They say revenge is a dish best served cold……on this occasion perhaps luke warm would be the best way to describe victory in the Macron Cup at the scene of our league defeat just two weeks ago.
The extra heat was provided by the welcome of our hosts, who once again pulled out all the stops to make our trip to North Manchester as pleasant as possible. The chairman, supporters and volunteers at Prestwich Heys are earning themselves a fantastic reputation for the friendliness they extend to visitors to Adie Moran Park this season.
Having been lucky enough to sample it on two occasions in the space of two weeks, the Purple Partisans can happily confirm it is a well-deserved one.
With the gaffer on holiday, Tom Spearritt and Phil McDiarmid took the reins for the day and their team selection immediately settled any doubts as to whether they were going to take this cup competition seriously or not. A strong starting line-up saw most of the side that finished the 2-0 win at home to Alsager last week continue, with only Matty Williams coming in for the unavailable Michael Roberts. On the bench were once again Danny Dalton and Billy Webb returning from injury. Also returning to the bench was skipper Chris
Dykes and new signings Barry Moore and Josh Sumner.
As was the case a fortnight ago the hosts settled into the game first. Displaying the same neat passing and possession based game, they had City chasing shadows in midfield, without really troubling the back four and Longy in goal. Again in a repeat of the previous game though, it didn’t take too long for the Purps to get a grip on the game as a front three of Woods, Peterson and Fowler quickly began to realise that by pressing the home
defence high up the pitch, they could be quickly put off their rhythm.
With Prestwich beginning to get more and more penned in to their own half, Matty Williams and Mike Smith in particular started to take effect in the COLs midfield. Good pressure from Williams on 6 minutes allowed the ball to find its way to Tom Peterson. Still out wide, he pressed his way into the 18 yard area and with Woods and Fowler to his left screaming for the pass, shot across Taberner in the Prestwich goal. He could have faced a
roasting from his strike partners for not passing…..but the shot crept into the net at the far post instead, to vindicate the youngster’s decision to go for goal, the Purps were into an early lead.
The goal seemed to instantly change the tactics of the home side, who’s previous short, neat passing suddenly started to go longer. This of course was manna from heaven for the centre back pairing of Weso and Dures who calmly dealt with anything that was thrown at them. City too were having their fair share of attacking play. Peterson passed early to Fowler who sprinted to the corner and played a pinpoint cross into the box, but the attack had been too quick and nobody was there to meet it.
McEllin, Williams and Smith were now dominating midfield and pinning back their opponents. Another bit of good work by Smith, saw him get the ball out to Woods on the half way line. The big man showed a wonderful touch to flick the ball down the line past the gobby number 3 and then run inside him to collect it on the other side, he raced into the corner, but unfortunately didn’t look up before hanging a great cross into the box, where once again there was no-one on hand in white to meet it.
On 38 minutes Andy Fowler, who had taken a whack when chasing a defender into the corner had to be replaced by Billy Webb, but the change didn’t disturb City’s momentum and they spent the rest of the first half on the front foot.
Prestwich started the second half, as they had the first. Back to neat pass and move football. As he had done in the first game, Jamie Baguley was the pivot for much of the home side’s good work. He truly is a gifted player, and despite a physique more at home on the Darts stage, his quick feet, clever movement and vision make him a player every team in this league would love to have in their side, the lad simply NEVER gives the ball away.
For the first time in the game City’s defence started to come under real pressure. Weso had to clear a dangerous ball from under his own crossbar, whilst Camozzi intercepted a cute pass from that man Baguley that would have almost certainly put Tierney in on goal.
The reds weren’t having it all their own way though as both Camozzi and Lester were starting to get forward and on 56 minutes the latter fed Woods who played a great cross into Peterson, he shot early but only straight at the keeper.
More danger at the other end and a corner is headed goalwards by Lee Bruce, only to be expertly cleared off the line by Billy Webb. But City didn’t heed the warning, almost immediately another good cross is met by Bruce again who makes no mistake this time and levels the scores.
Five minutes later the stand in gaffer decided a double substitution was in order to stop the game from going away from his team, Dykes on for Williams and Sumner for Peterson. You have to say the substitution was inspired as almost immediately the momentum swang back into City’s favour and this time they never relinquished it for the rest of the game.
With Dykes and Mcellin now taking care of Baguley in midfield, the Purps were able to mount attack after attack.
On 64 minutes Woods got into another great position out wide and played in his umpteenth terrific cross of the match. This time Sumner was there to meet it full on the volley and just as it looked like he had guided it expertly into the bottom corner of the net, out came the stretched hand of Taberner to tip it around the post. It was an outstanding save and one that got the due admiration of the Partisans assembled behind his goal.
On 69 mins Webb hits another volley on goal but it goes wide, then Camozzi finds himself clear in the box but can only head the bouncing ball into the grateful keeper’s arms, it was clear by now that only one team were going to win this.
Ten minutes later the breakthrough finally came. Kevin McEllin chipped a ball into the edge of the box for Woods, clear on goal the charismatic copper made no mistake, stabbing the ball between the legs of the advancing Taberner…..he just had time to shout ‘megs’ at the prostrate keeper before racing off into the corner to take a high five salute from the Partisans behind the goal.
After the late dramatics two weeks ago, City could have been forgiven for shutting up shop and going for the win now, but to their credit they didn’t. Probably the best passage of the game saw both sides spurn some good half chances as the team in red looked for an equaliser and the one in white a goal to kill the game off.
Two minutes from time it was the latter that succeeded. It looked like McEllin had wasted a free kick from his own half, but the loose ball was quickly retrieved by Webb on the edge of the box, and as he brought it out, Chris Dykes stole in to hit a looping shot that looked
every inch a goal as it sailed into the top corner with Taberner rooted to the spot.
A fitting end to a fine Purps performance.
3-1 the final score and the reward for COLFC is a home tie with Premier Division Hanley Town in the next round on 26 th November. It will no doubt be a tough match against superior opposition, but on the form they have showed in the last couple of games you really wouldn’t bet against the Purps to provide an upset.
Coach travel to Prestwich is now available to purchase online below.
There are 50 seats available, the coach will be leaving The Empire Theatre in Town at 1.00pm and picking up at the Rocket at 1.30pm on a 1st come first served basis.
There are a couple of complicating factors for this journey, firstly Manchester United are playing at home at 3pm, so a stop off at a nice Manchester pub before our game (like last time) is not really an option, secondly Liverpool are playing at Crystal Palace in the 5.30pm KO on the telly.
So we will travelling directly to the Prestwich Heys ground for our match and the coach will be leaving immediately at the end of the game, to get us back to somewhere at least half scouse to watch the Liverpool match.
Then at the end of the Liverpool game, the coach will return to The Rocket and then to The Empire for drop off at around 8.30pm.
For those interested The Purple Partisan- Tony Afflick will be boxing at The Adelphi in the Purple & White of COLFC and is scheduled to box at 9.30pm, and at that time of night, entry into the event will be a minimal fee only and a few people are planning to go and watch him box, so anyone is welcome to join us.
Cost is £10 adults and £5 for children U15, please specify when puchasing which pick up point you want.