“Whilst we are finding it difficult to play to our full potential, we will persevere!”
John Myatt, Team Captain
Another day and another trip across the Pennines to Heywood Sports Village, this time for the Wanderers over 65s to take part in the Greater Manchester Cup Tournament.
Eight teams were split into two groups with Wanderers in Group B alongside Blackpool Senior Seasiders, Chadderton & Rochdale AFC Strollers. The 2 top teams from each group moved forward to the Cup semi-final stage whilst 3rd & 4th placed teams competed in the Plate semi-finals.
Our squad consisted of 5 of those that played to a decent level last month at the Etihad - John Jones, John Myatt, John Rooke & Stephen Stoker. We had Dave Cossins returning and David Alexander having his first taste of tournament football for the Wanderers. With so many Johns and Daves we had to agree to use JJ, JM and ‘Alex‘ when calling instructions.
Despite the usual downpours between and during the matches the squad was in good heart and looking forward to building on the work done at Wakefield Football Centre on formation and team tactics. Paul Waggett was nominated as the utility player to cover for team-mates as they stood down in individual matches and he showed versatility by playing left flank, right flank and striker during the various games. This allowed remaining players to undertake one role only.
Sadly, despite our well laid plans we were to encounter another frustrating day.
Our first game was against Rochdale Strollers and we were soon one down to a penalty conceded by JJ who’s ‘beanie ’must have warmed his brains too much because he forgot he can’t wander in to our penalty area. Stephen managed to get a hand to the ball but it went in off the bar. Disaster struck a couple of minutes later when Dave C, in his rush to mark his man, crossed part of the area and conceded another penalty. Stephen managed to get his trailing leg to the kick but it still went in and there was no way back from a 2 goal deficit although we played some good football.
The second game saw us take on Chadderton and we conceded after a defensive mix up saw JM dragged out of position - the ball was laid back to advancing Chadderton player and a sublime strike gave our goalie no chance. Once again we found it impossible to retrieve the deficit despite some excellent football.
In the last group game we faced Blackpool and finally found some form. It looked as though JM had found his shooting boots again with 3 good attempts, one of which struck the post and rebounded into play rather than into the net. Once again we came off the field wondering how we had failed to find the net.
At the conclusion of the group stage we were bottom of group B with just one point, so we then lined up against Vintage Celtic in the Plate semi-final. Paul Waggett played up front and lined up a few chances for JM and Alex but we lost to two very well taken goals. Vintage Celtic eventually ran out as Plate winners.
We were comforted by the fact that the top 2 teams from our group contested the final with Chadderton winning on penalties after a 0-0 match
Whilst disappointed at the overall outcome we take heart from some positive elements. We lost by small margins and JJ was again impressive in defence. The two ‘Daves’ showed some good touches with DC playing some quality balls down the left flank for Rookey who worked tirelessly to act as our main target man.
The post match analysis conducted in the Malt Shovel has provided further ideas for us to implement in an effort to overcome the Heywood Hoodoo.
Updated 11:05 - 23 Jan 2018 by David Holbrow