Apparently, a mini-heatwave is predicted for this weekend, and it had made an early start at Heywood today, ergo there was not the usual wind and rain that usually greets us. Hopefully, this was a prelude to good football. This was the final set of spring league fixtures for the stipes over 60’s team but it was down to a skeleton squad due to injury and holidays. Alan from Manchester Corinthians was drafted in, which had a bit of fortune attached to it; Corinthians were due to train today but only 6 had turned up, so they abandoned training and Keith S/Ken managed to grab Alan to help the Relics out. Plenty of supporters had turned up to see if the Relics can take the runners up spot in the division.
Bury Relics over 60’s Stripes versus Ribble Valley WFC.
Bury started well by passing accurately and moving into space, and were able to string 6 or 7 pass moves together, involving all of the out-field team. Keith B was given the role of fulcrum up-front, always been available, ahead of their last defender, and then laying off the ball back into the midfield. All players were passing well, with Corinth Alan controlling the ball and passing off to John, Bury Alan or Mark. The missing ingredient for the Relics was creating clear-cut space to shoot, which was down to good man marking by the Ribble. When the Ribble did manage to intercept, they were trying to shoot quickly, and one good shot, Eddy had to make a good save by diving across goal, with an agile dive to his left, and pushing the ball around the post and out for a corner. The corner came to nothing and Bury regained possession, and were probing around the Ribble defence; again the passing was good, involving all Bury players but it was difficult to find a shooting opportunity. Eventually, Ribble regained possession via a kick-in on the left-hand side, that found their striker in a bit of space on the edge of the area. He controlled the ball, and took a shot low to Eddy the keepers left and into the net. Disaster? Almost, but Eddy was immediately claiming the ball had run into the area prior to the striker hitting it, and the referee backed up his claim by awarding a keeper’s ball and not a goal. That was a close call as it was on the line, and a let-off for the Relics. On the subsequent Relics possession, an attempted interception by Ribble resulted in an over the head free-kick to the Relics. John H was on the ball, as he quickly took the free-kick that found Bury Alan in space up-front, but alas, the Ref was not ready and it had to be re-taken. That was good quick thinking by John H. The free-kick ended in a turn-over in possession to Ribble, and they moved the ball forward to their striker, who again was in front of his marker to have the opportunity to shoot; and again, Eddy made a save, but it was more straight forward this time. Just before half time, Bury Alan did some nice play; he managed to make a good last-ditch interception-tackle on the edge of the Bury area, and then dragged the ball back with skill to swerve away from the Ribble attacker and finally play the ball wide to John H in space. A superb bit of skill and play. Following half-time, the pattern of play was similar, with Bury Relics passing around well, and now with substitute Watford Mark creating space on the wings, but without making any clear-cut chances. Also similar to the first half, the Ribble were periodically regaining possession and shooting early. But none of those shots troubled Eddy in goal and the game played out to a goalless draw.
Bury Relics over 60’s Stripes 0 – 0 Ribble Valley WFC.
Bury Relics over 60’s Stripes versus Wakefield Wanderers Whites.
Ken’s in between game talk probably included something about taking more shots, as Bury had very few against the Ribble, and early on, there was a good strike by Alan B. From an Eddy throw out, Mark T received the ball on the right hand side, and used some good skill to move past his marker and play a pass inside to Corinthians Alan. He moved forward with the ball until confronted by a Wakefield defender. He turned and saw Alan B with a bit of space in front of him, so Corinth Alan played an inviting ball to Alan B, who on the move hit a very powerful shot. In terms of power, it was magnificent but in terms of accuracy, it was high and off target and even cleared the fence behind the goal. A few chuckles and the words “AV IT” were heard but it was a good effort by the Relics, who had been a bit shot shy in the first game. With the ball lost over the fence; an innocent woman civilian was happily carrying her shopping home, but was kind enough to stop, put her bags down and throw the ball over the fence, which was applauded by players and spectators. The subsequent passage of play led to the first goal of the match, to Wakefield. Although the Relics won the ball back through Watford Mark, the next passing move by the Relics, moved the team forward but with leaving their striker stood with about 3 metres of space between him and the last Relics defender (goal side). An interception was made by Wakefield and a quick pass to their striker, who plays a bit Podolsky, had time to pick his spot and scored low into the net, with Eddy having little chance of saving it. This made the Relics more determined to make good passes and find an opening for an equalizer. However, as the game progressed, Wakefield were picking up running and bad tackle offences as they tried to quell Relics attacks. It was not long before it was a penalty to the Relics for a fourth foul. An interesting situation then occurred, where Eddy the keeper confidently wanted to take the penalty. The Ref allowed this but it seemed he was not sure of all the rules with it. A conversation ensued between the referee and Eddy about the one step rule. However, at this moment, there was a bit of confusion as to what happens if the ball rebounds out and still live, back into play. In any case, Eddy confidently dispatches