14th January 2023 - Wythenshawe Amateurs 2 v 1 Cammell Laird 1907 - The first week back at work has been done, I woke up rather shagged out today and set about a few chores with vulgarities liberally mumbled whilst the grey skies outside threatened to piss on any footballing entertainment. Thankfully news came through that the Wythy groundsmen and been seen to be 'forking about' rather than the crude and wasteful alternative, and duly saved the day. Game on it was with a 2pm kick off giving one the chance of being back home to watch the last episodes of 'Four in a Bed' - 'ooh just look at that shit round the basin', 'ooh look at those pubes in me sausages', 'by heck someone's took a dump in my pillow' - etc etc - as if! So, with an injection of zest I cracked on, got dressed and threw down some scran (aah a good bowl of Shreddies and 2 salmon paste butties, the true blessed source of nutrients) and was duly dropped off by my good lady who then went and attended to her struggling mum. STP Stu was in attendance again, as were our mates Gareth and Sandra. We purchased a brew and took up the viewing positions, we all committed ourselves to an home win, but as per, as long as it was a good game, played in the right spirit, with plenty of goals of course, that will do for us. My mate Malcolm was along for the ride, he had brought a bottle of Croft Original Sherry which he duly shared - very kind indeed.
The game began with the air nipping at one's nethers, Wythy Ams fought off the cold with a couple of early attacks, the latter of which saw No 9 (Saul Henderson) finalise with an angled shot that the mittman did well to push wide. The corner led to an infringement and so banished all hopes of an early breakthrough. The guests breathed a sigh of relief but no sooner had they got back into position than No 3 (Declan Lamb) dashed forth, fed Henderson who duly shimmied, shook, shot and found the net with comparative ease.
From here we witnessed a smattering of argy-bargy, the issuing of a yellow card and a tension creep in to matters. Wythy came on, a corner saw Henderson put bonce on ball only to see his effort cleared off the line. The hosts were in control, the Cammell Laird lads certainly needed to settle. The guests eventually won a gratis gift from much scrappy play. No 2 (Ben Kerr) delivered with No 9 (Kieran Hamm) on it, shooting and forcing the home No 1(Kyle Haslam) to produce a sound save. A corner followed, in box madness ensued with shots and flying feet coming and keeping the touchline viewers all agog. A corner was the result, the keeper palmed away the posted globe and Wythy broke with the final outcome being a bout of frenzied action and then Henderson firing a shot that clattered the inside of the post.
From here the hosts remained on top, No 10 (Bryan Ly) was a thorn in the oppositions side but just lacked the killer instinct and when the ball was put in the Laird net on two occasions, the resident onlookers and home bench were rather miffed to see the liner's flag flapping in the breeze. The hectic pace continued but without control, although one butter-smooth move by The Laird nearly resulted in a goal when No 11 (Kalif Koura) had a pop at the apex but could only find the side netting. The half ended soon after with some pushing and shoving and another yellow card issued. Oh the daft buggers.
For the break Gareth and Sandra kindly provided the brews, myself and Stu nattered away and young Malcolm had a slurp of his sherry. Thankfully the knitted sot left enough for me and my mate to share - it was a sanguine drink that counterbalanced the inclement climate and brought some benevolent warmth to the old lower fundament - hiccup.
The Laird came out sharply with the game still very much in the balance. The blue clad resident ranks stood firm and the next shots that came at goal went their way with No 7 (Kieran Curtis) taking aim and propelling forth a shot that was weaker than the urine of a water-soaked Stickleback, Ly had a punt soon after and gave the ball a little more welly, but the keeper saved well and from the corner sour bugger all was borne.
The CL crew reacted. Koura and No 15 (Kyle Ogiogu) linked up well, No 10 (Ryan Smith) was fed but belted the air-filled bag way over the bar. Wythy came on again, more shots followed, the best of which was via the tootsie of No 11 (Edward Brown) who asked questions of the keeper (David Potter) who, in turn, provided the answers with a superb one-handed save. The hosts continued to probe like a gynaecologist looking for a clitoral wart (dirty blighter). Curtis and No 2 (Christopher Howard) joined forces, a cross came, the guest No 4 (Daniel Stephens) stretched a shank and stopped the ball from being buried. No 8 (Samuel Adewusi) had a shot soon after, the visiting stickman collected and dropped but before he was punished he duly gobbled up the loose globe.
Suddenly the Laird mesh protector launched a long ball, No 3 (Richard Wincer) gathered at the far end of the pitch, lobbed the home gloved guardian and bagged a simple, but effective, equaliser. This was now anyone's game.
The Laird came again, No 14 (Cameron McGregor) let fly a long shot with the keeper saving late. From the angled kick a header was put over the bar and then the hosts started to push. A few threatening waves came but crashed into nothingness against the CL backline. Alas it was only temporary respite for the travellers with No 4 (Charles Duke) given time to look and cross and put in a teasing ball that Brown connected with and nutted home.
From here it was a chicken run of incessancy, alas most of the chickens were headless and composure was sincerely lacking. Brown for WA was still darting around and almost got his just deserts when a lost cause was chased and nearly deflected home from a goalkeeping hoof. At the other end and a pressing Wincer missed a volley, recovered the ball with sheer hard work, put in a tempting cross that saw no takers waiting. Late on and a shot at the CL goal saw another quality save had and then the Laird have a late attack, cause a moment of panic but not get the all important killer touch. The game was halted soon after, despite the hosts scrambling home for me, the Man of the Match goes to Cammell Laird's No 11 (Kalif Koura) for sheer selfless industry, an ability to trap the ball and release with almost perfect success and a head's down approach that will surely see him move on to better things.
And so we were done, we all headed home slightly chilled but happy we got out and supported two Non-League teams and their endeavours - next stop for me is Lobster FC v Melling United - in this weather my conkers may end up as blue as the lobster's privates.
FINAL THOUGHTS - Cammell Laird came up against one of the leagues best sides and were unlucky not to grab a point. They have a good battling attitude but are too keen to gripe rather than let the ball do the talking. The release balls from midfield need working on so the wannabe assassins up front get the maximum feed and can hopefully do what they are asked to do. The team are dabbling with the drop though and really do need to get to grips with matters pretty soon, there is potential but potential without points is indeed...pointless. Wythenshawe Amateurs are pushing for automatic promotion but on today's evidence a play-off spot awaits. Their main rivals are doing the business and looking well-oiled whereas WA stuttered through this one and in truth, nearly dropped two points along the way. At the knuckle-end of the season no game will be a gimme and so all players need to be sharp and well-versed in one another's game. My fingers are crossed that the team can keep things rolling, as the season unfolds all will be revealed. Right now for a good serving of Lobster! Malc - get the sherry ready!