Sun 04
Jolly Carter
2
-
0
League
Open Age
*** A DIFFICULT TRIP TO FAILSWORTH ***

*** A DIFFICULT TRIP TO FAILSWORTH ***

By Wayne Gates
Share via
FacebookTwitter
https://www.breightmetwanderer

The boys were back in action today - and they saw plenty of it...


It's been over four months since the Wanderers last kicked a ball in anger - so the fact that football was back this morning made it a Sunday actually worth getting up for. People may not remember that far back - but our last outing resulted in a 2-4 reversal at home to Bury Pumas - so the lads were looking to get back to winning ways as soon as they could. Things were not going to be easy here though - we were making the trip over to Failsworth to take on Jolly Carter - and knowing that they currently occupy 2nd place in the table, then they definitely knew their stuff. But training in the week had been fun and despite the fact that this was a big game, there was no need for anybody to feel the pressure. We've had four months of no running - so today was always going to be tough without the task of the actual match. As we set off though, the mood in the camp was as good as ever and the hope was that we would be feeling like that when we returned...

As we arrived at the pitch, it was strange to see it encamped by houses from all sides. It was like playing in a stadium but with houses instead of stands. The playing surface itself was long and bobbly and it seemed long but narrow. Whatever. Both teams have to play on it and as they warmed up, it was obvious that there were some old heads in and amongst the Jolly Carter ranks. The Wanderers should have learnt their lesson when we were turned over by a team of Vets in a friendly so as they warmed up, that was the message being relayed throughout the lads. When it came to naming their first starting 11 of 2021, Martin and Ste seemed to elect to go for a 3-5-1-1 shape - with Ryan Huddleston making yet another debut for the Reds between the posts. Enty and Locky had Taylor at the back with them and it looked as though Craig and Carl were being asked to play as wing-backs. Liam joined Tully and Ryan Chappell in the middle of the midfield and we had Kyle Bailey looking to knit things together between them and Dillon up top. That meant we had a strong bench of Curtis, Yatesy, David, Cameron and Tyler Barlow and as the referee called the teams forward, the small select few in attendance remembered their social-distancing and the match began...

The opening stages saw the home side quickly assert their authority on proceedings and with the Wanderers standing off their men, it was given the hosts plenty of time and room in which to make their moves. They quite clearly had experience - with their front men knowing when to hold it up and when to lay it off - but we were making it easier for them in the early parts of the game and we needed to cut that out before they made us pay. One good cross was drilled into our box but out dived Ryan to pluck it out of the air and hold it well. Safe hands from our No.1 and a good early start to his comeback...

For some reason both sides were guilty of giving away niggly free-kicks and that was making the game very stop and start for periods. Some tackles were flying in that the referee wasn't catching and with both sides screaming for everything, it wasn't an attractive match at this point. Taylor then gave away a free-kick about 22 yards from goal and with Ryan demanding four men in his wall, the Jolly Carter striker placed the ball down. The whistle went and as the free-kick came in, our keeper worked wonders to dive full-length and tip it against the post. But there was the on-rushing No.9 and with the goal at his mercy, he chose to use power over precision - and as he smashed his shot in, it crashed against the inside of the post, bounced up, smashed Ryan in the face and as their man came steaming in to ram the ball home, there was Carl to whack it clear and away from danger. A lucky escape though and we really were riding our luck at this point...

Every time we did manage to see the ball a bit, we were not looking after it well enough and rather than sticking with our front men, the ball was simply coming straight back at us. This wasn't giving our defence enough time to get up and therefore creating a huge hole in the middle of the park. Kyle and Dillon were a lot slighter than their back-line and their defenders were just swallowing up whatever came their way. We needed to be more composed on the ball and then hopefully the chances would come...

With 28 minutes on the clock, the home side should really have taken the lead. Some great football through their midfield saw the ball slipped through to their No.10 and clean through on goal, he should have finished it. But like a lion striking it's prey, Ryan snapped out of his goal and dived bravely at the strikers' feet, smothering the ball and averting the danger. Another good piece of keeping from our newest No.1...

