Monday 4 March 2024


2nd March 2024 - Maine Road 0 v 4 Droylsden FC - Match report 411, I am being very sketchy with my scribblings these last few seasons.  The problem is I am getting old, I am overly busy, my mental health is up and down and I have had enough stress during the past 18 months to make anyone question their sanity and the world around them.  I have set myself many targets this year - if all goes to plan it will be a productive annual adventure, if the head really goes twang then I may end up in Broadmoor for trying to molest a Chinese piglet - stranger things have happened.  

And so, after a morn of 'ifs' and 'buts', some shopping, a coffee and a consideration of the climate, I ended up at Maine Road FC (again), a favoured footy spot and one that usually brings the unexpected.  Upon arrival I paid my dues, purchased the obligatory cuppa and sought a perch away from folk.  I was on my lonesome and prepared to scribble, the pitch looked sticker than the fingers of that thieving bastard Richard Madeley, the ground did indeed look as trustworthy as that tossbag George Galloway and the skies looked greyer than the underwear of old man Steptoe - I expected this to be a mucky affair, I hope both clubs had the Daz Automatic ready!

The teams came out looking all spick and span in their freshly washed kits, after several minutes of play one or two were looking a little worse for wear.  The game started with both teams looking to build some early momentum and despite Droylsden having greater possession it was the hosts who had the first real opportunity with No 11 (Yousif Yousif) receiving, beating his marker and somehow missing the target zone.  For me, this was a real chance, would it come back to haunt the striker?

The Bloods reacted to this, won a free-kick which was followed by some neat interplay and darn quick movement.  The Road stuck to their task and stood firm with a counterpunch coming in the form of a liquid move executed with No 4 (Ben Mooney) a serious integral part and contributing to the corner won.  The angled hoof however had way to much loft to bear any threat, we stayed at sour bugger all for the time being.

Back and forth the ball went, akin to the pendulous testicles of Fatty Fuckwit, the giant man of Gonad Town who once got his left nut trapped on the Snake Pass and brought traffic to a standstill for 8 days (another Fungal fact for you to chew on).  Suddenly the Blooded Buggers broke, No 2 (Anthony Warburton) was let from the traps, he neatly rode a tackle and knocked in a fair cross that No 9 (Joel Ankers) just couldn't keep on target with his awaiting bonce.  Within mere seconds Warburton was away again with another cross executed, the first striker missed but the ball ended up at the feet of No 10 (Shaquille Lewys) who tapped home from all of 3 feet.  They all count, 0 - 1 it was and the game was set.

From here the guests came in several waves, one ending in a wasted corner, another finalised by a shot from No 8 (Caelan Kilheeney) that zoomed over the horizontal. The home Blues pounced next with a quartet of headers won leading to a cross that was gathered by Yousif who instantaneously shot on the turn only to see the sphere immediately blocked by the alert and animate No 5 (Owen Whitehead). From within some in-box mither the Road had a decent claim for handball. The referee looked unimpressed, the game was waved on with a gritty period ensuing.  

From the depths of the grinding momentum Mooney for the home lads ruptured a conker via a good touch and run with the final shot forcing the mitter to produce a top drawer one handed save.  The loose globe was buried by the predatory No 9 (Tyler Devlin) who looked to celebrate.  The liner however waved his flag whilst pissing on the chips of the wannabe goal-grabber (quite a skill in itself don't ya know).

It seemed as though the game was due another strike, likely, it seemed, to come from the Brantingham Road boys.  Alas for the resident ranks a counterpunch came with a ball in the box causing chaos, a half clearance had before a dink back in found the head of Lewys who nutted home from a similar distance to his first - it is all about being in the right place at the right time it seems.

