GMWFL Autumn 2021 Over 60’s December

Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither were the ancient Pyramids of Egypt, but nothing takes longer than to tarmac the road outside Heywood’s Sports Centre. However, who cares about such trivialities? This was the final fixtures for the over 60’s; today was a fight to avoid relegation, a battle of survival of the fittest. The Bury Relics have a trophy cabinet full of silverware, yet here they were on the cusp of relegation, only just outside the drop zone by a solitary goal difference. Could the mighty Relics hold their heads up high with pride? Or could it be they slope off quietly after the games for a shower, with their heads hung low with shame? Plenty of Bury Relics supporters had turned up to find out. Ken had been drafted into to manage the high stakes fixtures, and people were wondering if it would be a Dodd or Daglish type leadership. Under this intense amount of pressure, what transpired could not be described as anything else but extraordinary.

Bury Relics vs. Bolton (Bury were in Tangerine bibs). The first game that could determine their fate was against Bolton, which started with both sides trying to string passes together, with possession changing hands several times. Inexplicably there was a phantom foul on one of the Bolton players, as if the invisible man had made a two footed slide tackle from about 6ft; the ref’s whistle promptly blew and shouts from the crowd were “Should have gone to Spec Savers”. Anyway, Bolton quickly lost the ball and a chance was created for Jomo, who lashed the ball goalwards with a right foot shot, which the keeper saved. Play then switched down to the Relics end where Bolton managed to win a corner, and subsequently bring a good save out of Gary. Passing at the back from Peter and Tony created some space for Jomo on the right hand side, who fed the ball to Stewart. Wow, what a superb turn and shot! Before the Bolton keeper could react, Stewart had quickly turned and rifled a shot past him. What a sensational goal! Bury’s nerves were calmed a bit. Bolton were now trying harder and pressing the ball, and getting some possession themselves, with some half chances, one of which was superbly blocked by Stewart. There were some vital interceptions at the last moment from both Peter and Tony, this game was at present far from safe, and the tangerine running/foul count was increasing. In the closing stages there was some fine interplay between Stewart and Graham, which created space for Stewart to powerfully shoot, but his shot was parried back out by the Bolton keeper. However, Stewart had not finished yet and moved to the ball quickly and hooked the ball back over the keepers shoulder and into the net. What a crowd pleaser; a superb goal. The supporters were cheering and smiling at the goal, and with the knowledge that it was unlikely that Bolton could come back with a couple of minutes remaining.
Final Score, Relics 2 – Bolton 0.

Bury Relics vs. Wakefield. The opposition Wakefield were quickly into attack in this game, creating 2 early chances and bringing out decisive defending from Tony and a good save from Gary. Then the Relics took over and put together a good spell of possession and what looked like 3 touch in training, by quickly passing to players in space. Wakefield finally intercepted to make a chance but the shot went over the bar. Andy Rud van Rich came on as a sub and was quickly into the action, where a good move nearly had him clean through, only for the final pass to have too much on it. Wakefield were also making chances and it needed a good tackle from Graham to prevent a clear shot. A pass down the line from the back arrived at Andy’s feet on the left hand side, where he waited for support. He was being jockeyed by 2 Wakefield defenders, however this quickly became 4 defenders and Andy had to dribble his way out of trouble and make a pass, maybe like Messi would do. Following the next passage of play, one of the Relics Players decided to gesticulate to the crowd and shout “Loves it!” Not sure why he did that but it made for a good spectacle in any case. Although Wakefield had more shots than the Relics in the game, this was an even match.
Final Score, Relics 0 – Wakefield 0.

