Match report: Amaranth Crossgates 1 – 2 Idle FC. Three-Five-Two…

Posted on September 3, 2018

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Yorkshire Amateur League Division 1 – Saturday 1st September 2018

Full-time: Amaranth Crossgates 1 – 2 Idle FC

Goals: J. Strudwick, C. Churm

MOTM: T. Simonett

It was a step into the unknown on the opening day of the Yorkshire Amateur League season for Idle who faced Amaranth Crossgates in their opening fixture in Division 1. Amaranth are a new side the league and a team Idle knew little to nothing about and with an hour and a half round trip on the opening day, it was certain to be a difficult test for the Bradford side!

The lads eventually found their way to the ground which turned out to be a nice little set-up on the other side of a construction site and a number of farmer’s fields. The weather was warm and the pitch whilst flat, turned out to be rock hard and not shy of a bobble or two.

However, with a solid preseason behind them, the Idle players were ready for their first game and prepared to right the wrongs from last season’s late capitulation which cost them the title!

The coaching staff and the players have been working on possibly the greatest formation in the world over the course of preseason. Idle will now be playing the en vogue 3-5-2 which England employed successfully at the World Cup. Some might say Marcus Strudwick and Rob Brook were inspired by Gareth Southgate’s successful implementation of the formation, however, it’s more likely that we’ve just got too many centre-backs to accommodate in the starting XI these days…

Both sides began the game strongly with Amaranth enjoying much of the possession in the early stages and Idle limited to counter-attacking football. As it turns out the home-side were a decent outfit who looked to pass the ball around and use the pace of their forwards to get in behind the Idle defence.

Idle were resolute in the first half, showing discipline and a desire to defend for each other. Communication across the pitch proved key with Amaranth moving the ball quickly, probing down both flanks and looking to utilise the pace of their attackers.

The counter-attack eventually proved to be Idle’s best option going forward with Ryan Mitchell and Adam Medley breaking from centre-midfield and left-wing back respectively. It was Mitchell who orchestrated the break through with a lung-bursting run from the centre of the park, tearing through the Amaranth defence before driving into the box, cutting inside the defender who swung a leg at the Idle man and brought him down for the easiest penalty the referee will award all season.

Jack Strudwick stepped up to take the spot kick and there was certainly no hesitation as he smashed the ball cleanly into the bottom corner to make it 0-1. Whilst Idle had certainly been on the defensive for most of the half, it wasn’t an undeserved lead. The half-time whistle came with the score remaining 0-1.

A couple of changes were made at half-time with Carl Dawson replacing new man Conor Swales in centre-midfield. Conor Halligan come on the replace Jamie Allen at right centre-back and two new lads swapping with Callum Churm replacing Ashley Maitland upfront. This is the first time Idle have had strong options to step in from the bench and certainly something we’ve missed in the past.

The second-half followed a similar pattern to the first with Idle defending resolutely as a team, pressing in the right areas and communicating across the park. The Bradford side did begin to see more of the ball as Amaranth began to tire and started to build a few more attacks of their own, building out from the back and creating chances through midfield and attack.

The game did get a bit feisty in the second-half with some strong challenges flying in. However, Medley took the worst of it as he was pretty much chopped in two by one of the Amaranth midfielders who certainly should have seen a card for how late he was!

However, Swales did a brilliant job of winding the opposition lads up on his return to the pitch as a replacement for Medley. My favourite part has to be the Amaranth midfielder booting the ball at Swales following a tussle in the centre circle, which ended with the ball flying out of play without touching anyone and the Amaranth bench telling their own player to “grow-up”!

Some top shithousing from the young midfielder.

M. Strudwick was having a brilliant game in the Idle goal, claiming every cross that came into his box and punching the ball clear where necessary as well as orchestrating the lads at the back when required. However, it was unfortunate that a clear foul on the Idle keeper went unnoticed by the referee who failed to give the free-kick after the Amaranth player clattered into the keeper and preventing him from claiming the cross. The ball bounced helplessly into the back of the net to make it 1-1.

Robbed of his clean sheet, the Idle keeper ran all of 40 yards to remonstrate with the referee who was never going to change his mind and subsequently collected his first booking of the season for swearing at the referee. It was like watching Gigi Buffon hunt down Michael Oliver in the Champions League quarter final!

Buffon Michael Oliver.gif

No doubt the first of many bookings to come along with a few other gob-shite’s in the team. Not mentioning names… *ahem* Danny Rosconie *ahem*.

In all fairness, it was probably a deserved equaliser for Amaranth who had dominated the ball for long-periods, however, the manner of the goal was disappointing.

As Amaranth came on strong in the last 10 minutes, clearly trying to capitalise on the shift in momentum, Idle stayed strong and battled their way back into the game. Again, it was the counter-attack which caught out Amaranth who’d committed most of their team forward in search of a winner.

J. Strudwick managed to get on the ball in the Idle third before finding Aaron Irving just on the half-way line. Irving held the ball up well, batting off a couple of challenges before spraying it out to Medley in the right wing-back position. Medley then drove at the Amaranth defence who couldn’t touch him for fear of giving a foul away. The winger then picked out the perfect cross to Churm, who like a young Pipo Inzaghi had managed to engineer a yard of space in the box to slot home the winner past the on-rushing goalkeeper.

Cue the wild celebrations with Churm’s striker effectively securing the 3 points for Idle late in the game!

The lads had worked really hard for the victory and Amaranth had certainly done all they could to win the match but overall, it was a strong and resolute display across the pitch which saw Idle travel back to Bradford with their first 3 points of the season.

It was the perfect start to what will hopefully be a successful league campaign!

Centre-back Tom Simonett took home the Man of the Match award fro his colossal display at the heart of the Idle back three.

By Jamie Allen

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Posted in: Football