WE WERE BETTER WITH 10 MEN
No complaints as you cant expect anything out of a game when you only play to your potential in the last 20 minutes
The Reserves final game of the season sees Orford visit Brantingham Road for the second time in two weeks. The last visit was the quarter final of the Northern Rail Cup where they went away with a 2-1 victory and whilst the League title is out of their grasp they could finish 2nd if they win all their games in hand so a lot still to play for and Maine Road Reserves will be looking to end the season on a high having seen their season drift away over the last couple of months.
Maine Road kick off towards the Wilbraham Road end and almost make the perfect start inside the first minute as Rhys Clooney gets clear and one on one with the Orford keeper but a great reaction save puts the ball out for a corner. 5mins Orford on their first attack inside the Maine Road half as No.7 puts a good ball through for No.9 but keeper Jake Howarth is brave diving at feet of the striker to deny a shot. Following the bright start from Maine Road in the early minutes its Orford who have the momentum and keeping hold of the ball switching it from one side to the other quite comfortably and without any pressure from midfield but haven’t really created anything until the 20min mark as No.9 holds the ball up well and good skill allows him to turn and put a ball in behind, a swing and miss from Matt Widdowson sees the ball run into the path of No.7 as he draws Jake Howarth out of his goal and finishes well inside the near post (0-1). 26mins a long goal kick finds Rhys Clooney who quickly squares to Patrick Walsh on the edge of the box but he doesn’t quite get hold off the shot and the keeper saves. 29mins the skilful No.9 causes problems again as he turns Dominik Williams and clear on goal the shot requires a full stretch diving save from Jake Howarth. Maine Road are hanging on to the game and at times needing the long ball to get out of their half as we struggle to put two or three passes together which is just inviting Orford to put pressure straight back onto our back four and Luke Newsham is doing extremely well at left back as Orford are find plenty of space out wide and get their reward on 33mins as a throw in finds the impressive No.7 who gets in behind and a good cross into the No.9 in the middle of the box and with a defender either side of him seems to have all the time in the world to get the ball under control, turn and shoot leaving Jake Howarth no chance (0-2). Maine Road seem deflated, Elliot Lynch & Connor Bass are the only ones closing down and applying any pressure in the middle of the park as Orford are spraying the ball around with ease and dictating the tempo of the game but right on half time and with the last kick of the game Maine Road get a lifeline as a long ball clearance sees Rhys Clooney outpace the defender and gets one on one with the keeper, the first effort is well saved but the rebound is fired into the back of the net (1-2).
Not sure what the half time talk was about but it must have been about our shape as we looked all over the place in the middle and pressure closing down was practically non-existent apart from Elliot Lynch predominantly who along with Luke Newsham were by far our best two players on the pitch. We need to take care of the ball when in possession as we haven’t had one good passage of football in the first half and we would need a big improvement in the 2nd half if we are going to get anything out of the game
49mins we almost pay the price as Jake Howarth dwells on the ball from a back pass and the No.8 blocks the ball and lays back for the No.10 but Jake Howarth recovers well as his out stretched leg puts the ball out for a corner but that probably sums up our day so far. 58mins Elliot Lynch is really unlucky to pick up a booking. 63mins Danny Hulme is replaced by Aeron Woodman and Elliot Lynch gets his marching orders 4mins later for a 2nd yellow and forcing a change in formation. Down to 10 men was the changing moment for Maine Road as they start to dominate the game and go close on 72mins as Patrick Walsh puts Aeron Woodman in behind, the shot is saved but Patrick Walsh continues his run but hits the rebound over the bar and before the goal kick Rhys Clooney is replaced by Joe Keyworth. 75mins Orford should have put the game to bed as a good move down the left wing with the ball played inside the box for No.9 who unselfishly squares to No.7 but a rush of blood sees the shot blaze over the bar and with Maine Road on top at this stage of the game that may be a costly miss. 80mins Robbie Wallis is replaced by the returning Rhys Clooney as we go 3 at the back as we push for the equaliser. 81mins a well struck Connor Bass free kick has the keeper beaten but rebounds back out off the cross bar. 83mins No.7 spoils a good performance with a silly booking followed by the No.9 on 88mins as the game fizzles out
If Elliot Lynch had stayed on the pitch he would have been my man of the match but over 90mins my vote goes to Luke Newsham.
The end of another season which in many ways has had more disappointments (rather than lows) than highs and for me can be summed in 3 parts. We got off to a poor start, had a good middle section from November to end of January then a patch of inconsistency as the season drifted away. We showed in many games what we are capable of and Stone Dominoes (A), Sandbach United (A), Barnton (A), Windle Labour (H) Deva Chrislteon (A) and the early rounds of the Northern Cup all stand out, then on the opposite side we showed our naivety and inconsistency in games such as East Didsbury (A), Ford Motors (A) and Deva Chrisltleton (H) as these games stand out for all the wrong reasons. Then we had games against Cuddington (H&A), Moore Utd (A), Unicorn Athletic (A), Winstanley Warriors (H) and Barnton (H) where we let victories slip away having been the better team and not able to see the games out in the final stages. So plenty to work on for the management team next season.
Team: HOWARTH; MARKHAM; WILLIAMS; WIDDOWSON (C); NEWSHAM; WALLIS; HULME; LYNCH; BASS; CLOONEY; WALSH; Subs: J.KEYWORTH; WOODMAN