The beautiful village of Tattenhall in Cheshire
AFC Tattenhall: March 2017
Fresh on the back of last weekend's litter pick around the Flacca, AFC Tattenhall were back in action against everyone's second favourite team, Axis United of Handbridge.
Rather than providing a minute-by-minute analysis of the game, here are some notable highlights.
The rookie goalkeeper, Dan Martin, put in a memorable performance which drew comparions to Geordie shot-stopper, Pavel Srnicek, in his pomp. Every save, every cross, every kick was dealt with with ease. One second half free kick seemed destined for the top corner until Martin clawed it away, what a save!
Stalwart sweeper Damon Smith put in a marvellous cameo up front for the first half of the game. He somehow managed to combine being a target man, pacy dribbler, and playmaker all in one, and excelled in each discipline. It was his contribution which provided the first real chance of the game.
The ball was fizzed into Smith's feet, and he held off the defender, long enough for Mark Perrin to begin another lung-busting foray down the left flank, which became a feature of the first period. Damo slipped Perrin in, whose first touch took him round the bemused defender, who could only clatter into Perrin. "Penalty!" shouted the crowd. "Penalty!" shouted the referee (he forgot his whistle). A penalty it was.
Stand-in skipper for the day, Ross Farquhar, picked up the ball, ready to take responsibility and the penalty. But hang on! What's this!? An almighty ruckus occurs and the irrepressible Jaimie Cattell unceremoniously wrestles the ball from his captain and places it down on the spot. He measures his run up, takes a deep breath, closes his eyes and counts to three. A stray hair falls from his finely-coiffured brow. He sweeps it up as it nestles back in with its comrades, unwilling to let that spoil his moment. As the crowd's silence grows louder and louder, Jaimie begins his run up. It wouldn't be right to speculate what thoughts are tumbling through his head at this point, but it is safe to say that he could already see Monday morning's headlines up in lights. THWACK! He kicks the ball.........
.....The opening goal of the game came on 35 minutes. A throw in on the left was flicked on by Perrin, and Charlie Cooke, making his 100th appearance for AFC Tattenhall, rolled the defender, before unleashing an unstoppable 25 yard volley into the top corner of the net, leaving the goalkeeper gasping for breath, and grasping thin air. His team mates squealed like schoolchildren applauding their 'cool' teacher throwing a broken chalkboard eraser across the room into a wastepaper bin. It really was a sensational finish.
That is 2 goals in 2 games on this ground for Cooke. You can't really argue with that strike rate. There is a growing clamour amongst the fans for him to replicate Dion Dublin's transition from defender to striker, and who could blame them.
The second goal came shortly after that. More excellent work in midfield from Farquhar, before Luke McCrudden sauntered through Axis defence before slotting home with a fine finish.
It would be remiss of me not to mention the performance of lovable, local landlord Pon Prabpirikul, who grabbed his second (own) goal in as many games when he sliced a cross into the net, having risen highest to power in a header in the previous game. It would be unfair to congeal his colossal performance into one unfortunate own goal, as throughout the match Pon excelled himself and performed stoically.
This performance — against a side a division above no less — was a timely reminder that there is a place in your hearts for this team. Whilst they might not always deliver, they always try, and whilst attendances have been disappointing this season, the team has not let it affect them, and continues to push to the end.
There is flair coursing down the wings, steel palpitating through the middle, and a magical combination of age and beauty up front.
Football really can be wonderful, can't it?
Sportsmans Arms Car Park