A brave effort by Bury Relics over 60’s in round 2 of the National Cup

Match report from Bury Relics v Fleetwood Town Flyers in the 2nd round of the National Cup.

When turning into the carpark today for this match, I had to check I was not dreaming, as the carpark was full of cars and there were lots of people milling about; I had to check that I had not turned up to a Premier league game by mistake, there were so many people. All was good, and it was the case of multiple games being played at the same time. In the sunshine, nearly all the Relics players and staff, who regularly train and play together, turned up to the support the over 60’s Relics team in the second round of the cup.  

First half
Fleetwood (FW) kicked off the game but Bury Relics quickly gained possession. However, their first move led to a missed placed pass and out for a kick-in to FW. A fast kick-in by Fleetwood catches the Relics off guard, and in the melee that ensued in the Relics defence, one player falls over when trying to get into defensive position, and that left an overload for Fleetwood. The tall Orange boots attacker laid it off to their fast right winger, in acres of space, who hit a hard shot across the goal, very accurately, to score; 1 – 0 to Fleetwood. It was a tremendous strike but with some good fortune for Fleetwood, as an unlucky fall of a Relics defender meant the fast winger was completely free and had time to shoot. This gave Relics a shock and impetus to find an equalizer. This included a move of several passes around the team, involving all outfield players, leading to Graham having a ferocious shot that will have definitely warmed the goalkeeper’s hands, but unfortunately not a goal. The Relics were now looking comfortable in possession, with passes finding their teams mates; this led to a good move with Jomo setting up Graham, but was saved by the keeper. A tackle from behind on Graham gave a free-kick to the Relics. Jomo was thinking fast, and he quickly set up the ball to Terry, who hit a powerful shot that was just blocked by a defender, but a brilliant effort nonetheless. Subsequently, Fleetwood got the ball down the Relics end, which gave centre stage to Keith S, to make a superb tackle on Orange boots, and to stop a possible goal scoring chance. Both teams were playing good passes and finding team mates but both teams were also making tackles, leading to many exchanges in possession. An interception by Terry found Stewart, who then made a good pass inside to Keith but the move broke down, where Fleetwood retreated the ball back to their own keeper. But then, it was superb play by Keith S, who anticipates a Fleetwood pass and intercepts it. But not only does he gain valuable possession for the Relics, he is alert enough to make a prompt goal-scoring chance for graham, by giving him a precise and crisp pass to his feet. Graham takes an expert touch, and then smashes the ball passed a shell-shocked Fleetwood keeper, low to the keepers left, and it bulges into the net; 1 goal each now. All the Relics supporters and ball boys appreciated that, and were clapping and applauding the good play and equalizing goal. Play resumes, and another great move by the Relics; Jomo passes the ball up to graham, who turns and takes the defender away from the onrushing Jomo, who gets a return pass, and he smashed the ball across the goal but just wide. A great move and very close to another goal. And what a move! Terry sets Graham free down the right-hand side, and he looks up, and sees that Stewart has intelligently found space across the other side of the Fleetwood box. So, Graham passes the ball across, for Stewart to make a first and well-timed volley shot, that was just inches over the bar. Very close and a great move. Then, within a minute, Stewart is clean through on goal, and makes a good and powerful shot, but the keeper manages to save it. Now it’s FW on the attack, and Orange boots finds space up-front and tries to turn Terry, but he stands firm and gets a foot in and prevents a goal with a great tackle. Then it’s Orange boots again, as he does some great skill to take on 2 Relics defenders on the edge of the box, and somehow gets free to have a shot. Lucky for the Relics, the shot goes wide but it was very good skill to manufacture that chance. Then disaster strikes, as on the next Fleetwood attack, the fast winger on the right takes on a Relics player at pace on the outside, with a Lee Sharpe like run, moving the ball passed the defender and then striding past to strike the ball hard and accurate across the goal to score. Maybe a hint of running while getting passed the defender but the Ref did not think so. A good goal for them but demoralizing for the Relics, who had been playing fabulous stuff since they conceded early on. Nevertheless, the Relics had a chance to reply in the dying moments of the first half. Keith is set free with a ball down the middle, from about half way, and well ahead of any defender, he does well to make sure he does not break into a run, while approaching the ball. When he reaches it, he steadies himself and shoots hard to the left of the keeper, but the keeper gets a touch on it. The ball ricochets out to Keith, who hits it again, first time, but the shot does not have the pace to reach the goal. Unlucky and a good effort by Keith. A toot on the whistle means it’s half time and 2 – 1 to Fleetwood Flyers.

