Match report: Salts WR Reserves 4 – 5 Idle FC

Posted on October 23, 2017

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Bradford and District FA Saturday Senior Cup – Saturday 21st October 2017

Full-time: Salts WR Reserves 4 – 5 Idle FC

Goals: T. Simonett (x2), J. Strudwick (x2), Medley

MOTM: C. Dawson

Liverpool ’05, Tottenham ’04, Deportivo ’04, Barcelona ’17. Just a selection of some of the greatest comebacks in modern football history and this was certainly a game to rival any of the above! Sit back, relax and let’s relive the tale…

Idle only had a short distance to travel to face West Riding County Amateur side, Salts Reserves in the second round of the Bradford and District FA Senior Cup.  Salts had dumped Idle out at this stage of the competition in their only previous meeting and the away side were certainly keen to set the record straight after a heavy defeat previously.

Storm Brian wasn’t quite in full-swing but the wind and rain would certainly have a minor effect on the game. The flat and even surface of the pitch was made slick by the rain and certainly conducive to Idle’s passing play.

However, it was the home team who started the quicker and after a succession of early corners, took the lead following a handling error from Idle goalkeeper, Marcus Strudwick. This would become a major theme of the first-half…

Salts quickly doubled their lead with what can only be described as ‘the most Sunday League goal ever’. The Salts goalkeeper managed to launch the ball from the edge of his box over the entire Idle defence and with one bounce, catching Strudwick off his line and into the back of the net. Yes, that’s right, their keeper scored a goal against us… pretty embarrassing.

That wasn’t the end to Idle’s woes in the first 20 minutes of the game. Salts were playing a lot of passes in behind the Idle defence and into the channels for their pacey wide players to get forward and deliver crosses. The home side were taking full advantage of Idle’s slow start and were 3-0 up within 20 minutes. The third goal found Strudwick in no man’s land trying to sweep up another pass into the channel (Come on Fabien Barthez! Stay in your goal eh?). However, the winger managed to round the on-rushing goalkeeper and square the ball to the striker who calmly slotted the ball into the open goal.

Idle eventually got a foothold in the game, clawing a goal back through Tom Simonett following some good interplay in midfield, a through ball and fine first touch and composed finish from Simonett to reduce the deficit.

Salts were not to be deterred by Idle’s goal and swiftly went up the other end and scored a fourth. Another corner kick was headed home by the Salts centre-back despite a clear push on Lee Cookson. Anyway, half-time had finally arrived and Idle were 4-1 down. Here is a Gif and meme which I think captures the first-half:

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Half-time gave the lads a chance to gather their thoughts and whilst the opposition went into the dressing room for the interval, Idle remained out on the pitch in the rain. It wasn’t quite a Phil Brown at Hull in 2008 half-time team talk from manager, Rob Brook but it certainly gave everyone belief that we could still salvage something from the game.

Meanwhile, Strudwick disappeared into the dressing, presumably after fishing his head out of the River Aire and screwing it back on…

The game then came alive in the second half with a hint of complacency creeping into Salts play. The next goal was key and Jack Strudwick stepped up to the plate to get Idle back into the game. There was a hint of fortune as his strike from just inside the area deflected over the keeper into the top corner. 4-2 and it was game on.

Idle were now dominating the ball, passing it out from the back and through the midfield who were now controlling the game. It was Simonett who bagged Idle’s third goal in similar fashion to his first half strike. Again, after some lovely interplay in midfield and a through ball to pick out his run, Simonett controlled well and calmly finished past the Salts keeper, who was beginning to have his own nightmare between the posts. 4-3 and things were getting tasty!

Idle certainly had the bit between their teeth now, battling for every ball, defending as a unit and controlling the game across the pitch. The leveller came once again through Jack Strudwick. Left-back, Luke Gray managed to dispossess the Salts winger who tried his best to win a free-kick with a comical dive.

In between his various profanities and the word ‘turd’ directed at the winger, Gray managed to keep his head and lay the ball off to Medley who in turn found Strudwick in the box. Strudwick’s quality close control allowed him to dribble between both centre-backs and slot calmly past the keeper! 4-4 and the comeback was complete, Idle were level!

The momentum had certainly switched in the away side’s favour in the second half and there was only one team who looked like winning the match from here. Idle had dominated the second half with Salts having very few chances on goal.

Idle remained calm, passing the ball around with ease and confidence with Carl Dawson, Simonett and Strudwick dictating the game from central areas and probing the Salts defence. Medley, Ryan Mitchell and Aaron Irving hadn’t given the home defence a moments peace all game with both full-backs struggling in the later stages and it was Medley who was to be rewarded for his persistence and hard work.

In the dying minutes of normal time, Gray picked up the ball once again at left-back and played it to Medley who did what he had done all game and ran at the defence, driving into the box from wide with the full-back struggling to get back. As space opened up and the angle tightened, Medley put in the best cross of the game! It was some coincidence that the ball managed to loop over the Salts keeper and into the top corner of the net sparking wild scenes of celebration!

89 minutes on the clock, 4-5 to Idle! Some may say that Liverpool’s comeback against AC Milan in Istanbul was the greatest in football history, but I don’t think those people were there at Saltaire on a wet Saturday afternoon in October 2017!

The referee blew the final whistle, Idle holding their nerve to see out the game. Now onto Round Three against TVR United.

By Jamie Allen

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Posted in: Football