There’s no rest for the wicked during the first four weeks of the NWCFL season.
The fixtures come thick and fast and no sooner had we licked our wounds from the 0-2 defeat on Saturday, it was time to head up the A560 for footballing tea and biscuits with the neighbours.
Whilst we created nowhere near the glut of chances at the weekend, we still came away with ourselves on the board, both goals-wise and points-wise. Such is football.
A lively encounter saw the first chance go the hosts’ way within the first minute when Kiarno Samms was in on the left only for him to blaze his shot over.
Callum Knight then saw a first-time shot from the edge of the area saved before Ethan Hennessy got to a loose ball at the far post, pulled the ball back across the face of net but saw nobody around to prod it home.
The to-and-fro continued. Pat Davin got his tall frame to a free-kick that was tossed into the area and headed it just wide before the hosts went straight down the other end and volleyed over a great chance.
On 26 minutes Ethan Hennessy picked up a pass from Callum Knight on the right before advancing on goal thanks to a lovely touch and firing high inside the near post; the Stockport Town keeper was equal to it with an excellent stop.
Finally a breakthrough just after the half-hour mark.
Hamzat’s ranging cross from the left looked to be just too much for Patrick Davin in the box but he somehow managed to launch himself at it enough to plunge home a powerful header into the corner.
Straight down the other end Danny Whiting had to be alert to prevent an instant equaliser, getting down to his left at the near post to block a snapshot from a corner before we attacked once more a minute later, Ben Brooks laying it square for Aaron Taylor to drive in from the edge of the area only for a deflection to take the sting out of the shot.
Just as it looked as though we would be going in at half-time with a lead to our name, we conceded a penalty when Ebbie Rezayan got caught in two minds whether to boot a cross clear or stoop low and head it away; the latter option didn’t work and he ended up handballing it.
After what probably was a last-minute re-wording of Will’s half-time team talk, we came out for the second half on the front foot as we looked to regain our lead.
Patrick Davin’s pinged cross for Callum Knight on 47 minutes looked to be a golden opportunity lost as he screwed his resulting shot wide but Patrick would duly regain that lead for us some ten minutes later with a superb effort.
Receiving the ball inside left he used quick feet to dance past two or three of Stockport Town’s rearguard before unleashing a fierce, crisp strike with his left foot into the top corner of the net.
Patrick almost got his hat-trick on 72 minutes when he connected with a Rezayan volley across the goalmouth but it was one of those where he didn’t have enough time to react to the opportunity and ended up putting it over.
After that it was the hosts that easily had the best of the closing stages.
They consistently prodded and poked away at us and the luck that we were pushing looked to have held firm on 85 minutes as one of their forwards, unmarked at the far post, blazed a volley over.
Alas, three minutes later, it ran out.
We failed to clear our lines once more with the loose ball being met with a long-range piledriver that Danny Whiting could only push wide. There to mop up the rebound was Cheadle Town FC’s anathema, thorn in one’s side and general bogey Kiarno Samms who gleefully tucked home.
The drama didn’t end there either. In injury time both sides had clear cut chances to win the match.
Samms almost went home with all the glory as he picked up a loose ball in our area and fired one inches wide of the post.
Straight down the other end Ben Brooks tore down the left and checked back before dinking a cross to the far post; there was Aaron Taylor, looking poised to head home a winner but, lacking the height of a Patrick Davin who had just been substituted, just couldn’t quite get enough purchase behind his header and it ended up going harmlessly wide.
A fascinating encounter and, when all is said and done, probably a fair result.
We go again this Saturday (see what I mean about August!) when we play our first league match at Park Road of this season. St Martins are the visitors.
TEAM: Whiting, Hamzat (Kyobe), Phelan, Lunt (Clarke), Johnson, Rezayan, Hennessy, Taylor, Davin (Russell), Knight, Brooks. SUBS: Clarke, Piggott (gk), Russell, Kyobe, Kuzakwawo.