The chances just kept coming though and a great ball inside Craig saw their dangerous No.7 charge forward unopposed. As he entered the box, he saw Ryan advancing - but he could only curl his effort high and wide and yet again the Wanderers goal was living a charmed life. But on 34 minutes we saw the first real piece of attacking play for the reds as Craig raced down their full-back and we won a corner on the right. Kyle went across to swing it in but their defender got a big head on it and sent it out for a throw. Dillon then launched it back in towards the near post but once again, the hosts showed their mettle and cleared the ball from danger. At least we had managed to get out of our own half though...

Rolling back the years, Enty was once again throwing himself into headers and tackles and doing everything he could for the cause. Another great interception saw the ball go out for a corner rather than nestle in the back of our net and he is renowned across town for doing stuff like that. But their No.7 was giving him far too much to do - because he kept getting the wrong side of Craig and crafting pinpoint crosses into the mix. One such attack saw him charge down their left and as he cut inside, he done Craig too easily. He curled in a cross that Ryan just managed to punch clear before their striker got his head to it and as the ball fell, their midfielder slammed it goalwards - only to see Carl there on the line and he managed to smash it away from danger. In truth it was all the yellows now and it felt like only a matter of time before we creaked one too many times...

The pressure kept coming and their No.6 cracked a good effort over the bar from long-range that had Ryan scrambling across. Then came a moment that made us giggle - when their full-back went to collect the ball and shouted what could only be heard as 'Leave It'. By the letter of the law, the referee blew and gave us the free-kick - only to be told that his name was 'LeeMing' or something of that ilk. Laughing, when the game was re-started, Dillon kicked the ball back to their keeper sportingly and the game continued...

Thankfully not too long after that the referee decided that she had seen enough for the first period and as she blew her whistle, everybody there wondered how on earth we were going in goal-less. The home side had seen far more of the ball, all of the chances and made all of the play. Could this be one of those days where a quick break wins it? We were hoping so...

Half-time: Jolly Carter 0-0 BREIGHTMET WANDERERS AFC

As the lads trudged in, they all had their things to say - but collectively they all knew that hadn't been good enough so far. We couldn't keep hold of the ball long enough to cause any damage and that was the first thing we needed to change if we wanted to find a way into this game. All of the players knew that we hadn't started yet and it was going to take a big shift in the play to force our football on the home side. These were good but we hadn't given them anything to think about yet. Martin and Ste decided to ring the changes - and brought Yatesy and Curtis on in place of Liam and Dillon - and urged their troops to get back to what we do well - passing it sharply and moving into spaces. As the lads took their last gulps out of their new COVID-safe water bottles (kindly supplied by Just Because - by Lisa we hasten to add), they mentally prepared themselves for the next 45 minutes or so of battle...

Right from the re-start there seemed to be a little bit more about us and with Curtis and Kyle linking up well, we had something going forward. Within the first 60 seconds we had our first shot in anger - and it was from substitute Curtis' boot that it came. Kyle had managed to wriggle free from his marker and he slid the pass inside to Mr Harbord who cracked one in from about 25 yards out that didn't really trouble their keeper - but at least we'd had a shot at goal. More of the same now please...

But the team in yellow came straight back at us and as they poured forward, the fact that we hadn't played for over four months started to take it's toll on our legs. We were struggling to get back now and the home side were sniffing out spaces all over the park. Twice they swung great crosses into the danger-area but twice Ryan was equal to them - punching them away from danger even if one of them looked mightily close to being over his line - but our No.1 was playing a blinder out there and even managed to get his side to a thunderous shot and flip it acrobatically over the bar for yet another Jolly Carter corner. The pressure was starting to come our way again - but at least we defended that one...

Kyle was still trying to make things happen and when he took off on a run midway into their half, the Wanderers bench looked on excited. Across came the yellow defender to take him out but with the reds screaming for the free-kick, they didn't see Yatesy get control of the ball. He looked up and tried to lob their keeper from about 25 yards out - but he was wise to it and got back quick enough to pull it out of the sky and the chance was gone. We were still complaining about the free-kick not being given when the hosts came straight up the other end and a good shot was flashed inches wide of the far-post - reminding us to keep focused on the game and not on the ugly side of it..

