6 months ago
By Jeffrey Newman
Maine Road progress in the FA Cup in five goal thriller!
At the start of the new season we welcome our fellow NWCFL members Winsford United, who finished three points above the blues last season. In addition to this Winsford did the double over us so this game was always going to be a difficult tie.
The blues had two debutants in the back four with Jack Poxon and David Brown coming in at right-back and centre-back. Also, Jack Langford has returned to the club after completing his degree at University.
The game started even with both teams not committing many men forward and most of the play being played in the middle third. Following a tackle in the midfield the blues played a quick free-kick out to Jack Poxon at right-back who played an excellent ball for Rick Williams to chase. He left the Winsford defenders for dead and was bearing down on goal. Rick unselfishly played the ball to the advancing Connor Hughes who had the goal at his mercy. The Winsford defender slid in to try clear the ball but he could only divert it in to the net. It was a quick start for the blues and some quick play caught the defence out. Following the early goal Winsford started to press for an equaliser., they started to throw a number of crosses in to the box which Ryan, John and David dealt with well. However, on 13 minutes a hopeful ball in caught Ryan out and as he dropped an easy cross and the Winsford winger tapped home to bring the visitors level. It was a disappointing goal to concede especially having produced a well worked goal to take the lead. The blues were further disrupted when Tom Keyworth had to be replaced by Matthew Morgan as Tom had to come off with ankle injury. Despite not being fully fit Morgy seem to provide an extra bit of pace on the wing and he had a massive impact 10 minutes after being brought on. After winning the ball in midfield the ball was played in to Rick Williams who held the ball up well and played in the onrushing Morgy. Morgy took a touch in to the box and cooly slotted under the advancing keeper to make it 2-1. it was a cool finish from a very good player who should be looking to improve on his 14 goals last term. The blues were now in their stride and we had another couple of chances to extend the lead. Jack Langford and Jamie Roe both had great opportunities as they both had a 1v1 with the keeper who saved well with his feet. Connor Hughes had the last chance of the half as the ball was pulled back to him 8 yards out. He hit a great shot with his right foot which he caught sweet. The ball seemed destined to hit the net. Unfortunately, the Winsford keeper made himself big and pulled off a tremendous save to divert the ball away from goal and out for a corner.
This was the last action of the half and the blues had performed well in the opening 45 minutes getting the better of them in most departments and could have had five goals if it wasn’t for the Winsford keeper.
As a result of a disappointing opening 45 minutes for Winsford they made a few changes and this seemed to have a positive effect. They started the half much brighter and were causing the blues problems. A long ball from back to front found their centre-forward with his back to goal. A neat lay off and a quick ball forward found the Winsford winger advanced in the blues box. He slid the ball across and the Winsford forward applied an easy finish. Winsford were now on top as the blues struggled to get in to their rhythm. They continued to throw balls into the box and kept the blues camped in their own half. They nearly went in front for the first time as they had a great chance on the hour mark. A ball down the right found their winger in lots of space. He pulled the trigger but Ryan was out in a flash and made a good save with his feet.
It was all Winsford and it took a fantastic save from Ryan to keep the blues level. A cross came in from the right and found the Winsford forward who headed goalward,It appeared to be heading in, hgowever, Ryan leapt to his right and tipped the ball on to the crossbar and it bounced out for a corner. He had more than recovered from the disappointment he had in the first-half and was performing well to keep the scores level. With Winsford on top the blues made some more changes, Owen Pollitt and Daniel Burgess coming on for Jamie Roe and Rick Williams. The blues started to edge their way back into the game as Danny provided some much needed energy up-front. The ball stuck when it went in to him allowing the blues defense to push up the pitch.
The game seemed to be closing to a draw and a replay on Monday night seemed most likely. However, 16 year old Owen Pollett had other ideas. A long ball was played for Danny Burgess to challenge and he made it difficult for the defender to clear. The ball found James Ormrod who played the ball out to Owen who shot from 25 yards, despite the keeper getting his finger-tips to the ball the ball looped in to the back of the net.
It was a last gasp winner for 16 year old Owen who was not only making his debut for the club but it was his first game in adult football. He has performed well in pre-season for both the reserves and the first-team and deserved his chance to be involved in the first game of the season. He is amongst a number of new young players to join the club over this summer and who are expected to join Owen in making first-team appearances this season.
Updated 14:41 - 9 Aug 2017 by Jeffrey Newman