Tuesday 16 January 2024


14th January 2024 - Maine Road 3 v 1 Alsager Town - Another match report - what am I thinking of?  I am in the midst of a busy period (as always) and have been art and abart nearly every day of the new year and have a run of Fungalised gigs coming up to test the resolve of the most ardent punk bastard.  After a morn of mooching around a local cemetery for fungi and birds, a trip into Chorlton followed where a coffee was swilled and a bookshop visited (with several tomes purchased). Me and the missus did a quick spot of veggie shopping and soon after arrived at the ground clemmed and fagged.  My missus didn't fancy a brew though and indulged in a recently purchased veggie pasty whilst I had a minor slip from my diet and had a warm pie and a sugar laden coffee (by heck it went down a treat).  On the touchline we went, nattered and greeted fellow keen onlooker Darren Duffy.  Darren's son Tommy plays for Maine Road and so it is only decent that Dad does the duties.  Today the said gent had come armed with a camera, one I found out he was using to take shots of players taking a leak in the hope of creating a new jazz mag known as 'Non League Nobs'.  On a cold day such as this I reckoned the loon of the lens was hopeful but he showed me a few snaps that showed what a good rub down with 'deep heat' can do.  I was appalled and yet intrigued but was assured that a prison sentence would soon be on the cards for this perverse entrepreneur. My missus averted her eyes from the exposed pics which was just as well, she is a delicate soul and to be fair, why would she want to gaze at shriveled scraps when she can witness some prime steak anytime she wants to (apologies for any exaggeration here, perhaps a past its sell-by date chicken wing would be more apt).  Anyway, too the match, and here are my usual observations done for the sheer love of the game.

Kick off, no sooner had I licked my ballpoint (ooh err) than No 11 (Yousif Yousif) for The Road was on the globe, making a sweet move and threading a choice pass.  No 7 (Declan Hacking) collected and had a poke at the meshing, the outcome was just wide but No 10 (Oliver Lomas) gathered from a tight angle and crossed for Hacking to step up and guide home - 1 - 0 - and with the conkers not fully warmed this was a right welcome heat generator I can tell ya.

Alsager now looked to get their noggins together, gather up their gonads and gain a foothold.  A penalty shout was hopeful, the sable clad gent in charge was having none of it and the Bullets had to reload and keep up the applaudable response.  Another push from the guests attracted the attention of the peepers, No 10 (Jordan Cobley) gained possession, had a glimpse of goal and put his shot shy of the target zone, it should have been on target at least.  The Road responded, No 9 (Mohammed Samb) fed Lomas, a cross came, the keeper did well to quell some serious danger.

This was a good game of football, Alsager were hanging in but struggling with the on-the-deck sorties that the hosts were cultivating over and over again.  A surge by the Blues saw a ball enter the box and Yousif attempt to side-foot home with a defender doing well to block any penetration.  Alsager were under the cosh but looked to relieve matters with a long hopeful ball. A head met the plummeting sphere, over the keeper it went but the home No 6 (James Perry) was there to collect.  Alas a dawdle on the ball was punished, No 7 (Ryan Jackson) gained ownership and sent the ball homeward - 1 - 1 - a real surprise to be fair.

The Bullets now upped the ante, Maine Road had to gallop like gibbons with the shits - Lomas was a pivotal component and working up a fair lather.  A free-kick was eventually earned by the home lads. The ball was hit with ideal height and pace with the guest keeper reaching and hoping to pluck it from the sky like a multi-jointed chameleon catching a passing arse wasp.  The spherical object was missed by the mitted man, No 8 (Jack Wray) was prowling at the back post like a canine-loving pervert around a lamppost and duly guided the ball home to regain his side the lead.  A nice finish if ever I saw one.Alsager responded, the home defending was rather poxy with a shot allowed but getting deflected wide. The corner came, was dealt with in the most unruly fashion and a breakaway charge ensued.  Samb beat his marker, put the ball to Hacking who in turn supplied Lomas who was brave enough to have a first time punt.  The result was an effort just a little off target - a shame as that would have been some goal. The follow-up to this was a liquid advancement by the hosts, Yousif supplied Wray, ball in, out, No 4 (Oscar Campbell) had a pop but his own player was in the way - cripes.

Prior to the break Alsager had a couple of bonus bootings that led to fuck all, the weather started to turn to crud and an Alsager fan nearby sneezed and both his eyes left his head and landed in my lap.  I pocketed one, you never know when an extra peeper can come in handy.

We stayed put for the break and had a quick snack.  Corrupt click-o-matic man Duffy mithered a couple of folk and duly sold some old glossy snaps of Goalkeeping Gonads of the 1920's.  The camera work was rather sketchy but one could still make out the important bits with the use of pebble-glasses and a vivid imagination.  Who knew Dixie Dean had a U-bend in his todger - fascinating!

Half two began with the drizzle falling and the murk building.  The initial gaspings were rather scrappy with little in the way of arousing action to report until Hacking for the hosts dashed with purpose with the bonce down and the pins pedalling. Hope rose but the visiting No 14 (Lewis Porter) had other ideas when he put in a solid tackle that led to a corner.  The angled hoof was played short, 2 passes followed and another corner conceded. This time the ball entered the box, the keeper fisted well and a free-kick came and went as did another kick from the sharp end of the pitch.  Pressure rose, a break for Alsager was halted, and another high hopeful Bullet-boot was this time gathered by a very grateful mitter.

Alsager continued to build, a corner saw Porter's header stray just off the mark and then after a bad Road pass at the back a player snaffled the ball and shot but the outcome was disappointingly off target.  Time hammered on, we entered the last 20 with a penalty claim had for the resident ranks when No 14 (Ben Mooney) was clumsily tumbled in the box.  The decision was 'no pen' for me the referee got it wrong.  A great chance soon came the same way next though when No 12 (Louis Edwards) was left to bulge the netting.  The shot was skewed, the loose ball not buried but moments later Samb raced for the ball with the keeper, the stray globe was connected with by the striker and the score line read 3 - 1 to the Blues.

Matters now went to and fro with no real incisive action had.  Half chances came as both teams continued to look for a goal with Alsager coming close right at the death when a peg made a good connection in the midst of some in-box mayhem but the No 1 (Oliver Brockbank) put in a good save to keep his team two goals to the good.  The referee blew up (not literally of course, that would be just horrific) soon after and I was left to contemplate the Man of the Match.  My choice was difficult, there had been some good home stints today but I thought the blue clad No 2 (David Durant) worked well on and off the ball, communicated well and was a strong component in an improved Maine Road team.  Homeward we went prior to the night's gigging - I was already fagged but the game had been a good un' with a solid home win bagged.

FINAL THOUGHTS - And so to my end summary with Alsager Town something of a disappointment today and seemingly lacking that killer punch.  They play a good organised system, they seem to have many options but they struggle when a team runs at them and works hard off the ball.  After a recent 5 - 0 drubbing of Cheadle Heath Nomads I expected more today but perhaps it was just one of those and Maine Road did enough to keep them unsettled.  The home team certainly are looking more of a unit and really use more of the playing area than recent outings.  With a new management team and an 100% win record (well, 2 out of 2 so far) the momentum has got to be built upon.  The lads are in a league where a good run of wins can really put them in with the movers and shakers and away from the sinking and quakers.  Looking ahead there are some very winnable games coming up with a good test away at Ashville at the end of Feb.  Who knows what is in store, one thing is for certain, I will be at quite a few of the games and enjoying what transpires.  You never know, if I play my cards right I may be the next centre spread in the 'Duffy's Donglers' mag - ooh I best get my bottle of Dr Stiffy Cream out!

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