Neston 4 - Bowdon Killer Bees 1
So the mighty Bees rolled up to kick off the second half of the season and work off the excesses of Christmas. It was a motley mixture of individuals, those who were glad to get out of the house and those who looked like they had been rudely awakened from hibernation. It was not going to be a leisurely re-introduction either as we faced a Neston side brimming with youth, energy, enthusiasm and ability.
We were expecting a rough ride and that was the way it started with Neston moving quickly into attack and Bowdon falling back on the defensive. Under pressure, the Bees showed pluck, tackling hard and clearing their lines. They held their own for 20 minutes until a flash of brilliance broke the deadlock. Driving into the D a Neston forward rode three stick tackles, the most obviously heinous being perpetrated by that master of centre-back subtlety (Huddy), took a sideways step and finished with a superb reverse stick flick past the keeper.
The second goal followed on shortly. A short corner shot was stopped well by our towering keeper (Andy White) but as he tried to extricate the ball from under his feet it shot out at a strange angle, wrong footing everybody except the Neston attacker running in at the left hand post who slipped it in from the angle (despite Huddy’s disguised attempt to hook his stick out of his hands).
Neston’s 3rd goal, which rounded off the first half, was a timely lesson in playing to the whistle. A ball was clearly deflected by a Bowdon foot (not Huddy’s) in the D and the defence stopped in anticipation of the obvious short corner, only for an oncoming Neston player to pounce on the ball and to slot it in.
Olly gave us a rousing half-time team talk and the Bees started the second half with gusto and a determination to turn defence into attack. The mighty Quiffster himself proved to be the key, clearing the ball at pace to our right hand side on several occasions thus releasing the swift running Dave Philips who used his searing pace (seriously searing pace!) to put Neston on the back foot.
A number of attacks went begging but they finally led to a short corner for the Bees. The ball was injected short to the Quiff who lashed the ball across the face of the keeper into the danger zone. The far post defender was transfixed, his life flashing before his eyes as the ball bore down on him. He chose to save himself rather than his team by putting his stick in the way and deflecting Olly’s shot cross shot over the helpless goalie’s legs (Just like you told me Olly, rifled straight into the top left hand corner).
The rest of the game was fifty-fifty. Neston managed to bag a final goal from a goal mouth scramble which passed between the sticks of about 7 players, the keeper more than once and could have finished anywhere.
Final analysis, a good result against a stronger, better organised opposition, especially the second half, drawn 1-1. Everybody put in loads of effort and interchanged well to help each other out when in need of the iron lung. Very strong performances from Andy Braithwaite in defence, Dave Philips up front and the Quiffster himself. Special mention to Jonny “the Hit-man” Grant who did a great man-to-man job on the Neston centre-forward.
Many thanks to Neil Mcleod and Warnsey for umpiring.