17th December 2011 – Curzon Ashton v Witton Albion
A customary freezing day in December with ice on the ground. But Saturdays, freezing or not, mean football. I could see on Twitter that plenty of matches in the area were being cancelled, but I rang the club and was assured the game was on. On with the thermals then and a very slippy hike up to the ground. It didn’t help that I was a tad late which made the skating on the icy pavements even more tricky. I’m a martyr to the game.
With Witton Albion just a few places below Curzon Ashton in the League, I was hoping for an exciting and close game. Now, you won’t know this, but my Uncle Jack played for Witton Albion back in the ‘50’s (or ‘60’s?) (also Altrincham, but mainly Hyde United). But now you know. Jack Dobson if you’re interested.
The game had just kicked off when I arrived and I could see that the pre-match kick about hadn’t disturbed too much of the frost on the pitch. It was going to be interesting.
Witton Albion had brought along plenty of supporters with them, which was nice to see. Many of them were dressed as Father Christmas which provided a seasonal and visual treat and an interesting change from the usual winter football supporter uniform of big coat, hat and gloves which wouldn’t look out of place on Earnest Shackleton (you youngsters can look him up on your Google machines).
Back to the game. It wasn’t the best of starts for Curzon. The Witton players were running rings round them. In a tutting competition with Skippy, I would have won hands down. After 20 minutes, Witton scored. The only surprise there was that it took them so long. It wasn’t looking good for Curzon.
Just before half time, Mike Fish was on a great run and looked set to score when he was brought down by the Witton goalkeeper. It was a straight red and left Witton with only 10 men. The Witton fans, not surprisingly, were not best pleased with the Ref’s decision. Witton didn’t have a reserve goalkeeper so their number 2 had the unenviable task of taking over in the nets. Luckily for him, the resulting free kick didn’t trouble him.
|Father Christmas's galore|
Half time and a chance to give my head a rest from the shaking and tutting. However, the barracking which the Ref had endured for much of the game by a number of Witton fans, continued by one particularly passionate/barmy member of their contingent. He was frighteningly vocal and looked like he might give himself a coronary if he didn’t stop. It looked at one point like there might be trouble when others joined in. Luckily his mates dragged him away to the tea bar. Phew, crisis averted.
And now onto my next gripe. Far too often this season, the club has only opened the downstairs tea bar and not the large function room above the main stand. There were that many people crammed in there it must surely have contravened health and safety regulations. Apparently the upstairs room was being made ready for Jack Crompton’s birthday party the next day, which is fine, except - isn’t the club supposed to be about the football fans. Don’t get me started.....
So Curzon Ashton have a new mascot, Super Nash. What can I say? The kids seemed to like it and I suppose they’re the target audience. Moving on....
The second half got underway and we were hoping that Curzon would take advantage of Witton’s depleted squad. As usual, Curzon weren’t about to give up easily and pushed hard against what increasingly looked like a deflated and weakened Witton defence. But still no equaliser.
Then half way through the second half, drama. Dave Young was given a red card for what looked like a pretty nasty tackle. Both teams were down to ten men. Blimey. Nails were about to be nibbled.
With just five minutes to go, Curzon were still unable to find the back of the net. It looked as though we were about to witness their second defeat of the season. But then Lee blackshaw, who was having a cracking second half, broke through and scored for Curzon. Fantastic! But the drama didn’t end there. Just a couple of minutes later, Witton were awarded a penalty. Lordy. Amazingly, Josh Ollerenshaw managed to push it away and the final whistle was blown. Wow!
Witton Albion are certainly a team to watch - they played great football, probably the best team I’ve seen all season, and Curzon were very lucky to get a draw. So to sum up, Witton Albion played brilliantly, Curzon not so brilliantly. But one thing you couldn’t say about the game was that it was dull.
Final score - Curzon Ashton 1 Witton Albion 1