This first goal really was going to be pivotal and we thought the team 2nd in the league had got it when Ryan rushed a kick and it found it's way to their No.9 about 35 yards from goal. Instinctively, he struck it goal-bound and with Ryan hurrying to get back, the ball dropped just the right side of the post (for us) and away from danger. Proof that we really needed to concentrate for the full 90 minutes here. Barlow decided to bring Tully off for a well-deserved rest and on came Cameron for a slice of the action. He was thrown up top and told to make a nuisance of himself - and moments later we created a chance that would have been buried any other week. Kyle had the ball in the centre-circle and spotted Chappell making a great run through the heart of their defence. He managed to curl his pass right into his run and if he could have brought it down in one, he would have been clean through on goal. But his touch just evaded him and that brief moment enabled the home keeper to rush out and smother it and the chance was gone. Was there going to be a goal today?

With 66 minutes on the clock, Sheeran came on in place of Carl and as the game moved into it's final third, it was still there for the taking. Yatesy had a good effort on goal that the keeper fumbled but he managed to scoop it back up just before Cam could get to it. Back came the yellows and as they swung the ball into the box, there was David to slice his clearance out for a corner - with the Wanderers faithful thinking he'd put it in his own net! It looked really close from where Wanderers TV were standing put it that way...

It was like a basketball match at stages - with both sides attacking and then defending - and once again Yatesy nearly created a chance for himself with his nifty footwork. He dragged the ball this way and that - evading three defenders trying to tackle him - but it got too much and he lost the ball before he could carve out the space to shoot. And from that point forward, the game turned on a sixpence - with the silliest of goals to concede in such a match...

We had defended so well but in the 76th minute, that crucial first goal came - and on reflection, it was no more than the home side deserved. But the manner in which we conceded didn't justify the heart-felt defending we'd produced so far. One long ball over the top saw their winger outpace us and as he fed it across the six-yard box, there was their No.10 with the simplest of tasks and as he tapped it home, the look of relief on their faces was obvious. They had prodded and probed for well over an hour - and the goal they scored came from route one football. We had it all to do now. 0-1...

Tyler Barlow came into the fray in place of Locky but by now it looked as though some heads had dropped. We were starting to not track back after going in search of the equaliser and good sides will always make you pay for that. Their No.9 found enough space to lob a good effort in that had Ryan back-peddling to push over the bar and as the game ticked into the 89th minute, they got the goal that clinched all three points. A poor goal-kick from our superb keeper saw them outnumber us at the back and as the ball was fed down the wing, their No.7 had all the time and space in the world to stroll forward and slam his shot inside the near-post to put the game to bed. 0-2 and there was no way back for us now...

And that was that. Shortly after the referee decided that she had seen enough and as she pulled the whistle to her lips and blew it for the final time, the result had really been a true reflection on the game itself. We defended well but sometimes you simply come up against a side that is better than you on the day. Today was one of those days. These aren't second for nothing by the way...

There was the usual berating and complaining as the lads came in but they need to remember that there was the first game they'd had in months. We will need time to get fit. To gel again. And to get back to playing the way we know we can. Today was no mean feat - and a 0-2 loss here would please most teams - so the lads will regroup and come out again on Tuesday night looking to get back to winning ways. It was close for the Phoenix Tax Services Man of the Match - but Enty just pipped Ryan Huddleston to it. Both had storming games out there and both deserve the credit. And it's back to the drawing board for the rest of 'em! Ha ha! Seriously - a good effort out there lads and there aren't many better teams in this league. So chin up and make sure you put in right against D'Havilland Wanderers in midweek...

Wanderers TV managed to grab the boss before he set off back to Bolton and he was in good spirits really. 'Well - that didn't go to plan did it? I think my players enjoyed Lockdown 3.0 a little too much didn't they? There's work to be done - and believe me, it WILL get done - and we'll show you what we're all about on Tuesday night"

And with that he was off - and the lads were on their way back to Breightmet. Not too good a day at the office really - but we get the chance to put it right in just over 72 hours...

COME ON THE WANDERERS!!!

Share via
FacebookTwitter
https://www.breightmetwanderer
Recent news

Match details

Match date

Sun 04, Apr 2021

Kickoff

11:00
Michael 'Enty' Entwistle

Player of the match

Michael 'Enty' Entwistle