Maghull 1 - 1 Heswall
Monday 29th April 2013 kick off 6.45pm
The English weather decided to throw it's might at us for our last game of the season. Blinding sunlight, coupled with lashings of rain and a chill that would have the Fox's glacier mint bear looking for some warmth.
Together, with seeing how many players where missing (Connor Wright made his first team bow from the Youth Team, as a second half substitute) and it being a probable, dull, end of season of season fixture, that I would have been well within my rights to have stayed in the nearby Asda and stalked the delightful, curly haired blonde who was behind me in the queue.
But we where pleasantly suprised.
A thoroughly entertaining encounter took place. With a credit to both sides for putting on such a good show, with nothing at all at stake.
Ok, I am quite biased and feel we could have won this confortably, but given the circumstances, maybe a draw was the correct result.
The first half ebbed and flowed nicely. Heswall (who had been given a guard of honour prior to the game, in acknowledgment of them becoming champions) started the brighter. Maghull finally got into there stride and began to impose themselves on the game, even taking control in periods and showing some great passing movements.
The only shame was that the linesmen (ok referee's assistants) seemed intent on giving offside on as many occasions as possible. One given against Heswall was, laughable, with at least four Maghull defenders keeping the opposition forward onside. But it worked both ways and it did not take away the good football on show, or ruin a very good half of football.
Needless to say, the teams went into the break level.
The hope was that another 45 minutes of good football would keep us warm and entertained. We where not to be disappointed. Maghull, whose side was a mere shadow of the team that gained a point at Heswall seven days earlier, took command of the game. The Champions were a constant threat on the break, but class performances by Neil McNabb and Rob Dutton, as a makeweight centre back pairing, kept the scoreline blank.
Unfortunately, it was from one of these breakways, after some intense pressure in the Heswall box, that the opening goal came. Neil McNabb having been judged to have handled inside the box. His hand was up, in the referee's defence, but the ball clearly struck his knee and not his hand. As much as we felt badly treated, it is pretty rare to see the officials change their mind. And on this occasion, he didn't either. Player of the season Mark Mawdsley went one way, the ball went the other and we where one down from a disputed penalty. And much against the run of play.
It was not a case of upping the pace, because the lads had performed brilliantly throughout. We just needed a slice of luck. This showing, after the Heswall keeper had pulled off a second top notch save from Mick McGinn, the same player also seeing a clever drive come back off the base of the post. The introduction of Connor Wright, brought some width and pace to the latter stages and he certainly did not look out of his depth at this level.
All looked lost, a gallant performance was to yield nothing and would have been massively disheartening for all concerned. But, you know these lads, they love late goals and they came up trumps yet again. A fine ball by Mark Mawdsley reached Steve Williams, who calmly, rolled a ball through the Heswall defence for the onrushing Mick McGinn, who side footed into the far corner and we where all square again. What made it all the better, was that it turned out to be the last touch by a Maghull player this season. Time was allowed only for the restart and the season came to an end and on a massive high.
A cracking spectacle, both sides wanting the win, yet a share of the spoils was probably fair. If I take my biased hat off. Still wondering who that blonde was though.
A great end to the season (Blacon excepted) and hopefully lot's for Steve to work with for a new and exciting season ahead.
The whole club is behind Steve and his lads and feel very confident that with a pre-season under his belt and after the hard work done this season, he will get Maghull back into the respectable league position we expect. Challenging for honours.
Next game : Not a clue... but probably in July sometime and hopefully warmer.
Thanks everyone for putting up with my drivel this season. Hope you have had a moment or two's fun along the way. And look forward to annoying Steve again next season. If you ever want to comment and don't want to do it here, all reports are open to the world on http://sportwitness.ning.com/profile/LennieMcQueen
Have a great summer one and all.
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