By Ralph Warburton - 11th February 2013 8:56am
Audlem FC versus The Bank Corner of Alsager
A horrid, wet and cold day as we gathered to put up the nets and the corner flags. A very good turnout by the players, giving Geoff Stretch (the manager ) the headache of disappointing those not to be selected.
But, as Geoff stated, he has to pick what he feels is the best team, within his knowledge the one that will hopefully get the result we wish.
So the 11 players get into their strip and out to the pitch. Our opposition team arrive in dribs and drabs — with Referee R Lindsay keen to get the match off as early as possible given the lousy weather. Our team warming up as well as possible as we wait for Bank Coroner. Kick off at 10.55.
And immediately they attack in force . Our team battling right from the start and in just 5 minutes we are a goal down! 0-1! From a very soft header. 5 minutes later and a fierce driving shot by their player Goodwin flashes into our net. 0-2! Is this going to be another day of slaughter?
The pitch is as soggy as a swamp. Players sliding in the muddy surface as the game becomes more fierce. Good corners in by Kev Rogers but not met. We give a better performance as the game swings back and forth.
25 minutes in and a superb goal by Kev Rogers. 1-2 now and heads are high as we give as much as we get. The opposition are a much more experienced team and show this, with very good passing and strong defence.
Rain continues and the pitch is getting worse by the minute. It's like playing on chocolate mousse. A morass — especially in the centre. Bank Corner score again but offside. A Red card for them as Kev Mort is fouled badly, but Kev collects a yellow as well for dissent.
Halftime and we feel good , albeit plastered in mud.
Then, after Rob Lowe — stand-in goalie — pulls off a great save, Bank score a very soft goal. So 1-3. Pete Kulak injures his groin, so off and James Langley on. Rob pulls off good saves as we face heavy attacks. Graig Holding off and James "Ferret" Brookes on.
An attack by Bank Corner results in a corner and they score from it — yet another soft goal.
1-4 now. Then 1-5 as they score again. A real blow, but the Audlem team do not drop their heads, playing now with greater confidence. James Brookes playing well and, despite his slight frame, not afraid to tackle the big Bank fellows.
Attack on their goal results in an own goal. Now 2-5. Kev Walters on replacing Kev Brindley.
Free kick 30 yards out, taken by James Bebbington. He strikes the ball and it sails over the wall and dips beautifully into the top right hand corner of the net. A superb goal. JB has had a very good game and this is the icing on the cake for him. 3-5!!
Then a great run at their goal and James Langley scores a smasher. 4-5. Great feeling as we — and they — play attack after attack . But back they come and score to make it 4-6.
A fracas breaks out — fisticuffs over on the far and muddiest side of the pitch — results in Kev Rogers and Will Ellis (on his first game for us — and one in which he played well ) getting yellows, along with one of the opposition.
Good ball by James Bebbington saved — followed by good strike by "Ferret" Brookes, also saved.
Game over as final whistle blows — The pitch looking like the Somme, a gelatinous mess of slimly mud. Final score 4-6.
A good game with the team playing better, gaining in confidence. Last time we played Bank Corner the score was — 4-6!
My woollen coat sodden from the rain, water dripping off the brim of my hat, freezing fingers — and a soaking note pad. The joys of soccer in Audlem.
Off to our sponsors, the Lord Combermere and their very welcome superb chip butties.
Ralph Warburton Chairman AFC
Saturday 15th Feb
Friday 14th Feb
Scout and Guide Hall