Bury Relics vs. Rochdale. Bury did not start this game well and were making some stray passes that the opposition were picking up. Then a move set up a Rochdale player for a shot, but he was just too late and had to travel into the area to get a shot away; the ref spotted it and Relics had the ball. In the next passage of play, Graham made a good tackle to intercept. Then Bury put some passes together and Andy built a chance for Graham, who took a shot from some distance out, which their keeper had time to get down and save. Rochdale then went on the attack, and Peter made a great tackle to prevent a shot. A bit of trench warfare was developing in midfield, when Stewart was body checked and sent tumbling; thankfully all was OK to resume. Graham had a shot, and then a good tackle from Stewart as play continued. Subsequently, out of the blue, there was a Rochdale counter attack down the left hand side. Unknown to the Relics, there was a rogue Rochdale player all on his own on the right, who was picked out by the left winger; in space and on  the run he managed to toe bung the ball past Gary for 1 – 0 to Rochdale. This could have quickly turned into 2 – 0 on Rochdale’s next attack but for a salmon like leap by Gary and a superb fingertip save. The Relics had one big chance near the end, with Stewart clean through on goal; he did nothing wrong as his shot was arrowing towards the back of the net, when a UFO like goalkeeper flew out of nowhere and saved the ball. In truth it was a great save. Final Score, Relics 0 – Rochdale 1.

Bury Relics vs. Champions elect Corinthians. If there ever was a lesson in total football, this was it. There are not enough superlatives in the English language to describe how good a Bury Relics performance this was. Relegation was still possible and the Relics were staring down the barrel of disaster. The question was, did the Relics have the balls to fight and perform under such adversity, and against the Champions elect? The answer was a resounding Yes! Fear was put to one side and fluent football played by the Relics. The early stages showed good passing from both teams, with some running offences being committed. The first chance to the Relics was created and executed out of nothing. The ball was played up to Graham’s feet, who pirouetted better than any supreme ballerina and produced a fast howitzer of a shot into the net. 1 – 0 to the Relics. The Corinthians were not happy and were quickly on the attack, but good defending from Pete and Keith were keeping them at bay. Stewart was in the wars again and was a bit dazed from another body check, but like a warrior he continued to play. The Relics were spraying the ball about everywhere and a good pass found its way to Jomo, who took a low hard shot that was like a guided missile, which flew into the net to make it 2 – 0 to the Relics. The crowd were going wild. However not everything was good as the Relics had committed the odd foul and they finally added up to 4, and it was a penalty to the Corinthians. As the Corinthians player stepped up to take the penalty, someone from the crowd was shouting to keeper Gaz, to keep his eye on the ball. And he did exactly that, making a superb diving save to deny the Corinthians a way back into the game. The next Relics attack saw Jomo set up Graham with a brilliant pass and the third goal for Relics was scored. Incredible scenes; Relics on the cusp of relegation beating the champions Corinthians 3 – 0. But that was not the end of the story as Graham again received the ball up front and was fouled by a frustrated defender, which meant a penalty to the Relics. Jomo decisively grabbed the ball (with no complaints from others) and strolled over to the penalty spot. The ref put his whistle to his lips, blew and Jomo proceeded to dink the ball over the diving keeper to make it 4 – 0 to the Relics. Scenes of delirium among the Relics supporters, and this was enhanced by Wakefield team players who were watching behind Gary’s goal; it was a cheer for every Bury touch or pass. The Fans were very happy to see the Relics survive and also amazed in wonderment at such a high quality performance against the Champions Corinthians. It’s notable that today’s 4-0 score line equals the previous highest ever league victory from the 1st of December 2017, when the Over 60’s beat Bolton 4-0 in a Division 3 game, but today’s result probably feels much better.
Final Score, Relics 4 – Corinthians 0.

Thanks to an awesome team performance by all the players, which was backed up by the staff and expertly led by Ken “the Daglish” manager. Absolutely sensational! The match day squad: Gaz S (GK), Tony G, Keith S, Graham W, Pete Shev, Stewart W, John M (Jomo) and Andy R.

A special thank you to Kodak Keith for the great pictures as usual, Mc-John-alds for his brews, and to all the enthusiastic supporters that turned out to witness this historic event.  

For all the GMWFL Autumn 2021 results and fixtures see the Match Centre page here