GMWFL Spring 2022 – Bury Relics over 60’s Whites go down fighting

Bury Relics over 60’s versus Kingsmaid
Just like last season, the division 1 over 60’s team are in danger of being relegated, with both the Relics and Rochdale teams looking over a cliff edge. As I drive up, Bury Relics and Kingsmaid have just kicked off. Meanwhile, in another area of Manchester, Gaz the keeper had just finished his strawberries and cream, was comfortably nestled into his summer chair and was about to hit the remote switch on the TV control. His 50 inch-flat-screen TV had already been wheeled into the garden, and Gaz was looking forward to watching the Jubilee Red Arrows display on TV. A thunderous buzz can be heard, but it’s not the Red Arrows in #70 formations but it’s Gaz’s phone buzzing; he answers and a loud voice of Keiren the presidente says “Where are you? We are playing football today!”. Gaz almost chokes on his last strawberry but jumps into action. Back in the game in Heywood, with Tex in goal, the Relics and Kingsmaid are playing at 1000 mph, there’s running everywhere but for some mysterious reason, the officials are allowing it. Pete, Kieth S and Terry are doing a sterling job in defence, blocking shots by Kingsmaid. However, eventually, Kingsmaid make an opening and take a good, low shot to the far post, for which Tex makes a tremendous save, full-stretched, to get across the goal and to push the ball wide. That was almost a certain goal, only for Tex’s fabulous save. Talking of goalies, there was a squeal of breaks in the carpark, as if to the sound of “The Professionals” theme, and a Blue Van screeching to a sharp halt; Gaz had arrived. The game continued but it was not all one-way traffic. New Relics players, Ian and Gordon (Dog), were combining well in the middle and putting some attacks together for the Relics, trying to get shots away but no goals as yet. This was a frenzied game, with Kingsmaid going all out for the championship and Relics trying to survive and stay up. Kingsmaid were having more shots but Bury Relics were standing firm to deal with them and playing good football of their own. This pattern of the game continued until the final whistle, and the result was a commendable draw for the Relics, against a very good team.
Bury Relics over 60’s 0-0 Kingsmaid

Bury Relics over 60’s versus Manchester Corinthians
Now Gaz had arrived and was ready, he was re-installed as the Relics keeper and Tex instated as an outfield defender. The next game was not much easier, against the Corinthians, another team in with a chance of a first or second place finish the league. However, the Relics started brightly, by putting some multiple passing moves together, involving Keith, Terry, Dog and Ian. Dog found Ian in some space, who hit a good shot but was saved by the Corinthians keeper. The Corinthians soon hit their stride and were also playing the ball about, with passes reaching their men. But the Relics, out of possession were marking up well against the Corinthians, so there were few shots for Gary to save early on. Bury then had a good attack, with Dog collecting the ball with his back to goal, and using his dribbling skills to make space and take a good shot, but the keeper made the save. Then, the Corinthians replied with an attack of their own, with their tall striker latching on to a pass from the back, and at speed, cruising past a Relics defender, and shooting. Gary had it covered but the outcome was a free-kick to the Relics for running. The Relics had a strong defensive unit and most of the attacking was coming from Ian and Dog, who seemed to have a good understanding of each other. Terry had an opportunity, when bombing forward from the back, but his powerful shot just went wide. Again, like against Kingsmaid, this was a good battling performance and the result was a goalless draw.
Bury Relics over 60’s 0-0 Manchester Corinthians

