Manchester Walking Football 2 – Celtic Top The Table
Manchester Walking Football 2 was the second session of the Greater Manchester Over 60’s Walking Football Spring 2017 League. As in February the session was a great occasion of real walking football. After the debacle of the FA People’s Cup last Saturday, it was good to get back to some proper sporting competition.
Vintage Celtic were promoted to Division 1 after coming top of Division 2 in the February session. Because February was the inaugural month of the competition, teams were drawn out of the hat to see which division they started in. It was no reflection on ability or past tournament record but as the saying goes ‘the cream always rises to the top’.
As is our usual state of play, we started badly in the Manchester Walking Football 2 session and slowly improved. We were playing a new formation and this could be the reason we took time to get accustomed to it. The first fixture was against AFC Blackpool Senior Seasiders and although we had numerous shots at their keeper Steve Hyde, we couldn’t get past him to score. In fact Steve now has the same record as our own Mike Kieran, only conceding one goal in 7 matches. So we had to settle for a point in this match.
Second up were the Rochdale Striders, the weakest side in Division 1. This time we had difficulty even hitting the target, with many shots going woefully wide of the goals. Another 0-0 draw made this a frustrating time for us all and hopefully we could only improve.
This we did in the third fixture against Chadderton FC WF. Brian Coll scored with a great strike to give us the lead. Unfortunately a defensive mix up enabled Chadderton to equalise, spoiling Mikes record of no goals yet conceded in the league. There was very little difference in the performance of both teams in terms of ability and possession and the game could have gone either way but thanks to a tremendous shot from Paul O’Neil, from a very tight angle, the ball was struck into the top corner of the net. You won’t see many better goals than this in walking football. That write up must be at least worth a pint Paul?
We were now showing our true ability and in the final fixture of this Manchester Walking Football 2 session we came up against the very capable side, Rochdale AFC Strollers. We really played some superb football in this game. The movement and passing were absolutely spot on and the final scoreline didn’t really reflect the dominance of the Celtic team. Another goal from Paul O’Neil secured the win and he also had one disallowed for encroachment in the area. Paul, with 5 goals to his credit, is the top scorer in the league so far in the 2 sessions of the Greater Manchester Over 60’s Walking Football League. If his shooting improves he may stand a chance of winning the Golden Boot!
All the lads put in a shift and although not wanting to single out one player, it must be said that Brian Coll, even with his dodgy knees, was a rock at the heart of our defence and the initiator of many attacks. After a few recent disappointments in leagues and tournaments, to say I am ecstatic about our continuing progress in over 60’s comps, which have to be our forte, is an under statement.
Thanks to all the lads who turned out at this Manchester Walking Football 2 session, Brian Coll, Derek Drabble, Gordon Fenton, Mike Kieran, Paul O’Neil, Mike Taylor, Tony Wade, Eric Williams and Barry Whitmore.
An extra special thanks to Gordon Fenton and Mike Taylor, who despite turning up for both the February and March sessions only had 10 seconds (yes that’s correct) and 10 minutes game time respectively in both sessions combined. Trying to explain to players that I have to field what I consider is the best side and formation to win matches is a difficult enough and unenviable task but these two lads accepted the fact, endorsed it and proved that players like these are the lifeblood of any club. Your loyalty is greatly appreciated, I only wish I could say the same for a couple of others I introduced to walking football, but that’s another story.