Pharmacy2u WFA Regional, North West (East) Final

Bury Relics over 65’s vs. Kingsmaid
What a fabulous occasion for the Bury Relics over 65’s team? Following a solid spring league season, where they finished runners up, the team had also reached the final of the Pharmacy2u cup. The run to the final was impressive, with wins over Winstanley and Oakwood, with Relics producing some great football in both games. Now it was the final, and a sizeable group of Bury Relics staff and fans had turned out to watch. Before the game, Ken and Pat the Cat were putting the team through a typical Friday morning training session warm up, that also included some passing and ball control practice. Meanwhile, Keiren was warming the hands and preparing Gaz the keeper for the match. Not to disappoint anyone, the usual Heywood inclement weather had not let us down, and had turned up with the usual clouds and rain. No road-work hindrance was experienced getting to the game. Bury Relics were in the White kit, and Kingsmaid were in a purple colour. 

First half.
The referee did a small pre-game presentation and speech, so that all players were absolutely clear on what all the rules of the game were. From the KO, the Relics kept possession well, for a total of 9 passes, culminating with Jomo getting into an advanced position, right hand side of the area. However, the pass to him was slightly too hard, and the ball ran out of play. Nevertheless, that was a tidy start for the Relics. Then it was Kingsmaids first move, which was incisive, with only 3 passes around the team, and then the striker used his guile to get a quick shot off, that Gaz had to get quickly down to; a good save. As the match developed, a theme was evident; every time Kingsmaid got the ball, they were playing it straight up to their #77 striker, who on almost all occasions tried to take Peter on, using skill and a bit of pace to try and make shots. However, as is his specialty, Pete was defending well and repelling most of #77’s shots. Relics first shot came from a free-kick, that was laid off and hit quickly by John W, but too high. Kingsmaid replied with a good move, involving several passes and moving, until the striker hit a great ball between 2 Relics players, that found their right winger in space, who hit his shot hard but wide of the far post. A decent chance for Kingsmaid that. Tex makes a good interception from a Kingsmaid pass, then feeds Stuart, who then passes to Jomo. He considers his options, and the good movement by John W, lets Jomo set him up for a good shot. The shot is hard but the keeper is right behind it and makes a save. Another multi-pass move by the Relics sees John W have a hard shot, however, on this occasion, one of the Relics players was done for running. A good move by Kingsmaid ends up with their #77 striker holding the ball up, in an advanced position, and then playing an accurate pass to an onrushing midfielder, who hits a powerful shot, at about waist height. However, Gaz was alert and made a good save, diving to his right. Through the game, John W had picked up a couple of offences for robust tackling and a lung busting walk/trot down the left, made the referee blow his whistle and issue him a blue card. Now the Relics had to play for 2 minutes with a player down. Amazingly, Kingsmaid hardly had a touch during this 2 minute spell, with intelligent play from all Relics players. John W then came back on and the half finished with Kingsmaid on the attack. A snapshot from #77 produced a save from Gaz, and as the corner was taken, the half time whistle went. This was a good half of football for the Relics; in terms of passing and moving, Bury had more of the play, but on the flip side, Kingsmaid had made more shots and Gaz more saves.

