A concrete and resolute performance for the over 60s whites October fixtures

The night before; there was a quick tap on the smart phone and a weather app checked; it predicted only a 7% chance of precipitation and potential 50KmH wind gusts at Heywood tomorrow. On the day and on arrival, there was no rain nor was there too much wind; it was good conditions for the over 60s whites to continue their bid for promotion back to the first division. Plenty of Bury Relics supporters had turned up to support the whites and it was nice to see some players who have been missing recently while recovering from injuries.

Bury Relics vs. Bolton
The first game was against Bolton, who looked to be sporting a new bright kit that probably can be seen all the way from Mars. The starting formation was as follows: Graham up-front, Gordon and Ian in the middle, Keith S (The Wall) and Wayne at the back, and Steady Eddy in goal. Duracell Alan as a sub. The no-nonsense Ref gets the first fixture of Bolton underway, and quickly there is an attack from Bolton down the left-hand side, which results in a shot across Eddy’s goal, but wide. Then it’s a good bit of skill by Keith S, on Bury’s left, to skip past his marker and play the ball inside to Graham. Good play but the pass was just too high, and a free-kick. Then, as time elapses, Bolton turn up the heat and start to pressure the Relics but without making any clear shooting chances. This was because the Relics were stout and resolute, not giving Bolton players any opportunity to shoot or space. This culminates in a good block from Wayne, and a head-high free-kick. Bolton play the ball forward to their #10, who for the first time, makes a good turn and gains half a yard; the shot is fortunately wide. Then the Relics have a spell of possession, and a trip on Graham brings a free-kick. The free-kick is played to Graham, who wastes no time in turning and shooting. The ball is heading towards goal, bouncing several times on the way, but it is just millimetres wide past the post. Their keeper was nowhere near covering that, it would have been a great goal. Then, good play again by the Relics, The Wall makes a good interception, and plays the ball to Ian, who then plays a one-two with Graham. However, the return pass to Ian is just too far out of his reach and the ball evades Ian and out for a kick-in. Bolton go back on the attack, and that produces some great defensive work by Wayne, who sticks to their #10 as if he is his shadow. He tries to get away from Wayne, by traversing across the area but Wayne sticks with him, and there is no chance of a shot because of Wayne’s determination. Then, SOLID by the Wall again, blocking a powerful Bolton shot. The ball is played back in to their #10, who Wayne is marshalling again, and #10 tries to back Wayne into the area. Luckily, the Ref is alert to it and gives Relics possession. Then it’s the Relics turn to attack, with passes from Ian to Gordon, then to Graham, and then a shot. On this occasion, the shot is deflected for a kick-in. From the kick-in, Ian receives the ball with his back to goal, on the left, and swivels at pace to quickly shoot. The keeper reacts quickly enough to make a save but it was quick thinking and a good effort by Ian. Bolton reply by getting the ball forward to their #10, who gets a shot away but Eddy is there to save it. Their #10 is a good outlet for Bolton, and he’s having a good battle with Wayne, who again makes a block on a #10 shot. The game concludes with a 0 – 0 draw. This was the first game, so both teams were fresh and cancelled each other out a bit. Both had some half chances but nobody had an absolute clear-cut chance to score. Bolton are a fit and skilled team, so this was a good result for the Relics, who played well themselves.
Result, Bury Relics 0 – 0 Bolton

Bury Relics vs. Preston
Just prior to the beginning of the game, there is a negotiation and discussion as to who should put Bibs on to counter the white colour clash between teams. It is suggested that Preston play in skins, but after brief consideration of this, Preston decided to put on green bibs. Early in the game, a free-kick is awarded to Bury and the ball is played to Ian, who hits a very hard toe-bunger, that was traveling fast, towards to the top right-hand corner but it’s just over. Preston then attack via a skilful midfielder who tries to turn this way and that, to fool the Relics defence. But Bury intercept and attack, to win a corner. From the corner, the ball is worked back to Graham, who is now just passed the halfway line. He, surprisingly, takes a speculative shot from distance, and it turns out a good effort, just whistling past a post. Preston’s keeper might have struggled to save that if it was on target; it was well struck. There is a substitution by Preston; their Talisman Ray appears to have pulled a muscle and is replaced. The next passage of play nearly produces a goal for Preston. They make a good multi-pass move that ends up with a shot that Eddy well saves. However, his distribution out from the save is promptly intercepted and Preston get another shot away. Luckily, the 2nd shot by Preston is wide. Then, Preston’s silky midfielder gains possession and goes on a mazy run, passed 2 Relics players. It’s a great move, and he does well to take on the Relics defence. However, relief, as Eddy is quickly down to save the shot. On the subsequent Relics possession, a great ball from Ian is played to Graham, who is up-front. He takes a good shot and the keeper saves it, with the ball rebounding out of the area. In the Preston panic, a defender puts a toe into the area, which is spotted by the Ref; it’s a penalty to Bury. Our midfielder steps up and hits a low penalty, to the keepers right. On this occasion, the keeper is alert and gets down quickly to make the save. From the save, the ball is heading out of the area but the Relics player is too eager and encroaches into the area himself, trying to score the follow up. The game remained goalless. Then there is almost a delicious move by the Relics, starting with Graham playing a forward pass to Ian, who is advanced but marked. Ian holds the ball up well, delaying until he sees movement by Gordon, who had got into a shooting position. However, a Preston defender is alert enough to anticipate the pass, and intercepts. It was a nice build up by the Relics. Preston lose the ball again, and it’s another well-worked effort by the Relics. After several passes, the ball eventually arrives with Graham, who lays off to Wayne. He takes a good side-foot shot, on target, but the Preston keeper gets down to make the save. Preston responded by working the ball forward and creating a half chance for their striker to shoot; Eddy is behind it to make a comfortable save. Then comes a great goal by the Relics; Gordon receives a pass from Ian on the right side, but he has to use sublime control to skip past an opponent. He then spots Wayne free on the other side of the pitch. The pass is perfect and Wayne hits a magnificent first time shot, that arrows, low, across to the opposite side of the goal at speed. The keeper was nowhere near it, what a marvellous strike that was! The Bury supporters make a noise. Play continues and Alan makes a good move down the right-hand side and crosses the ball; good play but nobody there to make a shot. Preston go in search of an equalizer and on 3 different attacks, their possession ends up at Ray’s feet. On each occasion, he takes on a defender and tries to shoot. Luckily for the Relics, none were on target but Wayne was doing a good job of marking him, making the shots difficult. This game was more open than the previous and the Relics scored a blinding goal to win it.
Result, Bury Relics 1 – 0 Preston

