By Ralph Warburton - 1st September 2013 7:36am
Yes. Friday, 30th August. Our very first evening match. And our very first home match of the new season in our new league — The Crewe Regional Sunday Football League.
Our opponents — Faddilley F C.
Pitch in good order with freshly cut grass and markings for which we do pay dearly to Cheshire East. How I long for the day when Audlem owns its own playing field — for the benefit of the village and all the groups and societies who make such good use of such a vital facility.
Referee Carl Betterley is our official — he of the splendid mutton chops looking for all the world as a character out of a Dickens novel. Strict on bad language, we respect this aspect fully.
Changing for the match difficult as we are denied the use of changing rooms in the Public Hall — a wedding being planned and prepared. So our opponents are housed in our manager's (Geoff Stretch) garage whilst we change in his back garden. A necessary make do and mend.
Kick off after team selection made — at 6.18pm. When the sun manages to peek through the gathering cumulus clouds it is warm, but without it a definite autumnal nip in the air. And that sun quite low to the west — over the cemetery, and in the eyes of the spectators but luckily not in those of our goalkeeper Connor Baxter on his 1st home game.
End to end stuff. Ref. had told me that he felt Faddilley was about equal in skill to AFC. We shall see.
Sadly within 12 minutes, we are a goal down! Awful lot of high balls from both teams. A feature repeated ad nauseam throughout the first half. I was at times expecting to see the ball come down — crusted with ice!
Language good. A firm push by James Bebbington gave away a free kick but to no advantage to FFC. Great shot by new player Sam O'Hara but it flies over the bar. Corners aplenty as the match swings back and forth.
Corner for us and great cross by Ash Burroughs is met by a fast direct header — Jordan Green, on his debut for AFC, scores. 1-1. Promise of more to come as we get more and more chances to score. But then , a soft goal in the 43rd minute and we are down 1-2. 30 seconds later and we are down again 1-3.
Ref blows for half time. We went to pieces in those dying moments of the first half.
Second Half: Manager plays a sub. And on comes Jack McClintoch — just arrived from the milking parlour where he had been working.
Game played at a fast pace and thankfully less high balls. Ash Burroughs playing well, but eventually subbed and on comes Joe Benson. Opponents suffer a few injuries from hard tackles. Connor pulls off very good save to deny FFC another goal. Temperature dropping as it gets darker from the heavy piling up of clouds. In my shirt sleeves, I am close to shivering in the cool wind.
A few moments of "handbagging" between players. Jack in a tussle and is called a ....little... by his opponent. Ref. tells player off!
We are playing far better, but then another stupid soft goal and we are down 1-4 in the 65th minute. Then an attack with Jack McC to the fore and — with a slight assist by a defender — he scores. 2-4.
Good crowd of villagers watching us in the chill of the evening. Had it been a cricket match, we would have been taken off for poor light. Happily we have no more night matches.
Next game today at home and kick off at 11.00am Versus Nantwich Young Farmers, who luclkliy were out partying last night which may play well in our favour.
Monday 18th Nov
Audlem Town Hall
Scout & Guide Hall
Hankelow Chapel Community Hall