By Ralph Warburton - 2nd December 2013 6:06am
First day of the month. The run up to the 25th and all that goodwill and bonhomie. Perhaps, I think, as I load the car with our kit and set off for the village, some of that spirit will be given to us today as we meet to face the team from The Boot & Shoe for the very first time.
A very, very fine mist in the still air. I drive to the Co-op — now looking more like a store in Uzbekistan as shelves are emptied in readiness for their close down and refit — to buy one of their superb croissants.
Our pitch is well drained and has been slitted to aid this. Our fifth home match in a row, but the field still quite good.
Sadly two loads of fouling by dogs to be cleared away. How I wish I could post such unwelcome and uncaring deposits through the guilty owners letter box.
Referee Jay Croft here again — Army PTI back ground. Calm, no wind, mild but the fine mist still persists. Village strangely quiet as we kick off early.
We are into attacking right away. Team selected by Geoff Stretch and James Bebbington — our management team — includes new signing Jim Davies — from Betley F C. Just 13 players turned up. I wonder to myself where are the rest of the 30 players who signed on at the beginning of the season.
Geoff is sporting a hat and looking for all the world a member of the pop group "Madness".
We play Sam O'Hara and Kev Mort up front, and Joe Overland in his preferred position of left back.
Great ball by Sam O'Hara to Skipper Kev Mort but the keeper saves at his feet. Another great drive by KM and saved. Still the mist falls from such a leaden sky.
First shot by B&S goes wide. Then Connor Baxter pulls off another fine save. He is really growing in stature as a very good keeper, resplendent in his bright yellow top.
Sam up front running at goal but his drive goes over the top into dead ball land. Then B&S drive down the field — fire in a shot that hits the post — phew!
We are playing well and keeping our shape. Good to see. This group of players are fast becoming the nucleus of a settled team. KM and Gaz Jones driving us on with their shouts. Shot by Jim Davies, playing on the left wing, just wide. Mist stops and still not a breath of wind.
11.20. Sam shoots and keeper pushes it to the side — at the expense of a corner. We take the corner and Dag Sirle meets it with a fierce boot that ends with the ball in the net! 1-0 to us!
11.25 and Connor, under pressure, pulls off another save. Back we go up field and as we cause mayhem in their ranks, Joe D is left with an open goal and shoots — over the bar as he leans back — from just two yards!
KM very active as he covers the pitch — one minute defending then the next attacking. Such commitment. Ref. blows for half time .
A few good folks here as spectators and we are giving them good entertainment as we continue to dominate the play. James Bebbington chopped down but OK.
Attack by B&S but foiled again by Connor in goal. Dave Bebbington, of our strong defence line, shoots at goal from distance — perhaps trying to emulate that of Kev Walters last week.
Jim D racing down the wing and skipping over tackles wins a corner. Then another corner to us on the right. Kicked into a crowded goal and Kev Rogers fires in a fine hard, low shot.
2-0 to us!
The heavy skies lifting and a touch of sun showing. KR sets of on his lanky legs and races the length of the pitch but his good cross not met by any player. mOur opponents made to be truly second best. But then at 12.05, the Ref awards them a penalty for what looked to many very harsh.
Player steps up. Shoots. Saved yet again by Connor. And again as a rebound is kicked at him. But then a scramble and they score on the next rebound. 2-1.
Tackle and the Ref. books Gaz Jones and one of their players. Again seen as not quite a fair decision. Kev Mort full of running and continuously shouted advice to his team mates. 12.22 and GJ pulls off a good tackle that stops what looked like a certain goal attempt by them. Kev R goes off — replaced by Rob Lowe.
We carry on with good play but you could see we had been upset by that penalty as we get a bit ragged.
Full time and we have won the match. Our second victory this season. Goodwill and bonhomie did shine on us. Excellent feeling. Handshakes all round and I must say their officials and players a pleasure to meet.
Man of the Match goes to Peter Jones for his great work in defence.
Sunday 10th Nov
Public Hall Annexe
Audlem Public Hall
Audlem Town Hall