the penalty, mid height, to the keepers right. The keeper made a good effort to save, and got his hands to the ball. However, the power that Eddy had put into the shot, meant the keeper just diverted the ball high into the net instead of saving it (see the video below). A fabulous equalizer for the Relics. However, the penalty saga was not over yet, see below. Meanwhile, in another area of Manchester, Dr. Smith told Pat the cat to relax, as he lay inside a large tube of an MRI scanner. The doctor turned away, and then heard a patter of footsteps, but ignored it as this was probably just the nurse moving to her station. He commanded the nurse to start the MRI scanner; lots of wiring and electric sounds began. Back in the game at Heywood, the Relics were again passing the ball around accurately but without creating too many chances. Then, in an almost carbon copy of Wakefield’s first goal, their striker was left alone, in space, on the edge of Eddy’s area. An interception and a pass was made to him. This time, the striker tried to hit it high into Eddy’s net but got his bearings wrong, with the ball flying well over the top. That was close and a let off for the Relics. Neither team had any further clear cut shooting opportunities in the game, and it finished a 1 all draw. Following the game, and a conversation with the referee, it was discovered that if the ball had rebounded back into play, then it will immediately be a penalty to the opposition, as the goalkeeper penalty taker is out of his area. That rule appears extraordinary and probably needs to be looked at by the league, as it effectively means a goalkeeper can’t take a penalty. Elsewhere, Dr. Smith looked very puzzled, following Pat the Cat’s MRI scan, as there appeared to be nothing on the scan picture. That was because Pat had done a runner to Heywood, to help out the depleted squad. He was putting his shin pads on in the build up to the next match against Winstanley. Pat had heard the conversation about the goalkeeper and penalties, and came up with a genius idea of changing goalkeepers if another penalty happens.
Bury Relics over 60’s Stripes 1 – 1 Wakefield Wanderers Whites.
Bury Relics over 60’s Stripes versus Winstanley Walkers.
This was a high-stakes game, against the champions elect. The Relics needed to win, or at least draw to have a good chance of finishing second in the league. However, that was no easy task, as Winstanley have been very good, and I understood were in top place already; they will be wanting to cement their place as champions. Winstanley started the game well, finding their #9 striker up-front, who fired just high and wide of Eddy’s goal. Keith B, like he had been doing all day, was finding space up-front, and holding up the ball brilliantly, and looking for support from midfield. Both the Alans and Mark were trying to provide it for him. However, as in earlier games, the Relics were finding it hard to just get that clear bit of space, so that a shot can trouble their keeper. Winstanley were making chances and then disaster strook. In a previous game against Winstanley, Eddy was beaten by the spin of the ball after making a save. The almost exact same thing happened here again. Their striker shot powerfully, and Eddy made a cat like dive to stop the ball reaching the net, but the power and angle of incidence on Eddy’s hand, took the ball up and down quicky, onto his heel, and then into the net. Very unlucky that, and a 1 – 0 lead to Winstanley. However, the Relics were not giving up, and were passing around well and trying to create shooting chances. During this time, Winstanley were racking up the fouls, and soon it was a penalty to the Relics. Ken, the manager, had a decision to make; should Eddy take this one, as he did before, but this time putting John H in goal? Or should an outfield player take it? Ken was decisive and a bit like Sergeant Grim from the Thin Blue Line; “We’re not doing anything Hoity Toity or Amby Pamby, Alan, you take it!”. Alan B did as he was told but unfortunately for the Relics, his penalty was just too high, but only by a whisker. Bury Relics toiled hard to try and get back into the game but Winstanley were resolute, and that penalty opportunity was the best chance the Relics had in the game. It was a good game, both teams playing well, but the result was a 1 – 0 loss to Winstanley.
Bury Relics over 60’s Stripes 0 – 1 Winstanley Walkers.
A steady inaugural season for the Bury Relics over 60’s stripes. In the end, Wakefield took the runners up spot, courtesy of scoring 1 more goal than the Relics did. So close to being runners up, but hopefully the Relics can do better next season. Under the adverse circumstances today, the scratch team put together did very well. A special mention and thank you to several men: Alan from Corinthians, playing at very short notice and doing well, Pat for abandoning his MRI scan and scrambling down to Heywood, ready to help the team, and Nev for his tigger like enthusiasm. Even though he’s been injured, he’s been down to watch all fixtures since and helped out by taking great photos. Not forgetting Keith B, who did a fantastic job up-front today, even though he plays for the over 70s. The efforts put in by all the team have been excellent, and if I remember right, only 3 players have played most games this season: Watford Mark, Andy R and Eddy the keeper. So many changes through the season’s fixtures. Ken and Keith S did a good job of guiding and organizing the team, as usual. Today’s squad consisted: Eddy the Keeper, Alan B, Mark T, Watford Mark, John “bobble hat” H, Keith B and Corinthians Alan. Thanks to Nikon Nev for the photos and all the supporters who turned up, that included Terry. Match report by Dr. John.
A montage of moments from Bury vs. Ribble click-here.
Eddy’s penalty vs. Wakefield click-here
For all the GMWFL Spring 2022 fixtures, results and league tables, see the Match Centre page here