Bury Relics over 60’s versus Rochdale
This was the big one, as the team the Relics could over-take was Rochdale. However, the task had already become more difficult, as Rochdale had taken 4 points from the first 2 games, whereas the Relics had gained 2. Right from the off, both teams were looking to get the ball forward quickly and to shoot with any half chance. Terry was starting to get some joy down the right-hand side, waiting to collect passes from midfield in space. One from Dog gave Terry a shooting opportunity but the shot was not on target this time. Rochdale in their next spell of possession, found their striker in space, and he rushed forward, only to be thwarted by the Referees whistle for running. Besides, Tex would have been there to intercept if the move had continued. Bury took the free-kick and passed around the team, whilst been quickly closed down by Rochdale players. However, Terry was the outlet, making a darting run down the right-hand side and hitting a tolpedo of a shot that went in off the far post. Unsavable for their keeper, but alas, it was not allowed because Terry was adjudged to have run. However, there was a cruel irony, as on Rochdale’s subsequent attack, their striker burst down the left at pace, with Terry running, trying to keep up with him, only for the Rochdale striker to hit a powerful shot past Gaz, to make it 1-0. It was a surprise that Terry’s earlier attempt was disallowed, yet Rochdale’s almost carbon copy goal was allowed. But that’s football, and I am a Bury Relics fan. The Relics fought hard to try and get an equalizer, but all the shots hit by Ian and Dog, were saved well by their keeper, who had a good game. Gaz was not troubled again in this game, and despite the hard fighting and attempts by the Relics, the game finished 1-0 to Rochdale.
Bury Relics over 60’s 0-1 Rochdale

Bury Relics over 60’s versus Wakefield
Save the best to the last; what a game this was. The play was so open, with attacks from both teams, the game going from end to end. The first goal was a bit generous by the referee, as it was a penalty because one of the Relics players had put a foot in the penalty area. However, if a striker who is bigger and is backing in to you, where else can you go? But it happened and it was a penalty to Wakefield. Gaz made a valiant effort to save, but the striker hit it the other side to score. But after that soft goal, the Relics team started playing really well. Passes from Gaz and the back, from Pete, Keith and Terry were finding Dog, who was then finding Ian. It was great to watch. In fact, Dog was playing a stormer in this game, with some magic glue that meant the ball was stuck to his foot. He was teasing the Wakefield defence, and he made the first Relics goal. He dribbled past his marker, using sublime ball control and clever play, which meant another Wakefield player had to leave Ian and move to Dog, but Dog released to Ian, who shot hard and low, and into the net. 1 goal each, and a fabulous goal for the Relics. But Wakefield was also attacking well, and their strategy was to get the ball to the striker’s feet, who would just sit on the edge of the area. He got the ball with his back to goal, with a Relics defender behind him. However, he turned very sharply and hit a first time shot that was wide of Gaz and into the net. A great goal for Wakefield but not for the Relics. The end-to-end constant attacking football continued from both teams, and again it was the vision and skill of Dog, to see Ian free, and again he played a good ball, that Ian dispatched, low and hard past the despairing dive of the Wakefield keeper. That was 2-2 and a great game, but Wakefield had not finished. Whilst both Bury Relics goals were similar to each other, Wakefield’s 3rd goal was just like their second. The ball was played up to the striker on the edge of the area, with his back to goal, and in a split second, he had swiveled, made a yard of space to the side, and walloped the ball, that went in high off the far post. An unsavable shot and a great goal for Wakefield but a sucker punch for the Relics. The Relics kept fighting and attacking but the equalizer did not come; the game ended in a loss to Wakefield. However, despite the defeat, this game was fantastic to watch and the Relics fought to the end.
Bury Relics over 60’s 2-3 Wakefield

Pat wrote a nice piece after the games on WhatsApp, and I totally agree with it and almost echo all of it here. It was great to see so many people out to support Bury Relics in a tough predicament, and in such a competitive league. Every player gave 100% in effort, in an attempt to avoid the drop. Although, ultimately, they went down, they went down fighting hard and the prospects for next season look very good. Ken, Keiren and Pat did a great job of organizing and encouraging the team from the side and it was nice to see Mark P down, just after his knee operation in support. Hopefully, his recovery is complete enough for him to play in the future. Tex did a great job for filling in as keeper in the first game, making a fine save, and well done to Gaz for getting down asap, once he understood the games were on. Well done to the team for their fighting efforts, it consisted: Gaz, Tex, Keith S, Pete Shev, Terry, Ian and Gordon (Dog). Thanks to all the supporters who came, that included Mark P, Iain, Watford Mark, Carl, Jerry, Dr. John and others. Report by Dr. John.