Maghull 1 - 1 West Kirby aet 1-1 West Kirby win 3-2 on penalties
Wednesday 7th May 2014 kick off 7pm
This is my blog, I can say what I want on this and I am not censored by league politics.
No apologies whatsoever for what follows, but I will say I had massive respect for Phil Stafford and Stuart Kier prior to last nights game. For the restraint shown by both parties and applauding the victors at the end of the game, you are better men than I. Neil Blythe told me, that differing styles of play is great to watch. Seeing how teams can out fox each other etc. But when you have officials, who a) do not adhere to the rules and b) are seriously incompetent then that does not make for a good and fair game of football. Coupled with some outrageous challenges.
On the night, I didn't think we played well enough, but that has to be one of, if not, the most disgraceful refereeing performances I have ever seen. And in a final too. Was like Leeds v A C Milan all over again, though most of you are too young to remember that. No it is not the nicest way to win a trophy if a side has players sent off, but when they should be and are not....something stinks. So I will go on.....
The day started with...
Sorry lets start again.
So very, very, gutted.
I was not of the impression this was going to be a walkover. Far from it. Our opponents are worldly wise and this was a Cup Final. Their biggest game of the season. It was going to be nip and tuck, but I was confident Maghull, if they played at the top of their game, would take the spoils.
Last night was not to be our night.
I would love to paint a picture of dominance, one way traffic, West Kirby hanging on and the gods must have been on their side. In reality, in the cold light of day, if it comes down to chances created, West Kirby created more. Albeit at a time when they where chasing the game, at a goal down and time running out.
The game was controversial, in patches. Dull at times too. But two conflicting styles of play, can do that to a game.
The first half was like a game of chess. Nothing of much note, as the two sides probed away, trying to impose their own style on the game. And not surprisingly ended as a stalemate. Though not short of controversy, when the West Kirby centre forward was lucky, to say the least, not to be red carded. *It was an absolutely awful challenge. He went right over the top, no intention of playing the ball and was a leg breaker. To think he was not even yellow carded for that challenge, showed how poor the referees night was starting out. This was after ten to fifteen minutes. The linesman on our side, when I asked how he was not sent off, looked at us puzzled and surprised, shrugged his shoulders but would not actually say anything. Sometimes expressions are enough, he knew the lad should have gone.
Maghull got to grips with the occasion in the second half and began playing well. The neat passing and increasing the tempo began to cause West Kirby some problems. Though it has to be said, no clear cut openings were created. Mid way through the second half, a swift passing move finally got Colin McDonald some space in the box. He burst forward, only to be flattened by the keeper. A very poor challenge and the last man. No option but the awarding of a penalty and a red card. * How was he allowed to stay on the park ! As I said, last man anyway, but a two footed challenge that Colin was lucky to escape from. The referee let him off with a yellow card. The linesman said, I don't know, when asked, why was he not red carded, when they lined up to kick off.
The keeper, who brought down McDonald, picked the ball out of the net, as Steve Williams sent him the wrong way from the spot. The Maghull crowd went into raptures. The lead at last.
Ten days ago, the lads sort of switched off in the remaining minutes and allowed Mossley Hill to sneak a late equaliser. Professionally, they would not allow this to happen again.
To give credit where it is due, West Kirby, realising their season was soon to be over and ending poorly, fought to get back in the game. Colin McDonald was kicked when tracking a ball by the sidelines. By a player who had earlier been booked and then warned afterwards. He faced up to the throw in. * This was seen by the linesman and he said it was a good challenge and saw nothing wrong with it. Soon later, one of West Kirbys substitutes swung an elbow at Ryan Stamper. Having previously been booked. He tired in extra time. * Yet again, the linesman said he saw it, but the referee had too and it was his decision. If the referee had seen it, make of it what you will. Inept or cheating ?
Yes, we had extra time. Having sat back a little too deep for my liking and Stephen King taking a booking (within moments of having come on for Neil Storey) for a challenge on the West Kirby centre forward, Maghull started to look a little vulnerable. One man seemed to be the threat. The number six, for the opponents, had a ten minute purple patch, maybe taking a leaf out of the Tony Pulis book of football. If you play your heart out for ten minutes, you can snatch a draw. The number six seemed to have a one on one duel with Lee Carrol and Lee was coming out on top.West Kirby did their best to try and get Danny Dillon sent off in a silly old handbags at dawn commotion. Then two minutes from time, another effort from the number six seemed to get the better of him. Still not sure how he scored, but score he did. Extra time saw him leave the fray pretty early on. Shattered !
The extra thirty minutes was pretty uneventful to be honest. Though we did think Ryan Stamper had won it for us, when his effort from the edge of the box beat the keeper, but was cleared off the line by a despairing lunge. and West Kirby brought Lee Carrol, literally to his knees with a save by his left hand post. and spot the referee, who continued to wear his all black kit, despite West Kirby playing in all black, apart from three white stripes down the front of their shirts. * How an official can honestly think that wearing colours, so obviously the same as one of the sides, is fine, is beyond me. It was bad enough in the light, but when the floodlights came on, it was ridiculous. We where not playing at Wembley or Old Trafford here, it was Cammell Lairds for gods sake. The lights are not that good.
But that was it. The dreaded penalties. * But let us not forget, in the first period of extra time, the West Kirby keeper made an error and carried the ball out of play. He threw a fit and lashed the ball away. He was already on a yellow card, remember... the referee was too concerned with the West Kirby players surrounding him for giving him the corner and the mind games and the covert op worked, as he didn't even speak to the keeper. The linesman ? Agreed with me that throwing the ball away is a yellow card offence. This cat (keeper) really did have nine lives.
Rob Dutton saw his penalty saved... in all fairness, it was a tremendous save by the keeper. Then Lee Carrol saved. Paul Jackson stroked his home off the inside of the post and West Kirby levelled. Steve Williams smashed home and then we were level again. John Hastings, I felt a little quickly, went up and saw his effort sail over the bar and the pressure was back on. Lee Carrol did the honours and kept the scores level at 2-2, with a save down to his right. Danny Dillon had his effort saved, but this time Carrol could not keep out the spot kick and it was all over. The double was gone.
The zero to hero keeper, who should not have been on the pitch, saved two penalties. That is sometimes the hand that fate deals you lads !
Ok a Final was lost, in strange circumstances. And deep down, I think you will know, that eleven Maghull lads on top form, would have had more than enough to win comfortably. But that's football. If not on top form, teams can upset the apple cart.
Next game : - who knows....
Have a great summer lads, you all deserve it. And remember when you come back for pre season, everyone will want to beat you. That is what being Champions brings.
From your erstwhile moaner and match reporter extraodinaire, George and I am sure every single supporter, I will say THANK YOU to every single player and Phil and Stuart and the backroom team, for a brilliant seasons entertainment. Cant wait till next season already.
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