. Cheadle Heath Nomads could have had the game done and dusted by half time if that one goal lead and much possession could have been built on and the lack of cohesion in the New Mills ranks well and truly punished.  A lesson to be learnt, go for the jugular when your prey is wounded and make sure a full 90 minute consistency and work rate is had no matter which way the flow is going. New Mills showed good resilience today and when under the cosh they stayed calm, rode the storm and did enough to go into the break one goal down and have time to regroup.  The second half performance was akin to the eyes of Benny Hill during a Hot Gossip routine (full of desire) and similar to the love-life of Liberace (a balls out affair).  This kind of belief and never-say-die attitude will serve them well but I think both teams will do OK during the coming months as long as they run themselves into the ground and don't get too down when the ball is not rolling fair.  A pleasure to be back at this new, improved ground, something tells me Cheadle Heath Nomads will be my most watched team this season - and why not - The Millers will be getting due attention too - as per, tha' gotta be fair!