Audlem Football club kicked off their Crewe Regional Sunday Football League Division One season in style with a comfortable 4-0 win at home to White Horse of Nantwich.
Before the game, 23 players put their name forward for selection. With only 16 places up for grabs, the chosen squad went into the match knowing competition for places was high, and delivered with style.
The game started scrappily, with both teams struggling to move the ball easily on the grassy pitch and muggy conditions. It was Audlem who struck on 12 minute with the first real chance of the game. Sam Mason played the ball to Nick Gregory 25 yards from goal, and his low, scuffed effort somehow found a way past the visitors' goal keeper.
The home side started to turn the screw and create good opportunities. Ben Walker went clean through and after his first shot was well saved, couldn't react quickly enough to put in the rebound. Dan Rooney tried from distance, again bringing a decent stop from the visiting keeper. After a good passing move from front to back, the ball broke for Nick Gregory who couldn't keep his effort down.
Audlem were dominating the play, and their passing and movement was too much for the visitors. The deserved second finally came in the 35th minute. Will Cork lost the ball in the tackle and it broke for Nick Gregory on his weaker right foot, who swivelled and smashed it into the top corner from the edge of the penalty area.
Just before half time, the visitors were reduced to ten men. Shea Bebbington and former Audlem man Paul Bowker wrestled for possession on halfway with Bowker catching Shea in the face with his hand. Despite protest from both sides, Bowker received his marching orders.
Half time -- Audlem 2-0 White Horse
Although down to ten men, White Horse produced their best spell in the opening minutes of the second half. After forcing a corner, a decent passing move left their striker unmarked in front of goal, but he fluffed his shot straight at Connor Baxter in the Audlem goal.
On a hot day, the tempo of the game started to drop, but Audlem took back control of the match. Gaps opened up across midfield allowing Will Cork, Sam Mason and Cameron Rodgers to take advantage to dictate play. Chances came and went. Nick Gregory fired straight at the keeper when clean through, and minutes later fired over from an angle.
As the visitors started to tire, Audlem were able to bring on substitutes to maintain their dominance, and the game was put to bed with 18 minutes left. From a free kick to the left of the White Horse penalty area, Kev Rodgers played the ball to Will Cork who held off a couple of challenges to rifle a low effort through a crowd of bodies and into the White Horse net.
There was still enough time for Audlem to grab a stylish fourth. A beautiful lofted ball from Cameron Rodgers was latched onto by Nick Gregory. He exchanged a one-two with Seb Burrows before smashing the ball home from just inside the area to complete a well deserved hat-trick.
Audlem managed the game out professionally to take a richly deserved three points. Man of the match to Cameron Rodgers for dominating the right hand side with never ending energy.
Full time -- Audlem 4-0 White Horse
Audlem play at home in the league again on Sunday 17th September versus Princes Feathers.
Audlem FC Manager