The beautiful village of Tattenhall in Cheshire
Charlie Cooke: December 2016
When crunch time came, Tattenhall take the biscuit.
A week on from the relief of Tattenhall's first league win of the season, Waverton visited the Flacca. Crunch time. This fixture had been built up out of all proportion by the local media. Dubbed 'Super Sunday', this feisty local derby has seen it all over the years. Separated by 6.316 miles of fine Cheshire countryside, these two parishes have had a tempestuous relationship on the football field and today was no different.
There was something in the air that morning, and you just knew something special was going to happen.
There was a small amount of argy- bargy on the terraces beforehand, someone punched a sheep, but once the referee was happy that the trouble in the crowd had died down, he blew his whistle.
The game started in a very open manner, both teams streaming forward. On the wings, Rose and Gray ably supported Mutete, all full of beans bearing down on the opposition goalmouth, but it was Waverton who drew first blood, capitalising on a defensive line that was never really a line at all.
But out of nowhere, Collen Mutete twinkled his toes, received the ball and ran. There was a sharp intake of breath as he made it into the area, twisted past man after man, until there was no one left. GOAL!
Halfway through the first half and there was no telling which way this game was going to go. Waverton had thought they knew, and it was another defensive mix up which put them 2-1 ahead. But Tattenhall knew better, Aaron "Good-header-for-a-short-man" Gray decided that today was the day that he was going to announce himself on the village stage. It was indeed a performance of the highest quality. He had arrived puffing and panting in the morning, "I'm knackered boss, I'm not going to be able to last the full 90". What a liar! His game was full of running, jumping, and kicking, and did he ever stop? Did he heck? He equalised with an eminently forgettable goal, and within minutes, a bit of Mutete magic had the Flacca rocking. 3-2 up, halftime.
Tattenhall came out of the changing room with wind in their sails, rocks in their socks, and goals in their lockers. It wasn't long before they had a throw in. Cooke dried the ball on his shirt, then expertly threw it back to Smith Sr, who controlled it with aplomb. And then he waited. And waited. "Pass it for goodness sake!" came the cries from his fans and his teammates. But Damon didn't pass it. He waited again. After what seemed like forever, he saw the pass he had wanted to make, and rolled the ball 4 yards into the path of Dutton, who, without a second thought bent the most exquisite of first time balls over and around the bewildered defence, who turned round in horror to see Gray, who knew exactly where Dutton wanted him, racing toward the keeper, and lobbing it over his embarrassed head. 4-2. The next 30 minutes were understandably one way traffic, with Waverton desperately trying to wrestle back control of the game. However, Tattenhall defended in a way that made the Milan defence of the early 90's look like a colander! A special mention to the two centre backs, Smith Sr and Buckingham, who were blooming marvellous!
The game ended, and the supporters rose to their feet to applaud a team who had put on a real feast of football. From the rock steady wall of the aforementioned defence, to the midfield triumvirate of Dutton, Smith Jr and Farquhar, who are all so intelligent from their heads to their toes, they make everything look so easy, when in actual fact, it's not. It's rather difficult bossing a midfield, but they did so with sophistication and style.
That win takes Tattenhall off the bottom of the league, and the players all deserve a small glass of sherry don't you think?
Outside Barbour Institute
High St Car Park, MALPAS