Maghull 2 - 2 Upton AA
Wednesday 24th April 2013 kick off 6.45pm
Ok, when did the Lord Mayor show up ?
I think I have been pretty fair with the lads this season. Even when we have found ourselves at a pretty low ebb, a search has been on for the chink of light, that spark that will ignite our nights and bring three precious points to the cause, that we all strive for. Praise was thrown on the team after those sterling performances at Vauxhalls and Heswall. Likewise when we played nigh on ninety minutes with 10 men to beat Mossley Hill at home. So it is only fair that we continue to call a spade a spade.
There is no way of glossing over last night's performance. It was bloody awful. The opposition where there for the taking and twice Maghull had to come from behind to keep up our unbeaten run. Granted, things where not helped by some rather strange decisions by the officials, but the officials did not make passes go astray or lose concentration at the back.
On the plus side (see, I do look for the positives) our place in the West Cheshire League Division One was kept safe. Due to forthcoming fixtures, ie Upton still having to play Southport Trinity, top division football will still be played at Old Hall Field next season. So a big pat on the back for Steve and his boys, for getting the job done.
So, last nights game.
A frailty, that keeps cropping up throughout the season, has been an inability to keep the opposition out in the early stages of the game. I don't need to name the games, we even contrived to do it at Blacon earlier in the season, only for Mark Mawdsley not reading the script and saving the penalty. I have mentioned this before, many times, the game starts on the referees whistle. Not when the back four decide to wake up. It is a bad habit, that needs rectifying. I gather you know where I am going with this.
Yes, within two minutes Upton had taken the lead. We needed a point, Upton needed a win, it is not the best way to start a match of this importance, by giving the opposition maximum encouragement. Especially with a sloppy error.
We did now come to life and decided to play a bit of football, but some rather harsh tackles and seeing Jamie Blackhurst took out with an assault that Harold Schumacher would have been proud of, went unpunished. Yes, totally unpunished, not even a free kick awarded. The referee claimed he had not seen Jamie get flattened in the middle of the park, with the ball at his feet. I wonder what had his attention, instead of the play. Anyway, moving on.
A failed corner kick routine, resulted in a request for it not to be repeated. This however was ignored, at a corner kick a couple of minutes later, resulting in Mick McGinn having his shot (destined for the far corner) being handled and a penalty given to us. The culprit was shown a red card and this was compounded when John Hastings stepped up to send the keeper the wrong way, for the second time in three days.
All looked good, until a silly moment midway through the first half. A mistimed challenge by Jay Windsor, had him seeing red too and the man advantage was lost. The consensus seemed to be, that the challenge only warranted a yellow card. If it had been against us, I think we would have been screaming for a red to be shown too. Just my opinion.
This seemed to give Upton a boost again and following on from another misjudging of a bouncing ball, the Upton right winger took the opportunity to put his side ahead again. Let us say we where not covering ourselves in glory and went into the interval trailing 2-1
The second half was, highly uneventful, to say the least. Lots of possession led to not a lot. Upton, hoping to cling on to the lead, even had the temerity to break out and cause the odd skirmish in our box. With a back three that had never played together before, this caused some concern, but they did keep the visitors at arms length for most of the time.
We did create a couple of half chances and should really have equalised long before we did. But this team seems to like putting us through the mill, before delivering. John Hastings played what can only be described as a delightful ball over the Upton defence, Jack McDowell took one touch before firing into the top far corner of the net.
I am not sure if it was celebrations or sighs of relief, that greeted this goal. A team we should have beaten out of sight, had kept us sweating until the 86th minute. Upton did try, in vain, to get another goal, but it was all too late and the final whistle gave us confirmation of our league one status.
Not the best of nights and certainly not a champagne performance, but the job was done. Albeit with great difficulty and unably assisted by the the officials.
Maybe on Saturday we can just win a game, without any histrionics ? A nice, comfortable 2-0 win would be the order of the day. At the beginning of the season Boydy had hair like Tom Cruise and John Mac had more hair than the Yeti. Look what you have done them. Thanks for keeping us up, but can you show a bit of concern for our health, my ticker can't take another season like that.
Next game: Saturday 27th April Blacon YC home kick off 3pm.
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