Witton Albion Supporters FC vs Sandbach Sharks

Witton Team;

GK - Crouch; DF - Marshall, Robinson; MF - Green(c), Blundell; FW - G.Knight.
Subs - Jones (for Robinson); Carter, Shaun (for Blundell); Carter, Scott (for Green); Amies-King (for Jones).

Team Rating ***
Match Rating ***
Man Of The Match - Mike Blundell

Witton Albion Supporters, decked out in their famous Red and White stripes, claimed a hard-earned draw in their first ever competitive game. Roared on by a rapturous crowd of 2, Witton harried and hustled their way to a credible shut-out against a Sandbach team who were playing their 18th - and final - match of season, finishing 1 place above Albion in the final standings.

Prior to taking the field for what was an historic occasion, the Witton boys posed for the obligitory pre-match photo. Looking resplendent in shirts culled from no less than 5 different seasons, the mighty Witton certainly carried themselves with an air of invincability.

Enjoying the better of the opening exchanges, Witton could of taken the lead early on only for captain Tom Green to waste a glorious opportunity when through on goal. Green redeemed himself throughout the rest of the match, displaying a range of passing seldom seen outside of the Nou Camp or - dare we say it - Anfield. On one such occasion, again during the early stages of the match, Green sent Glyn Knight racing forward by playing a superlative ball through the heart of the Shark’s defense. Unfortunately the finish could not match the approach play.

As the Witton passing began to get wasteful, the Sharks - who had previously appeared to be like fish out of water - began to show their true bite. Terrier-like midfield general Mike Blundell had his hands full trying to contain the breaking forward runs of the Shark’s midfield, and Witton had Goalkeeper Graham Crouch to thank for one save late in the first half. With the onrushing Shark’s forward appearing to have the Witton goal at his mercy, Crouch pulled off a gravity-defying one-handed save to divert the ball around his right-hand post and away for a corner. The resulting corner petered out into nothing, with player-manager Mark Robinson taking the opportunity to pull himself off and be replaced by big Stu Jones.

With fresh legs at the back, midfield dynamo Green was able to temporarily exert more of an influence on proceedings. However, as half-time approached, it remained goal-less.

The second half began with thrust and counter thrust, as both teams strove to find that elusive break-through goal. With chances few and far between, Blundell attempted an acrobatic bicycle kick, which just failed to test the Sharks 'keeper. As the Sharks began to find their range of passing, Robinson acted swifty and threw on the silky-skilled Shaun Carter. Carter began to link up well with Knight, and again the Army man came close to breaking the dead-lock only to fluff his opportunity when it appeared easier to score.

This seemed to spur the Sharks on, and they really should of taken the lead when one of their forwards sprung the Witton defensive line, only to carry the ball too wide, allowing Albion to get men back goal-side and divert the danger. Witton’s response was for Green to sending a rasping shot narrowly over the opposition’s cross-bar from a distance of some 30 yards.

This was to be Green’s last real offering, as captain fantastic then left the pitch to a standing ovation (there are no seats at Middlewich), to be replaced by Scott Carter. This subsitution being the second historic occasion of the afternoon, as Shaun and Scott became the first brothers to appear in the same WItton Supporters line-up. Watching father Phil was visably struggling to hold back tears of pride.

With a back-line now comprising Jones and Scott Carter, with the ever-reliable Greg Marshall moved into a more advanced midfield position and Brazillian-esque Shaun Carter now dictating play further up the pitch, Witton continued to hold the blues at bay. After one good move involving Carter and Knight, the Sandbach keeper diverted a goal-bound shot onto the cross-bar and away for a corner. Unfortunately Witton could not make the resulting set-piece count, and the game approached it’s closing stages with neither team looking likely to break the deadlock.

Late in the game Jones, who had clearly been struggling with a groin strain throughout, acquiesced to the inevitible and made way for Amies-King. Within minutes the Sharks appeared to have the goal at their mercy, only for the cat-like agility of Crouch to again thwart their efforts, and scoreless it remained. Witton battled for the remaining 5 minutes of the afternoon, eventually settling for what was a very respectable 0 - 0 draw.

So, in what was their only game of the season, Witton not only maintained an unbeaten record, but custodian Crouch had the honour of going a whole season without conceding a single goal. Admittedly, the season for Witton only lasted one game, but the achievement is still not one to be sniffed at.

Player-Manager Robinson stated after the game that he was in a celebratary mood after seeing his Team gain their first ever point. Witton Albion Supporters FC then had a 5-a-side game amongst themselves, before departing for a well-earned curry.

Great start lads - not may teams will draw every game of a season :wink:

Robbo you’ve set you self a high standard of match reporting now - hope it’s not a one off!!!

I try my best 8)

Well done everyone. Can only applaud any innovation to extend the mighty Albs name.

Seems also I may have found my deputy when I’m off to Espana. Come and see me up in the PA box on Tuesday Robbo if interested.

Robbo, your match report sent to the Guardian and the Chron, I wonder which one will print it?