Radcliffe Town Reserves 0 - 2 Old Blacks Reserves

This was our 1st game for over a month, and we needed to win to keep the pressure on Old Mancunians for 2nd place. It now looks like Horwich have wrapped up top position. We had a full squad and I had to leave a few players out, so there could be no excuses if we had lost.
The game was a tight affair, with not many chances, probably due to lack of match fitness, and maybe over indulging over Christmas and New Year?
The 1st half was easily forgettable, and neither team really deserving to go in to the break in front.
We felt that we should have had a penalty for handball, but the ref disagreed. I complained, and was told I would be sent off if I swore again.
We did have a free kick in a good position, but Andre Veniziale was lucky to reach the keeper with a weak shot. Maybe I should have let Brad Langhorn to take the free kick?

I made one substitution before half time, bringing on Alex Boardman, for the either injured, or knackered, Rick Mcguirty. I'm still not sure which one he was?
The team played just ‘ok’, and was doing enough to hold Radcliffe, whilst playing within themselves. To be fair the pitch wasn't helping, it was a bit of a glue pot and it made it difficult for players to turn with the ball.

The second half started much the same, but was brought to life with an excellent goal. Mark Feeney headed the ball out of defence, and from the clearance the ball was played into Jordan Fielding around the half way line, he picked the ball up and started to run at the defence, Elliot Guinan ran from our own penalty box, and like s@#t off a shovel he flew past Jordan and shouted for the ball. Jordan played a one two with Guiny, receiving the ball just outside the penalty area, and first time shot was drilled into the right hand corner of the net, giving Jordan an impressive 9th goal in 9 games.

After about an hour, the referee gave Radcliffe a controversial penalty. Mark Feeney made a tackle in the box, which was ignored by the referee, but after the player who was tackled got up, managed to win the ball back, beat 2 defenders, then get a shot at goal, the ref decided to change his mind and blow for the penalty. The advantage rule did seem rather prolonged, and to say the lads were stunned by the decision would be an understatement. Ryan Duncan went to the referee and questioned his decision, obviously a little too long for the ref's liking, as he decided to send Ryan off for telling him it was a poor decision.

Anyway, the penalty was a poor one, and after Lewis Kent saved the kick, he then managed to dive on the ball at the 2nd attempt. I then foolishly pointed to the heavens and shouted that someone up there was watching over us. The referee spotted me doing this, came over and sent me off. I asked him if I was given the red card for sarcasm, but he refused to give me any reason. Ryan and myself had to watch the last half an hour of the game from the top of a small hill around 200 yards away.

We went to a 4-4-1 formation, and from where I was watching we continued to control the game, and deserved to go 2 goals up. A neat move in the penalty area saw Andre Veniziale receiving the ball, turning 2 men, and laying the ball into James Halsall, to tap home and secure the victory. We shuffled the team round continuously for the last 15 minutes allowing everyone to work there socks off, defended strong and kept the ball well in the opposition's half. Not the best football performance, but perhaps our best team performance.

Well done lads. A good win against tough opposition. Hard to single out any one player, but Elliot Guinan possibly played he's best game of the season so far, and long may Jordan Fielding’s scoring streak continue.
Dave (red card) Fielding