Bury Relics vs. Carlisle
Carlisle kick-off and start brightly, with incisive passing giving their #2 a shooting opportunity on the left-hand side. He shoots hard and low across the goal, with Eddy scrawling to make the save. Eddy had it covered as the ball went out for a goal-kick but that was dangerous though. Duracell Alan is in the thick of the action immediately and decides to give an opponent a high-jump lesson. There was minimal contact but the Carlisle player went for an artistic dive. Everyone were laughing when someone suggested he should be called Tom Daly for his elegant dive. But it is a serious business and a free-kick to Carlisle. This comes to nothing, and Keith S plays a good ball to Gordon on the left. He changes up a gear and moves forward past a defender, to give himself space for a shot. However, the Ref is not happy at the speed of the move and it’s a running free-kick. Then great play by “The Wall” that is Keith S! Their #5 receives the ball, with Keith in close attendance, and tries to turn and shoot. Keith is stuck to him like glue, and makes a great crunching block, for the ball to go out for a corner. The acoustics of that crunch tells you the reason why Keith is called the Wall. Bury deal with the corner well, and the ball ends up at Ian’s feet in midfield. He controls the ball, and in his mind, he is thinking about keeping the ball away from his marker, whilst looking for forward passing options. He “Eagle” eyes Graham, in a bit of space up-front, and threads a magnificent ball through to him, with sublime precision. A great ball! Graham responds to that, with a sharp turn and shot. It’s close but the keeper is quickly down to make a save. Then, Carlisle attack and The Wall makes another important tackle to regain possession. This time the Relics get It forward to Ian, who shoots but it’s not accurate enough to score. Ian again is in the action, as Carlisle perform a good passing move, that leaves their #2 on the left in 3 yards of space. They get the ball to him, but Ian is alert to the danger and tries to close the shooting space down. This was probably enough to put the shooter in 2 minds, and the ball sails way over the bar. But Bury lose possession quickly and Carlisle play a good one-two, getting their #7 up-front in space, who turns on a sixpence and puts in a good shot that just misses wide. That was close and dangerous. A free-kick to Bury and the ball is played to Graham, who hits a tremendous shot, that their keeper just manages to save. On the subsequent Carlisle attack, they score but it’s a scruffy and horrible goal to concede from a Relics perspective. Initially, a needless foul is given away by the Relics in midfield, which incidentally put the Relics on 3 fouls. Then, from the freekick, it was ping-pong between the Relics defenders and the Carlisle players. Eventually, the ball reaches their #7, who rifles a shot from distance, through a crowd of players and past Eddy into the goal. Eddy did not have the time to respond, as there were lots of players obstructing his view. Their #7 hit it sweetly but the build-up was a scramble and the Relics should have cleared; 1-0 to Carlisle. Carlisle attack again after the restart, and it’s their #2 who is in acres of space on the Relics left. He’s shouting for the ball and he gets the pass, but the Wall gets close enough to him, to put him off his shot. Eddy passes out to Graham, who plays the ball off to Gordon on the left, with space in front of him. However, like earlier, the Ref adjudges Gordon to have run to reach the ball. On the line, there is now a bit of nervous panic, as we had counted 4 fouls, but alas, all was good as one of the earlier offence must not have been counted. A touch of fortune there, we got away with one. And the good fortune continues as in the next passage of play, one of the Carlisle players steps into the penalty area, by a good foot. Well spotted Ref, and Graham steps up to take the penalty. It’s an excellent penalty, low, to the keepers right. The keeper had gambled and gone the opposite way. And that concludes the action from that game. Carlisle had more shots than Bury that I would term dangerous but Bury kept on going and eventually that paid off.
Result, Bury 1 – 1 Carlisle

