By Ralph Warburton - 26th August 2013 6:03am
August 25th and we face our first league match in the new league we are now members of, The Crewe Region Sunday Football League — affiliated to the FA. The big Boys!
Off we drive to King George's Playing Fields in Coppenhall. In spite of the fact that we have
close on 30 players signed on, with a good number of young players, our manager is again faced with a choice so limlted — a situation not the best way to be faced with for a game against a very experienced side.
Our opponents are F C Semtex, well known for their winning ways and their toughness.
The word on the street was that we would be taken in, chewed up and then spat out — with a
predicted score line well into double figures for them.
So, in our now home strip of orange we take to the field. Under a lowering wet sugar sky
with a breeze across the pitch. No sun. Cool at just 15c.
Geoff Stretch picks his team from just 16 players. We are allowed to name 5 subs but can only play three. New young players being blooded for AFC are Connor Baxter in goal, Joe Benson, Jordan Green and Nick Buckley.
1100 and our referee Darren Barnes blows for kick off. F C Semtex straight into attack after attack and within 5 minutes we are a goal down — but disallowed. Great cross shot and Connor Baxter pulls off superb reflex save.
They pepper our defence with a player named Leroy a real threat. Most of the action is in our half as AFC play poorly. 1st corner to them and followed by a free kick- they score. Time 11.12 and it's 1-0
We are very pedestrian as we try to stem their strong attacks. Sun trying to break through. Trying harder than our attackers are in truth. F C Semtex manager is very voluble in his driving his team on and with good clean language too. A nice sight to see.
11.20 and a melee in their goalmouth and we score — Craig Holding pops it in. So 1-1. Against all the pundits' forecasts.
They respond immediately from the restart and a super 30 yard shot is driven into our
goal. 2-1. 3rd corner to them and our new very fine goalie punches a sure shot away.
11.29 and a very soft, ill defended goal for them. 3-1. Too many of our team are anonymous. We make a subsitution as off comes Alan Brindley and Jamie Bebbibgton on. Attacks by our opponents carries on apace. Connior rushes to get a through ball and their player goes down. Penalty -and Ref. books Connor harshly. But Connor responds and saves the penalty kick.
Half time and in spite of our team being in some disarray, we are only two goals down.
Kick off. Craig Holding off and Joe Benson on for his very first league football. Ref gives free kick right in front of our goal but CB pulls of yet another great save. Kev Rogers, who is having a very quiet game with none of his piercing runs, is fouled badly.
Lots of colourful language by them transpires as tempers rise. Opponents become more and more rattled as they had planned a massacre. "Handbags" between two players as temperature rises. Yet another foul as Kev Rogers taken down again.
We are now defending far better and frustrating them. In this half we are more united as a team with less rubbish passes. 6th corner to them and then Kev Rogers is booked.
12.15 and a well timed tackle by Skipper Kev Mort saves a certain goal.
1220 and out comes the sun, breaking up the grey skies and getting warmer. heading to 21c.
Then Kev Mort concedes a penalty. 4-1. Against the run of things as AFC get better in their play. Kev Rogers off- knackered- and on comes Dan Morris.
A bust up and their skipper thows a punch at Will Ellis — sent off by the Ref. Now playing their ten men but they put on huge fellows as subs. Built like barrage balloons, they can stop anything they meet. Game carries on with lots of passion but in the dying minutes, they score again.
Final score, 5-1. Not the forecast massacre. Man of the martch is Connor Baxter in goal as he for sure saved us from being smashed.
Next four games are all home matches so do come along to support us:
- 30th August versus Faddiley
- 1st September versus Nantwich Young Farmers
- 8th September Cup Tie Versus Crewe Town F C
- 15th September versus Salvador F C
Sunday 16th Feb
Saturday 15th Feb
Scout and Guide Hall