Archive 2016-2017

2nd XI Vs Horwich St Marys Victoria Reserves (Away...

Horwich St Mary's Victoria Reserves 3 - 0 Old Blacks Reserves

Sometimes you have to hold your hand up and accept when you’re second best, and this was one of those days.
It started badly by us going to the wrong ground, due to the incorrect postcode being on the league website.

I knew, when we finally turned up at the right place that Horwich were up for this game. They have an impressive set up, and they were already on the pitch doing there drills etc when we turned up half changed, with less than half an hour to kick off.

Onto the game, and I feel that I have to take some of the blame for the defeat, because we were not set up right to start with, and also not prepared for what was to come.
Straight from the kick off Horwich were at us and moving the ball wide quickly. The 1st goal came after a ball in the box landed at Lewis Fielding’s feet. Lewis took a touch when the ball should have been cleared first time. The touch allowed their forward to nip in and tap the ball home from 5 yards out.

We soon went 2 down, after a harmless looking ball from outside the area, landed in between 2 defenders, and onto the Horwich players head, and into the top corner of our net. I felt for the first time in a few years that we were heading for a big defeat. The lads were down, and little arguments were starting to be heard around the pitch.

Somehow we held out till half time without conceding. If we had gone in 5 down I couldn't have complained.

A few honest words at half time were needed, and a response from the lads would have to be instant, and it soon became apparent that Horwich had thrown everything at us in the 1st half. We now looked the stronger team, and although we never dominated them totally, I realised that I just didn't set us up right. They were no better than us, they just were more organised in the first half, and wanted it more. If someone had walked up and not seen the 1st half they would not have believed we were 2-0 down, and been lucky not to be more goals behind.

Both Rick Mcguirty and Guiny were getting more of the ball down the wings, and we were creating chances. We pushed, but didn't really have enough to break Horwich down, but we did show we were up near the top of the league for a reason.

Horwich killed the game off, when we lost possession in the middle of the pitch, and a through ball allowed the striker to go past Mark Smith on the edge of the area and tap in. Horwich had a couple more chances, but a mixture of good keeping, and solid defending, kept them out.

Thankfully the whole team showed real character in the 2nd half, and restored some pride. We have to remember that we are a very young team, and that will only improve if we stick together.

2nd XI Vs Radcliffe Town Reserves (Away)

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

2nd XI Vs Rochdale St Clements A (Home)

Old Blacks Reserves 4 - 1 Rochdale St Clements

Another strong second half performance from the lads, and another 3 points, keeps the pressure on Old Mancunians for the 2nd place. It's still in our own hands to get promoted, but we have to keep winning.

We started slowly and Rochdale were causing us a few problems at the back. Rochdale had the 1st real chance after Brad Morris hacked down one of their players on the edge of the area. Fortunately the free kick was poor, however we soon went a goal behind, after a decent move by Rochdale was finished off, giving Lewis Kent in goal no chance. That was what we needed to wake us up, and from the moment they scored we took hold of the game and dominated.

I was about to make a substitution, when we levelled. Following a good move, Jordan Fielding finished off well, scoring his seventh goal in seven games, by way of the post.

We continued to press, and I brought on the big man, Mark Feeney, at the back, for the last 10 minutes of the half. Mark came on with a point to prove, after starting on the bench for the 1st time for years, and he settled everything down straight away. We were on top but went into the break level.

I changed things around at half time, putting Brad Morris on in his usual holding role, and pushing Andre Veniziale onto the wing, giving Rick ‘peaky’ McGurty a break.

Again we dominated, and soon went ahead after some slick passing down the right hand side, started by Elliot Guinan, and finished off well by Alistair Lofthouse, going past the defender and poking the ball in to the corner of net.
We were starting to go through the gears, and Rochdale where tiring, and starting to get on each other backs. Kieron Laskowski came off with cramp, and on came Rick McGurty for the last 20 mins. We went 3-1 up after another great move down the right, led to a cross towards the far post, which was superbly finished off by Andre Veniziale, striking the ball into the top corner.

It was soon 4-1, with another classy finish from Andre, chipping the ball over the keeper from outside the area. We could, and should, have doubled our goal tally, but some poor finishing, especially from ‘peaky’ Rick, meant it finished 4-1. Rick somehow managed to head over from under the bar, take a ball on his chest and shoot over from 5 yards out, go through one on one with the keeper and shoot wide, and also managed to miss an easy tap in. Otherwise he had a great game!!!
The last 10 to15 minutes was a pleasure to watch, and was only possible because of the hard work in the first hour of the game.

Some excellent performances.

Lewis Kent has been a great addition in goal, and his distribution and communication is what we were looking for.
The young back line was a made stronger by the return of Mark Feeney, allowing Brad Morris to sit in front, and mop up behind the hard working goal machine Jordan Fielding and Kieron Lascowski. (Some goals needed from Kie now though??)
We have 2 of the best wingers in the league, in Elliot Guinan and Rick McGurty, and a few more goals from them both would be superb. Up front Alistair Lofthouse and Brad Langhorn are a constant threat, and once they realise each other’s strengths and weaknesses, they will score even bags more goals. Ollie Hyde is being patient on the bench, and probably needs a good hour under his belt to really feel like he's contributing. Hopefully he will get a chance soon?

Well done everyone, let's see how we do this weekend with another tough game coming up, against 4th placed Thornleigh.

2nd XI Vs Old Boltonians 'A' (Away)

Old Boltonians 1 - 4 Old Blacks Reserves

After a few weeks with no game, and our last game providing us with one of our poorest performances so far this season, it was important we went over
to Old Boltonians and played somewhere near our best. With Old Bolts lying 4th, I hoped we knew we would have to be up for it.

When we got to the ground there was still some areas frozen, but I sensed from the lad’s body language, and the way they were chatting to each other, that they really seemed up for it.
Everything seemed relaxed, and even I was enjoying my afternoon over the hills of Turton.

We started brightly and pressured Old Bolts from the kick off, leading to an early mistake from one of their defenders, making him pass back to the keeper, but he hadn’t seen Brad Langhorn waiting for him to make the mistake. Brad cooly took the ball and slipped it past the keeper to make it 1-0.

We kept the pressure up, and went 2-0 up after the stand in skipper, Jordan Fielding, picked the ball up near the half way line, and went on one his crazy runs. He beat a couple of men, and shot from 10 yards outside the area. The ball easily beat the keeper ending up in the left hand corner of net.

We had the better of the 1st half, with some good defending from our back 3 of Brad Morris, Eathan Potter and Lewis Fielding. Not one of these lads are 20 years old yet, and with the 18 year old Lewis Kent making his debut in goal, it gives me great satisfaction to see them play so well, and gel together.

We went with a 3-5-2 formation, with Andre Veniziale playing the holding role very well.

We went into the 2nd half with both subs, Ollie Hyde and James Halshaw, coming on. Old Bolts then pulled a goal back. A long through ball found their striker, who converted with a good finish, lobbing the ball over Lewis Kent, giving him no chance.

We then went 3-1 up through Elliot Guinan, who picked up the ball on the left, and then drove the ball from the left hand side of the area in to the bottom right hand corner of the net.

The game was then killed off with just 5 minutes to go, after a mistake on the half way line allowed James Halshaw to take the ball off the defender, and run 30 yards into the area, and neatly slide the ball past the keeper. A great performance from this young team. It was also great to have Rick McGuirty back - hopefully we can keep him on the pitch?

Well done to everyone involved, it was a pleasure, and it made the beer taste a little better Saturday night.