The team minibus was some fifteen minutes into its journey before having to turn back because the kit had been left behind and one of the players was left stranded at Park Road stadium awaiting a lift that never materialised, thus having to hotfoot it back to his own vehicle and drive his own way to Alsager.
‘Twas ever thus that it was going to be one of those days.
A match that looked like it was sauntering to a 0-0 draw (that nobody would have complained about) suddenly came to life - not necessarily in our favour - within the final five minutes.
Two well-placed thunderous efforts did for us. One from Shane Williams from the edge of the area after we failed to deal with a situation and the other from Dominic Smith from wide left deep into stoppage time.
It was a mildly-promising first half performance and all, albeit we were reduced to half-chances most of the time.
Ben Christopher let fly from range as early as the 6th minute with the 25th minute then seeing Callum Collinson tearing down the left and squaring for Christopher whose shot was parried.
In and around those chances, Alsager had troubled us a couple of times.
On the 10th minute they really should have punished us from a corner with Danny Whiting being called upon a minute later to block a volley at his far post.
On the half-hour Matt German went in for a 50-50 challenge. Nobody screamed or complained and nobody was hurt, but the referee saw fit to reach into his back pocket and produce a red card. The general consensus was he was unlucky to have been given a red card…and that includes the opinions of those from Alsager.
Collinson was in again down the left on 39 minutes but his deflected cross couldn’t find anybody to pick up the pieces and newcomer Ofori’s ball from the same spot moments later was met by a stooping header from Ryan Rogers when perhaps a wallop with the foot would have been the better option.
Unfortunately we failed to get anywhere near the same level of productivity in the second half.
Danny Whiting was called upon twice early doors, making a good block when Alsager’s Smith had wriggled his way clear on the edge of the box and then having to push an effort onto the post when Alsager’s no7 was allowed to join in play after being off the pitch and advance on goal.
The closest we came in the second half was on 82 minutes when Chris Sherrington’s fizzed free-kick had to be tipped over the bar.
A truly naff day at the office. Thankfully the footballing gods are giving us another well-timed break from league matters this week and sending us to Crewe Alexandra for the Cheshire Senior Cup and St Helens Town for the Macron League Cup in successive matches.
By the time league matters return we should have all of our suspended and injured players back, a roll call that is longer than we care to mention.
TEAM: Whiting, Harrison, C Sherrington, German, Huynh, Delaney, Rogers (Knight), Hincks, Ofori (Clooney), Christopher (Ratican), Collinson. SUBS: Knight, Ratican, Clooney, Lilley (gk)