Alderley Edge Men's 1st XI vs Durham University 2nd XI
Alderley Edge 1st XI made the long trip up to Durham on Saturday morning. Met by some pretty dreary weather, the game began at 1.30.
Alderley began the game with a new formation, which helped them to look much more comfortable in possession, with the back three of Badger, Cook and Jackson passing the ball around the back with confidence. Despite the possession, Alderley could not penetrate the Durham defence, with chances few and far between. Both Wildig and Warburton missed difficult chances in the first half, but apart from speculative moments the two sides remained tied at 0-0 at half time.
Both sides had wasted a few short corners each in the first half, though it was Durham who took the lead from their first short corner of the second half. It was a soft decision by the referee, but it was well worked by Durham as they took the lead.
The second half continued from where the first half left off, with both sides struggling to convert periods of possession into chances. However, Alderley managed to win a succession of corners and it took a well worked corner from Jackson to Warburton to tie up the game.
It took a Durham yellow card with 10 minute to go, to bring out the best of the Alderley midfield. With Hughes, Gregory and Bryant beginning to look much more dangerous. Unfortunately they could not break the deadlock and the game finished 1-1. With Alderley returning to Cheshire feeling that the game was 2 points lost rather than a point gained.
Alderley Edge second team maintained their strong start to the season with victory over Liverpool Sefton. The game against Sefton was an end to end affair with a frantic start and neither side dominating. Unforced errors put Alderley on the back foot and Riley was the busier of the keepers. Although Warburton forced the keeper into save from a penalty corner and a couple of chances went the wrong side of the post. Half time score was nil nil.
Alderley strarted the second half with more intensity. Quickly after the restart neat interplay from Hodgson and Warburton gave Baker a simple deflected finish at the foot of the post. Alderley were looking far more composed with Scarsbrook and Chris Hardy comfortable on the ball at the back and the Alderley midfield seeing more possession.
It was against the run of play when Sefton won two successive penalty corners, the second was well finished to bring the scores level. It was not long before Alderley were back in front following good work up the right hand side a fired in cross found Baker unmarked at the back post and he slapped the ball into the net for 2-1.
Then with less than 5 minutres to go the game changed around, Walden and the Sefton attacker both went for a bobbling ball and both missed with the Sefton player clattering his stick into Walden's the nearest Umpire seemed to point in Alderley's favour the far Umpire disagreed and sent Walden to the sinbin. Moments later Williams slid into a tackle winning the ball cleanly but his momentum took him into the player, the near Umpire was happy with challenge again the far Umpire was not and sent Williams to the sin bin.
Alderley through Hardy continued to keep the ball and run time down. However, in the next attack from Sefton, Baker tracking back was judged to have tripped a Sefton player deliberately and he was the third player to be sent to the sidelines. Sefton substituted their keeper to make it 11 v 7 outfielders, however the tactic looked like it backfired as Warbuton broke forward and beat the defender with no keeper he only had to roll the ball into the empty goal but he appeared to have his stick taken, but the Umpire saw no foul. Despite the numerical advantage Sefton tried to force the ball into the D, without much luck. Then with only seconds to go a gap was found and they managed to get a shot on target, but Riley produced the save and clattered into a Sefton player at the same time. The stoppage in play allowed Alderley to regather themselves and see out time for a deserved victory.
The 3rd team continued where they left off last season and sit top of the table stretching their unbeaten run to over 30 games, this time beating Llandudno away 3-2. The 4th team are also flying high despite dropping their first points of the season against Denbigh 1s.
The 5s are 3 points from top spot after beating Runcorn 4-1. In the same division the 6th team drew with Deeside2-2 while the 7s travelled to Buxton and won 2-1.
Match report by Ben Whitehead and James Riley.