Sporting their brand-spanking new shirts, sponsored by Morton's Spar, and The Event Station, AFC Tattenhall looked to continue their 5 match unbeaten league run with a victory over Spital Vaults in Christleton. The hour before the game was spent desperately hunting for anyone awake/sober/mobile/willing/stupid enough to spend the next couple of hours in the freezing cold mud (any of the above were not necessarily prerequisites).
We kicked off with just 10 men, and weathered an early flurry of chances with Matty Buckingham, borrowed from the vets, keeping the hosts at bay with a string of fine saves. A quick counter-attack saw Collen Mutete set free and he dribbled wingwards, cut into the box and slotted the ball past the keeper like Peter Ndlovu in his pomp.
Our 11th man shortly entered the field of play and we spent the next 20 minutes on the front foot. Loz Brown bossed the game from midfield, providing a pass that everyone in the ground agreed was the best one they had ever seen, alongside the long-awaited debut of Nick from Clay and Rock, who showed he wasn't just a good tile salesman, but a good dummy salesman too, sending the opposition into all sorts of bother with his deft touches and cheeky flicks.
Up front, Spar's very own 'Lloydy' manfully held the ball up and linked up well with Collen and Glenn Coppack on the wings, who terrorised the fullbacks all game. As a loving mother would provide food for her children, Loz and Nick continued to lay on chances for Tattenhall's forwards, and after half time, Collen doubled Tattenhall's lead, with another gallop down the flank following a pass from probably Nick or Loz, and he walloped in another.
Tattenhall were riding on the crest of a wave that didn't look like crashing, as they created chance after chance. Several men missed gilt-edged chances, as Tattenhall pushed for the third goal to kill the game off. Simon Harper, making his first start for 8 years, danced through Spital's midfield and scooped the ball over the bewildered man to provide Collen with the chance to make it three. He didn't take it. But he didn't have to wait long until he got another, and from an angle tighter than injured goalkeeper Josh Harding's fist, Collen thwacked the ball through despairing dives to complete his hat-trick, and take over from Ross Farquar as Tattenhall's leading scorer for the season.
Spital Vaults continued to search for a way back into a game, but Pete Harper and Charlie Cooke, obstinate at the back, didn't let them.
Dell Amson – closely battling with Stuart Taylor for the (Tattenhall) Manager of the month award for November, had the chance to cap his performance with a goal and a lovely, big cherry on top of 3 points worth of icing, with a penalty at the end. Glenn Coppack's hard work paid off when he was tripped in the box after a jinking run down the wing. Dell placed the ball down, and with the headlines already being written in his head, proceeded to blast the ball Waddle-esque into the field way, way behind the goal. It did nick the crossbar on the way through, but don't let that fool you, it was a bad penalty.
But the damage had been done, the full time whistle went and Tattenhall sauntered up the table. With many first team regulars missing the game through various reasons, they will face a fight to get back into the team after this performance.
AFC Tattenhall are at home next Sunday morning in a crucial 6 pointer against Purple Olive, 11am kick off. See you there.