The half had been good value, Maine Road were still in this.  A chance did come when the guest keeper dropped a cross and the goal gaped.  Two home players were indecisive and in each others way and the chance went begging.  The away unit pushed next, Yousif was backed in a corner and worked up a good lather whilst negotiating his way out of trouble and relieving the pressure on his team.  The half ended with great endeavour from both packs. The visiting Lewys displayed good strength, allowing Ankers to shoot on the turn and the home keeper to display a solid hand to deny a third strike.  The corner was shite, Maine Road had one last push and that was that.

I stayed put for the break, there was a good crowd on today and queueing for a coffee is not my bag.  I kept myself entertained during the interval, I drew vile obscenities on the seat where I was sat, set fire to a groundhoppers bag and let go a recently shaved mole that I had been keeping as a pet.  The Mole ran free and quickly began to dig into the squelchy substrate - a few mounds of earth may help the home team today, you see, it is all about forward thinking.

Half two began, the cold had upped its spiteful ante, I was a trifle dithered.  The pen spider-scrawled across my notepad, this is what I deciphered when putting the report online.  

No 7 (Mohammed Samb) for the Road battled well, a ball was posted, a shot came.  No joy was had but another pop at goal immediately followed with the underside of the bar trembled.  The globe was latched onto, the net bulged, Samb was the executor but the goal was disallowed - I have no idea why, I don't think anyone else did either - how strange!

A fractured period came and went, the game ground on without any unit gaining any semblance of ascendancy. A flock of Redwing flew over, a few Ring Necked Parakeets darted by too, all beneath cobalt skies that were becoming more imposing by the minute. The Road seemed undeterred by the threat from above and cultivated a swift surge that saw a player felled and the game continue with the ball buried in the onion bag.  1 - 2 it seemed to be, the referee however made a blooper of magnificent proportions and called the game back to the initial foul.  The 'play-on' advantage was ignored and when the resultant free-kick was hoofed over the bar it seemed Maine Road were destined never to gain a goal on this grim and gloomy day.

The Heavens eventually ruptured, the sleet fell with spite, a Road attack ended with a weak touch by Yousif, now was the time to defy and dig deep, this was a tough test for the hosts with the decisions far from helping matters.  The ball went back and forth, the Bloods mittman cleared one danger ball with his head and then his team strode on, Kilheeney put the ball into the perilous zone, No 4 (Joseph Keyworth) applied a power header that produced a superb save but the loose ball was swiftly buried by Whitehead and in truth, put the game to bed.

The tempo remained high, a few tempers were raised too, the hosts worked hard and put together a few decent moves but only forced the travelling keeper to make one save of any note.  Before the close a high hopeful ball was played by the guests, No 11 (Fuad Kasali) collected, let fly and bagged a real eye-catching zipper that brought up his sides 4th goal and gave the player good reward for a very applaudable stint.  A final shot came for the hosts, the ball went over the bar, I witnessed the final throes and  the Maine Road manager receive a red card after the whistle. I pootled off home perished.

Man of the Match was contemplated whilst trying to get warm when back in the car, No 5 (Owen Whitehead) for Droylsden was the end choice due to a stubborn and simple style of play that saw many chances for the home team quashed and a good reading of the game exhibited. If this kind of consistency is maintained the team are gonna be hard to beat during the rest of the campaign.

FINAL THOUGHTS - A game blemished by a few refereeing errors, a couple of which I am still astounded by.  The fact is though, the game is played with pace, a ref only has one pairs of eyes and even with his liners, he can't keep tabs on everything.  The disallowed goal when play should have continued however was a real stinker - hey ho.  When all is said and done though Droylsden were the better side, showed more diversity of play, used the full width of the pitch and always seem to have that extra option.  There is no doubt the team will be in the play-offs, they will be a tough cookie to crack and I do not envy their opponents one bit.  Maine Road are a better prospect than they were a couple of months ago and are gradually becoming a team that is no pushover.  They have several players who put in 100%, a few tricky teasers in the mix and a keeper who is pretty solid.  The key - attack with gusto, get those sights as sharp as possible and be prepared for a good campaign next season.  The increasing mole-hills should make it a nightmare for any visiting team too.

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