AFC extend cup run

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Wake to a dreary cold morning -- grey clouds and rain on the ground, which gives me with some misgivings as to how the game will take place. We are travelling today -- again -- to Sandbach to play Cricketers Arms F C and in a game, in fact the quarter-final, of the F A Sunday league Vase cup. One of the problems for Cricketers is that their pitch gets very wet.

At 8:30 their secretary, Jaqui ,calls me to say that it's 70/30 for the game, as the allocated pitch not too bad. I call Referee Graham Sands and ask him if he can get to the ground early and see if it is playable.

By 09.00, We are confident enough to go ahead with the game. So loaded up again with all that is necessary for the game, I drive off to Nantwich so that I can get petrol.

Arrive at the ground complex which is a very busy place, with many young boys and girls playing their games and indeed it's good to see so many girls playing football.

I unload the kit and set up the changing room ready for players to arrive. But as I wait, I treat myself to a hot sausage bap with brown sauce. I recall many days of going to Anfield in the 70s with my sons and having the traditional cup of OXO with a meat pie, never really knowing just what the meat was in the pie. Good memories. Good games of football with a magnificent Liverpool team.

Enough of musings, back to our game.

We have a good turnout of players with 16 listed and on such a cold ,damp, windy day, all kitted up and out to the pitch.

I have to stay behind in the changing room waiting for two players travelling back from Blackpool and Liverpool. On that note the Cricketer's team have players travelling to be here from Sheffield ,Leeds and Liverpool. That is really keen on their part.

1100 and all here observe at the minute silence for Armistice Day.

Kickoff and here we go

The pitch slopes down towards our goal and the sharp wind is blowing right down the pitch into our goal.
So all is in favour for our opponents. A bright hard sun -- low in the sky and in the eyes of their goalkeeper, which could be an advantage to us.

11.15 0-1

In the event it is the wind that plays the major part and by 11.15 we are only losing one nil. Game is concentrated in our half as the wind really helps Cricketers as they attack and attack.

11.25 1-1

Mark Parker puts away a fine goal.
Opponents are virtually camped out in our half as the wind gets even stronger, colder and quite gusty.

11.43 and they score 2-1.

Referee blows and off we troop to the side-lines .
Lots of recriminations as to how we let in that final goal just before the whistle . But a resolve to do better

Second Half

Now the wind is at our backs and by golly ,we take advantage of it as we now camp in their half and batter their goalmouth.
Subs played with Kev Mort coming off and Pete Jones going on in this place. The use of subbing being very well managed.
Dale Bradbury had been hit in the face quite hard with the football earlier on ,so off he comes and replaced by Jack Welch.
At this point Referee gives a warning to Kev Mort who is carrying on with a running commentary from the side-lines. Obviously Referee does not need his advice.
A lovely flighted shot by Andrew (Beco) Betterley is just wide. We are really on top of the game now and we score a goal but referee judges that we were off side.
Connor Baxter-our goalkeeper- has to come off with a leg injury and Kev Rogers goes into goal. Tom Bebington comes on to the field of play

12.30 2-2

Ross Henderson scores with a deflected shot!

12.35 3-2

Joel Cotterell races in and plants a lovely goal..

12.40 4-2

Jack Welch and Mark Parker play a great "one two" -- and Mark scores again.
Dan Mahoney tells me he thinks Mark closed his eyes just before he scored . I'm not sure how truthful that is.

Final whistle

and a great victory for the team. We are now in the semifinals of this Cup and this will be played on 22nd January next year.

If we carry on like this, playing so well- we're going to need oxygen!
A happy- if cold and damp- bunch of players drive off with a warmth in their hearts from a good performance.
Next game is versus team called White Lion- again at Sandbach, as we play our last away match for some time because our first home match will be on 26 November and we will be using the new Annexe for the very first time. So looking forward to that and so looking forward to entertaining visiting teams to the super facilities that have been created here in Audlem.