Second half
Another toot on the Whistle meant it was the second half, with the Relics kicking off and straight on the attack; resulting in a corner to the Relics. Jomo played a short corner to Stewart who, with the knowledge that a defender was close and goal side of him, intelligently played it back. Jomo was incisive with his decision, and took a first-time snap shot at goal, that went across goal and wide. Although it missed, it was superb quick thinking worked effort, with good improvisation for a shot, in a difficult and congested situation. Then Fleetwood attacked, which culminated with their fast winger having a shot, after tussling with Graham. As the shot was saved well by Gary, with an agile and quick dive, there was the obligatory complaint of a foul by the Fleetwood winger but nothing was given, “play on” the Ref said. In the subsequent play, Fleetwood create a chance, but this is blocked by Jomo and out for a corner. From the corner, good Relics play intercepts and releases Stewart down the middle. However, on this occasion, because the ball was running away, Stewart had to run to catch up to it, and that was called Running by the Ref. Unlucky, it was a half chance. Two chances for the Relics in quick succession see both Jomo and Graham shoot just wide. And again, the Relics gain possession, feed the ball to Graham, who makes a good pass to Stewart, who shoots just wide. Then disaster strikes again, when a pass on the left-hand side of the Relics box is played up to the Orange boot player, who turns and bamboozles the defence, to be in space. But the ball is running away from him towards the box. He lunges and gets a toe-poke to take it past Gaz in goal to score. The ball, when it was struck, was right on the edge of the area, and it was hard to see if it was definitely in or outside when struck. The only person to make that decision was the Ref, and he said Goal; 3 – 1 to Fleetwood. A sucker punch as the Relics had been piling on the attacks and been playing well. The subsequent play led to a Fleetwood free-kick, and they passed well around several players, to make space for a player coming up from the back, who shot but was wide. Then it was the Relics turn to attack, and Stewart gets very roughly tackled and takes a tumble. In the Heywood league that will probably be a Blue card for the perpetrator, and the tackle reminded me of something from 11-aside Sunday morning football. Anyway, it was a free-kick and that fired up the Relics. Terry makes a great pass up to Stewart, who turns and is now ahead of his marker. He smashes a shot against the post, which shuddered like a tuning fork. That was an awesome effort and very close. Almost immediately after that chance, the Relics regain possession and feed the ball to Stewart again, he shoots about shoulder height and over the diving keeper, but narrowly wide of the post. The Relics are really pressing to get back into the game. And again, Graham finds some space down the left-hand side, and hits a shot right across the goal, but alas, not on target this time. Fleetwood respond by supplying their #20 with a ball just outside the box; he spins and hits a low and hard shot to Gaz’s right, but Gaz is having none of it, and makes a good save. The Relics reply, with a sublime pass from Jomo to Stewart, who is now one on one with their keeper. He hits a powerful and low shot, but the keeper makes probably one of the best saves of his life. A good chance and a great save. Then, Controversy strikes. Orange boots up front for Fleetwood, gets the ball and takes on a Relics defender and gets past him, using guile but also speed. In response, the Relics defender makes an awesome last-ditch tackle, by poking the ball away, through the attacker’s legs. However, the Ref saw the incident completely differently and awarded Fleetwood a penalty for denying them a goal-scoring chance. I thought it was a great tackle. Fleetwood score the penalty to make it 4 – 1. From the kick-off, the Relics work the ball to Terry, who shoots across their goal and wide; close. Fleetwood attack again, but Pete makes a great challenge against Orange boots; he does not cleanly win the ball, but the challenge is robust enough to put their striker off, and no danger for the Relics. However, orange boots was not satisfied after that and on Fleetwoods subsequent attack, he beat the Relics defence on the left hand side of the box, and scored with a low shot across the goal to the right, to make it 5 -1 to Fleetwood. Relics again toil to get the ball forward and score, but loss of possession gives the ball back to Fleetwood. Then, the Orange boots player holds the ball up well and lays it off to an attacking full back on the left, which leads to another goal. The full-back shoots high above Gary and into the net to make it 6 – 1. And that was that, the final whistle went soon after.

Final Score; Bury Relics over 60’s 1, Fleetwood Town Flyers 6

The Relics made many chances to score, and on another day, the final score could have been much closer to Fleetwood. The quick and incisive passing of the Relics was countered by the artistry and individual skill of some of the Fleetwood players. Another factor were the rules the Relics usually play to in the Heywood league. They are different to those in this cup. Effectively, you can just keep committing offences and not have to worry about 4 fouls and a penalty. In any case, a good effort by the Relics against a good quality team.

Thank you for all the efforts made by all the team. Today’s squad consisted: John M “jomo”, Graham W, Keith S, Terry H, Stewart W, Pete S and Gaz the keeper. Also, thanks to the manager who did a good job; Ken gave good advice and fired up the team. Thanks to Keith H for the great photos, and to applaud a big turnout of supporters, who gave good support, helped muck in as ball-boys and set up the pitch etc. Thanks to Pat, Mandy, Keith and John for doing brews. Match report by Dr. John.