Second half.
Bury’s first attack of the second half, saw Tex play a great pass down the righthand side, which found Stewart free. His shot was powerful, low and on target but the keeper was equal to it. Soon after, Kingsmaid put the ball out for a Bury kick-in, and John W played a one-two with Stewart. John was quick-thinking and hit a first time shot from Stewart’s return pass; the keeper had to make a full-stretched dive to his left, to save a certain goal. Was a great effort from a long way out. Kingsmaid intercepted from the subsequent Bury corner but and played it forward quickly; however, their #77 was adjudged to have ran when taking on Peter for a shot. The subsequent Bury move ended in a free-kick to Kingsmaid for running. Rain had started pouring down with a harder intensity and Bury made a stray pass that was cut out and played up-front for Kingsmaid. The striker was challenged by 3 Bury players, who got the ball safely to Gaz in goal, but the referee saw an infringement and it was a free-kick to Kingsmaid. Disaster struck from the free-kick, where their tall centre back, #64, took his time before playing the ball to the right-hand side of the area. The striker, #77, moved from the left towards the ball, and in what seemed like slow motion, turned following the movement of the ball, and hit a first time shot on the turn. The ball arrowed straight at the diving Gaz, through his legs and into the net. There was not enough time for Gaz to react and get down to it properly, as the shot was right on the edge of the area. A sucker punch for the Relics who had played well up to now; it was now 1-0 to Kingsmaid. The goal changed to the dynamic of the game; Kingsmaid could relax and take more time in possession, whereas Bury had to press and try and win possession back. Jomo almost played pass of the match in the next Bury attack. The ball had been played around the team, and Tex had seen an opportunity of open space on the right side. Jomo looked up and played a great ball across, but unfortunately a Kingsmaid leg managed to get a foot on it. Bury were pressing well now and forcing Kingsmaid into mistakes, where Stewart produced a smart turn and shot, that was just wide of the lefthand post. A 10-pass move from Kingsmaid followed, with passes both forward and back, trying to manage the game. Jomo managed to intercept to end this move. Kingsmaid subsequent move lead to a free-kick, which they laid off into midfield, and a shot that went high and wide of Gaz’s goal. Bury piled forward and momentarily lost possession, until Jomo made a great battling challenge. He immediately played the ball forward, where Stewart was lingering, but the ball was closer to the defender, who managed to clear. However, Stewart was committed to the challenge, and ran into the defender, who’s elbow ended up in Stewart’s chest. It was hard to tell if there was any intent from the defender, and Stewart was momentarily down but soon back on his feet, being the warrior he is. Kingsmaid pressed forward from the freekick but lost possession and Relics again tried to find an opening. No luck this time, and Kingsmaid had a breakaway attack following an interception. The Kingsmaid player was running, so no danger. A substitution for Bury was made, with Alan replacing Peter. Alan was straight into the action, by nicely setting up John W for a snap shot, that was saved by their keeper. Both teams made chances but the shots were going wide or over, but this was a prequel to the second sucker punch. Bury were on the attack, when the referee saw a Bury player running. From the resulting freekick, the ball was played to #77, who controlled the ball, turned to face the defender, move the ball to the left, dummy to shoot, before moving the ball further wide of the defender, then shooting to the left, past a stranded keeper. That was 2-0 to Kingsmaid and things were looking bleak for the Relics in rainy conditions. However, the second goal had the effect of super charging the Relics efforts to press Kingsmaid more and to make goal scoring chances. With the Relics on the attack, a misplaced pass gave Kingsmaid possession, and as before, a quick pass was played directly up to #77 up-front. He again used his guile and close foot control to make space for a shot, that was again wide of the outstretched arms of Gaz in goal, to make it 3-0 to Kingsmaid. Bury were not lying down and were going all out for pride, to get at least 1 goal back. The Relics were pressing all the Kingsmaids players, who were trying to manage the game by playing the ball around. They sometimes were taking advantage of the rule, that pass-backs to the goalie are allowed but to be fair, they did not use that too often, and would play it forward if the opportunity was there. Bury continued to toil and press, and eventually their efforts were rewarded by a stout challenge and shot by Stewart, that had such power that, even though it hit the keeper, the spin on the shot took the ball into the net; the Relics fans cheered and it was now 3-1. The game continued with the same pattern but the Relics did not create any clear-cut chances, and it finished with the result of 3-1 to Kingsmaid.

Well done to the Bury Relics team today, although the result was a 3-1 loss, we can still hold our heads high with pride, as this was against a very good team. The difference between the teams on the day was that they had a very good in-form centre forward, who scored all 3 of Kingsmaids goals. That said, up until they scored, Bury had the more fluid passing moves and were probably the better team. On a different day, the result could have been different. Well done to Bury for a valiant effort and it was already a tremendous achievement to reach the final. There was a big turn out of supporters and Bury staff did a good job of organizing and managing the team, including: Pat the Cat, Keiren, Keith S and Ken. Thanks to everyone who turned up to support Bury. The team consisted: John W, John M (Jomo), Stewart, Peter S, Tex, Gaz the Keeper and Alan. Thanks to Nikon Nev for the pictures and Keith B for his notes; Match report by Dr. John.