Martin Dawson Trophy 2017 – Same Old Story
The Martin Dawson Trophy 2017 was once again the same old depressing story for Vintage Celtic with us being known now as the 0-0 draw specialists.
With twelve teams entering the Martin Dawson Trophy 2017 tournament, Vintage Celtic were drawn in Division A alongside the National Over 60’s Champions, Hartshill Strollers, our old friends Rochdale AFC Strollers, our neighbours Tameside Striders, Wakefield Wanderers Blue and last years winners Wakefield Wanderers Orange.
We could have been named the Walking Wounded with Colin playing with a bad back, John P with serious hip replacement problems and Paul still suffering with knee ligament damage. Fortunately the rest of the lads were in decent condition. Missing regulars were Brian Coll, Tony Wade, Barry Whitmore and Eric Williams.
First up were the National Over 60’s Champions, Hartshill Strollers and to be honest they looked anything but. In the first five minutes we dominated possession with some slick passing and movement. Despite having 60% of the possession in this match we couldn’t find the net and it finished 0-0, what a surprise!
Second up were Wakefield Wanderers Blue and once again we dominated the game. Derek scored a great goal, which was judged, probably correctly, to be just over head height as it dipped and flew into the net. This was the only occasion in the Martin Dawson Trophy 2017 where we actually managed to beat the opposing keeper. In this game we couldn’t even score from the penalty spot, albeit the keeper has a definite advantage with goals so small at Heywood.
Rochdale AFC Strollers were our next opponents and again we just shaded possession with some fine passing and movement. Rochdale had the ball in the Celtic net but the referee, Mike Willmore, judged that play should have been stopped due to Celtic making a substitution at the time. The sporting lads from Rochdale made little objection to the decision. In this game we were more on target with our shooting but the excellent Rochdale keeper, Ron Blakeley, one of the best in the league, was up to it and made some fine saves.
Vintage Celtic’s fourth game of the day was against our finalist opponents last year, Wakefield Wanderers Orange. In this match we were completely outclassed and lucky to escape with only a 2-0 defeat. A suicidal back pass from inside the Wakefield half and slack marking cost us the two goals. Wakefield looked more like National Champions than the Hartshill side and my money would have been on them to win the Martin Dawson Trophy 2017 if rained hadn’t stopped the proceedings, despite some other fine teams in the tournament.
The fifth and final opponents were our near neighbours, Tameside Striders. Once again we dominated possession, with 65% of the play but despite many goal scoring chances, our shooting was woeful. When we did hit the target the Striders keeper, Gary Pearce, another excellent keeper, was not found short. Yes, you’ve guessed, it was our fourth 0-0 draw of the day.
In our last fifteen games in the Greater Manchester Walking Football League and this Martin Dawson Trophy 2017 tournament, we have had fourteen 0-0 draws, which tells it’s own story. Defensively, we are sound as the record shows. Our passing and movement is generally up with the best but it has to said our shooting is abysmal. I wonder if Cristiano Ronaldo fancies walking football with Vintage Celtic, I am sure our parent club could find the funds.
It was good to see Colin and John P back in action again, and a big thanks to John B for helping us out. George and Derek had their usual good games, Mike T did well again in the two games he played in and Mike K made some excellent saves. Paul once again did a sterling job holding the ball while our players found space to take it. We need Paul back to his shooting best and he has asked me for some further tuition, at a modest cost, on the goal scoring art.
The funniest part of the day was watching Mike K getting tangled up in the pitch netting. He was like a fly caught in a spiders web, desperately trying to untangle himself, much to the hilarity of all the players, the referee and the spectators.
Thanks to all the lads who turned out, John Bee, Derek Drabble, Colin Grimshaw, Mike Kieran, George Maitland, Paul O’Neil, John Parkinson and Mike Taylor.
The Greater Manchester Walking Football League report on the days proceedings can be found HERE.