Heywood looked bright and sunny from the car as I drove in, but the biting cold wind outside made it a cold start for the over 65’s Spring 2022 campaign.
First off was a tough game against last season’s league champions Manchester Corinthians. The Relics started brightly with a few minutes of impressive keep-ball possession. The first attempt saw JoMo and Gerry L linking up well from the right hand side which resulted in a JoMo shot being turned for a corner.
Shortly after John W received a pass from Gerry, he laid the ball off nicely to Tex whose shot fizzed wide.
This was a tight game now with both teams testing one another but not creating any chances. Following a breakdown of a Relics attack Corinthians broke down the left and a cross-field ball found a player in space who smashed the ball past Gaz to put Corinthians 0 – 1 up against the run of play.
The Relics continued to press for the equaliser and a good passing move down the right found JoMo in the middle but his shot was wide. Shortly after JoMo was cutting in from the left and was brought down. There was confusion for a minute or so, was it denial of a goal scoring opportunity and therefore a penalty or was it four offences and therefore a penalty, it didn’t really matter, it was a penalty and the Corinthians protests fell on deaf ears.
JoMo “one-stepped” up and calmly slotted the penalty into the Corinthian net 1 – 1. With time running out the Relics nearly got the winner when JoMo intercepted a Corinthians keeper throw out only to see his shot go just wide of the post.
Final score Relics 1 – 1 Corin
Game 2 was against Manchester Senior Citizens. The Relics were first to hit the target when a right foot shot from Gerry L from the left hand side was destined for the bottom left hander corner of the Citizens goal but somehow the keeper managed to get his hand to it to send it for a corner.
Next chance fell to Alan, making his Relics debut today, but his shot was over the bar. Minutes later Gerry fizzed one that hit the bar.
General Gaz was organising his defence well but the Citizens managed to get through and a great shot which was heading into Gaz’s top right hand corner was brilliantly tipped round the post by the General. Citizens were trying to get through but the next shot was from distance and went wide.
Relics were pressing now and were playing good passing football in the City half playing from one side of the pitch to the other resulting in a cross field ball to JoMo but his shot was wide. Relics continued to press and pass well and another good 5-pass move in the Citizens half from Tony G – Gerry – John W – Tony G – JoMo saw JoMo’s shot blocked. and Gerry shot wide.
Final Score Relics 0 – 0 Citizens
A difficult fixture against Rochdale was up next, although all games in this top division are always difficult.
Relics dominated this game without making making their dominance tell where it matters on the score sheet.
General Gaz organised the defence well again and Pete Shev was distributing the ball out from defence with precision ensuring that Rochdale didn’t really trouble Gaz.
While at the other end the Relics were keeping the Rochdale defence very busy. Early on in the game John W hit the post, followed by a JoMo shot being saved. Another move from Alan (who was settling a bit more now) to John W saw his shot saved. Relics were on top now, playing the game in the Rochdale half.
Late on the Relics were still pressing and a great turn and shot from John W was heading for the top left hand corner of the goal but the keeper pulled off an equally great save.
Final Score Relics 0 – 0 Rochdale
The Final game of the day was against Preston. Again the Relics dominated the play restricting Preston to just a few chances, one early in the game which Gaz saved comfortably. For the Relics Tony G broke free but couldn’t get his shot away, then a long pass from Gaz to JoMo up front which JoMo slotted past the keeper but the ‘goal was disallowed, which brought groans of disbelief from the Relics officials and supporters on the touchline. Preston replied with a shot that was way high. Relics continued to press with a three man move JoMo to Gerry -to Tex whose shot was saved. This was followed by shots from John W, Gerry and Tex all being saved by the Preston keeper.
In the dying minutes there was confusion when there was, what looked like a free kick awarded to the Relics on the edge of the Preston area. The Ref said no it’s a four-offence penalty to Preston. As the players walked down the pitch to the Relics end for the penalty to be taken there was mas confusion and objections the Ref then changed his mind and said it was a Relics penalty, off went the players to the other end amid more confusion and chaos as the Ref then changed his mind again and decided it was a Preston penalty.
The penalty was taken and scored as objections continued from the Relics touchline.
It looked like it was all over, too late for the Relics to reply, but no, hold the headlines, John W was free, his shot to the keeper’s bottom left hand corner was partially saved by the outstretched left leg of the keeper, but the ball spun up over the leg of the keeper and spun into the net. What a goal.
Final score Relics 1 – 1 Preston
The Relics ended up unbeaten on the day, and with a little bit of luck it could have been all wins.
Well done to all the Relics: Gaz (gk), Tex, Tony G, Alan B, Pete Shev, Gerry L, John W, JoMo, Manager Keiran.
Thanks to Kodak Keith for the photo’s
For all the GMWFL Spring 2022 fixtures and results see the Match Centre page here