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So close for Audlem FC!

30th August 2015 @ 6:06am – by Ralph Warburton
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My first match of the season. We did in fact play the first game on the 23rd, but I was travelling back from abroad and as such could not give a report.

Sadly we began our season with a 6-1 drubbing so perhaps it was good not to have witnessed the match (a word which is a misnomer given the score line!)

But, to Friday. An evening kick off – the first of three games in just 5 days. Strange that the league require this of us at the start of the season. So much better to fix later on in the year – but we dance to the master's tune.

Players all had to make considerable effort to get from their workplace and be ready for kick off at 6.00pm. This time was vital as by 8.00pm the light will be poor.

Referee this day is Jason Croft. And we face Betley F C. First time to meet this team as they are new to the league.

Good turn out by AFC with more players signing on. We have 15 players from whom to select the team. Very good for Managers Geoff Stretch and James Bebbington.

A lowering sky, which looks to have rain in its belly, hangs over the trees to the west.Let us hope it does not burst on us. Pitch as hard as iron and still one of the worst in the league with bare goalmouth areas. A light breeze as we kick off.

Very vocal and very fast pace and we are ahead fast in pressing hard. Lots of good play and good passing forces Betley back on their heels. New match ball bright yellow in the dusky light. Cost of these is quite high and a strain on our funds – but vital of course.

First free kick goes to us and Kev Rodger's shot hits the bar! Betley, a good team with lots of young free running players. We continue to press hard as the game hots up. Betley force a corner but no gain to them.

A few spitty spotty bits of rain fall on me as sit here. But gone very quickly. Great shot by Nathan Bell – goes wide. I hesitate to say this – bit we are playing well, and are on top! A corner to us as Nathan is chopped down. Connor Jones fires a fine shot but just over the bar.

Referee Jason Croft controlling play well without histrionics. Scramble in opponents goal mouth but goalie saves. More free kicks to us.

6.40pm Free kick to Betley and this brings out a fine save by Kyle Doughty. Then Andrew Betterley forces his way upfront and scores! Right before the half time whistle. Perfect timing. 1-0!

Second Half

7.00pm. AFC still passing well and pressing hard. Great cross by Kev Mort – our most vocal player as he urges all on – flashes across the front of the goal but no one there to meet it .

Will May off and Dale Bradbury on. Yet another free kick to us – so many for us; a new experience for us. Dave Bebbington is a true tower of strength for us in defence. Kyle in goal playing well with many good saves.

One of the features of this game is the number of very high-in-the-air balls. So much better on the deck and in control. Another sub played as Will Ellis comes on for Connor Jones – groin strain.

Great shot by Alex Carter. Then up steps Andrew B again and slots home his shot. 2-0.

More subbing as Kev Mort comes off and on goes Chris Anderson. I leave my post for a call of nature and blow me down, Betley score: 2-1.

Game getting more frantic as the light gets worse. Then a free kick to Betley. It's the very end of the game and we fall foul yet again to a set piece. They score just before the referee blows up for full time: 2-2.

A game we had in the bag right up to the last minute. Not one booking. Good refereeing. Next game, Sunday away to Crewe F C. Then away again on Tuesday to Alsager F C.

Ralph Warburton
Chairman AFC


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