Wilmslow Albion vs Middleton Colts
Wilmslow Albion got it spot on this past weekend, as John Moran saved two penalties in a shootout to beat Middleton Colts 8-7 after drawing 3-3 after 90 minutes.
The Oakmen made four changes from last week’s defeat against Boothstown, with Moran coming in for Jonny Cregeen, Max Hawkins making a return from a long-term injury in place of Joe Kirk, whilst there was a debut for Callum Knight (who replaced Rammy), and Mansour made a start in place of Ibra Thiam (who was on the bench).
Wilmslow got their first chance of the game within the opening minute, Mansour produced a great run down the left-hand side, passed it to Kieran Casey, who had his effort stopped by the Colts’ goalkeeper, who got his body behind the shot.
Middleton then put the ball into the box, which was defended, but a defensive block was then needed to be made to stop the number 9.
The first goal of the game went to the visitors, as the number 7 received the ball from a cross and put it past the defender on the line.
But Wilmslow were not behind for long in this one, as Hawkins ran down the left at the Middleton full back, laid it off to Casey, who thumped an effort under the goalkeeper and in.
It then got even better for Albion three minutes later, as Casey was away after a ball over the top, he played it to the penalty spot and running onto it was debutant Callum Knight, who finished it brilliantly past the keeper.
Some more link up play between the front two nearly gave Wilmslow a two-goal cushion in the fifteenth minute, as Mansour played Casey in down the left but his shot went just wide.
But Middleton Colts then got themselves an equaliser not long after, as the Middleton number 9 finished it past the on-rushing Moran to make it 2-2.
After efforts from Knight and Danny Pearson went over the top, Tom Crompton whipped a ball in from the right, which was knocked down by Mansour and Casey fired a strike which the keeper saved well with his legs.
The Middleton Colts’ number 7 was then played in at the half hour mark, but his chipped effort went just wide.
The action was end-to-end throughout the match, as a Pearson free kick was met by Knight, who could only head the ball wide, before the skipper then had a go at goal himself, which was saved well by the keeper.
Aidan Hussey had a strike stopped by the Middleton goalkeeper, but the last chance of the half would go to the Colts, as their number 8 met a knock down but struck it just wide.
Similar to the first half, the second half had an early chance, but this time it was Middleton’s number 7, who got himself one-on-one with Moran, who could only put the shot wide.
One of the stand out players from this season has been the wing back Crompton and he produced yet another trademark goal line clearance, as he headed the ball clear from a corner.
After Mansour attempted a curling effort, which was stopped by the keeper, the managers decided to bring on Harry Sexton, who opted for an immediate impact.
The ‘injury prone baller’ picked up the ball on the left-hand side of the box, he whipped it to the top right corner and the keeper had no chance. A great start to the game from Sexton.
Wilmslow Albion were showing a great improvement after last week’s result, Sexton produced a great tackle, which bounced to Mansour and the forward was one-on-one with the goalkeeper, but the Middleton man saved well.
One thing that has been missing from Wilmslow Albion this season is goals from corners – and Sam Warren nearly got one for the Oakmen, as he headed a knock down goalwards but the keeper stopped the shot.
Wilmslow then had two more chances in the match, as Hussey couldn’t get the curl on a shot goalwards and another debutant Harrison O’Shea forced the keeper into a save from the right-hand side.
But Middleton pushed for an equaliser in the last ten minutes, as a free kick from the left sailed over everyone and bounced off the post, before the number 2 fired it wide.
Moran then pulled off a fantastic save, as a ball from the right was headed by the Middleton number 15, but Moran pulled off a brilliant save to deny an equaliser.
But with the final chance of the game, Middleton’s number 14 hit a free kick which went into the top corner and took the game to penalties.
No matter the level, penalties are always a tense affair for those watching and those taking, something you just can’t replicate in training.
The first four penalties for both teams were netted, as Pearson, Hussey, Mansour and Ibra Thiam scored from the spot. But the first blink was from Wilmslow, as Sexton’s penalty hit the post.
Wilmslow needed some heroics from Moran to keep the Oakmen alive and he was able to provide, as he dived to his right and stopped the Middleton Colts number 11 from winning it for the visitors.
Crompton, followed by Lee Arnold, O’Shea and Alex Salmon, all put away their spot kits, but as Middleton’s number 8 stepped up, his penalty went to Moran’s right and the keeper guessed correctly and saved it, winning the tie for Wilmslow Albion.
After last week’s difficult result against Boothstown, Wilmslow Albion responded brilliantly by winning and getting through to the next round against a team ranked ahead in the league.
It was great to see new players coming into this young Wilmslow Albion team and great to see Hawkins back after a long time out with a knee injury.
Wilmslow Albion will look to gain a slither of revenge against Boothstown as they have the reverse fixture next week.