Bury Relics vs. Blackpool
From the kick-off, Bury are quickly on the attack and create a chance to shoot, but it’s ricochets out for a corner. “Oh, I Say! What a great goal!” Ian runs over to take the corner and quickly spots Graham in space on the edge of the area, unmarked. He then swiftly delivers an astute, low and hard corner across the area that is hit first time by Graham. It arrows into the net, past a hapless Blackpool goalkeeper, who had not yet set himself for the corner. Blackpool were completely unprepared for that corner, and Ian and Graham’s quick thinking and execution gave the Relics a 1-0 lead. Blackpool try to immediately reply that starts with an interception by their #7. This gives them an opportunity on the right-hand side and the shot is made, but Eddie’s gets down to save with his feet. It’s a good save, and it looks like he has super and sublime brain capacity as the ball is catapulted at pace, perfectly, to Graham’s feet, as if he had played that on purpose. In any case, it looked great. Then there is a good passage of play that includes passing between Ian, Graham and finally Duracell Alan, who has the space to shoot; he does so and it looks to be heading into the top corner, but it just goes too high and wide. Not a goal but a good effort nonetheless from the industrious Duracell. Head-height freekick and on Blackpool’s next attack, Graham manages to intercept but he is surrounded by Blackpool men, so he passes it back to Eddy but the pace on the pass takes it out for a corner. Bury now show their resilience by not giving a Blackpool 1 inch of room or clear path to goal. However, a Blackpool midfielder works a yard of space, just past the halfway line, and hits a low and powerful shot on the outside of his right foot. The ball whistles past the post at high velocity and it is questionable whether Eddy could have saved that if it was on target; that was a good effort from a long way out. As the Relics regain possession and attack, a shot is deflected and trickles through to their goalkeeper. However, the keeper is not careful enough with his subsequent distribution and only finds Graham with his throw-out. Graham is clean through, one on one with the keeper and tries one of his typical finishes. This involves bamboozling the keeper with a faint, which makes the keeper go to ground, and either dink the ball over the top, or side step the keeper to score into an empty net. On this occasion the dink finish was selected, but unfortunately it was just too close to the keeper. That was close and a good effort by Graham, who’s bright alertness gave him the chance to begin with. And the keeper plays another risky ball out for Blackpool, and Graham uses intricate skill to bring a difficult interception under control; he then passes to Gordon, who expertly lays the ball into the path of an onrushing Wayne, but his first-time shot is sliced out for a kick-in. The subsequent passage of play results in a sucker punch to the Relics. Their big #24 comes on as a sub, and from the kick-in, a ball is played to his feet up-front, with one Relics defender behind him. He’s a big strong lad and uses his strength and long reach to turn wide of his marker and gain half a yard, and to hit a low and powerful shot across Eddy and into the goal. The turn and shot happened in a split second of time and, to be fair, it was a terrific goal for Blackpool. Eddy had no chance. That evened the score at 1-1. Then striker #24 is at it again, but this time Wayne is fully plugged in and switched on, to make a vital block on the strikers shot. Great defending! Bury now pour forward, looking for a winner but it’s Blackpool who turn possession over, and are on the attack with 3 attackers vs. 2 Bury defenders. The Blackpool midfielder selects to play a square ball, to #24 striker in space, who hits a powerful effort, high over Eddy and makes the goal posts look like a tuning fork, from impact reverberation. The Refs gives head height but if a bit lower, it was 2-1 to Blackpool. We were now under the Cosh a bit as this time the #24 striker turns provider and lays it off to a midfielder, who hits a good shot that Eddy is equal to, and makes a good save. Bury lose possession again, and it’s their #24 again, who receives the ball and is faced by Ian. He does not give an inch of space, and blocks the strikers shot; more stern and good defending by the Relics. The final moments see the Relics on the attack, searching for an elusive winner. It begins with a shot from Graham, and Bury winning a head-height free-kick, which sets up a pattern of play. I can picture an alarm clock and Bill Murray waking up; Bury were awarded 4 free-kicks in succession, all for head-height, where the free-kick was laid off and someone would hit a shot, which would be blocked for another head high free-kick and so on. The Ground Hog day ends with a final free-kick that nearly produces a goal. The ball is played back to Graham, who rifles a shot that deflects off a defender again, but this time the direction is low to the keepers right. It’s going in but the Blackpool keeper redeems himself from earlier with an excellent save to his right, palming the ball wide of the post, following an agile dive. Bury were very close to scoring then but for a fantastic save. That was the last action of the day, a good game and probably a fair result of 1-1.
Result, Bury Relics 1 – 1 Blackpool

The team for the day was: Eddy in goal, Keith S (The Wall), Graham, Wayne, Ian, Gordon and Alan B. The management: Ken and Keiren. Thank you to Kodak Keith for the pictures. Report by Dr. John.