Match report: Collegians FC 2 – 4 Idle FC. Desire, determination and defensive solidarity!

Posted on March 27, 2019

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Yorkshire Amateur League Division 1 – Saturday 23rd March 2019

Full-time: Collegians FC 2 – 4 Idle FC

Goals: A. Irving(x2), J. Strudwick, A. Maitland.

MOTM: T. Simonett

It was the annual trip to down the M62 this weekend to face Collegians in the return fixture from 3 weeks ago and Idle were out for revenge following the embarrassing 0-3 defeat at home!

The boys couldn’t afford to drop anymore points this season and had to be up for the game from the first whistle to the last. Historically, Idle have always played well on the Collegians pitch and were in fact unbeaten in three games there.

There were a couple of changes to the starting line-up from the previous game against Thornesians. Ryan Mitchell was unavailable which meant Tom Holmes came in at right-wing. In the absence of Conor Halligan and Luke Chandler, Lee Cookson and Jordan Broadbent started at centre-back. Marcus Strudwick, Josh Dickinson and Stephen Kelsey were all unavailable for various reasons so it was up to young Kian Fletcher to step in between the sticks.

Idle started much the better side, once again looking to get the ball down and play football in the face of the long-ball from Collegians. Holmes and Allen linked up well down the right-wing with Holmes doing particularly well working up and down the line.

Most of the Idle attacks in the first half came down the right-wing and eventually it was a cross from that side of the pitch that was turned home by Aaron Irving to deservedly put Idle 0-1 up.

One of the flash-points of the first half saw Broadbent booked for a sliding challenge on the Collegians left-winger who certainly made the most of the tackle. In all fairness, it wasn’t a great challenge…

GlenJohnsonTackle

Idle dominated the ball for the majority of the half but unfortunately, the one real chance the home side had ended up in the back of the net. It was a counter attack that saw the Collegians number 10 find space behind the Idle defence for the first time. His cross was met by his strike partner in the middle of the penalty area but Fletcher on his debut pulled off a fantastic save to deny the forward from close range. The second rebound was blocked by the Idle defence but unfortunately the rebound landed perfectly at the midfielders feet who smashed home to equalise.

Overall, Fletcher was enjoying a solid debut. His handling was good and he made his presence felt with a strong punch from a corner kick early on.

The half-time whistle arrived with the score at 1-1.

The Blues had performed well and there was optimism in the second half that they could push on and take all three points!

The second half began with Idle on top once again as Collegians seemingly lost the pace of the game after the interval. There was a succession of Idle corner kicks thanks to the tireless work of Holmes and Adam Medley down the flanks and eventually, one of them was turned home by Irving with a deft touch just inside the 6 yard box. 1-2.

Then came the sucker punch! Idle were down to 10 men after Broadbent was dismissed for a last-man, professional foul on the Collegians forward around the 60 minute mark. The decision was debatable with a suspicion of offside against the forward and the pace of Cookson and Allen on the cover. However, the protests were dismissed by the referee and the red card shown to Broadbent. Cue Tom Simonett to step in at centre-back where he dominated for the rest of the game!

If there ever was a time when a shift was needed by all the players in Blue then this was it! The boys defended as a unit, ensuring Collegians long-ball tactics didn’t come to anything more than the odd fleeting chance.

Collegians struggled to press home their numerical advantage with poor use of the ball when in possession, relying on the quick left-winger to do something with the ball on the rare occasions he had it at his feet.

Idle’s counter-attack proved incredibly effective and despite the disadvantage of being a man down they extended their lead. Medley won a free-kick around 25 yards from goal after the Collegians substitute (number 15 for future reference…) made a silly tackle almost as soon as he entered the field of play. Jack Strudwick stepped up and whipped a venomous free-kick over the wall and in off the underside of the crossbar, leaving the keeper stranded. 1-3. The

Some strike from Idle’s number 10 to be fair and Strudwick followed it up with some classic Idle sh*thousery… “That’s your fault is that 15!”

Idle’s counter-attack continued to pay dividends as they extended their lead through left-back Ash Maitland who made a smart run down the wing, overlapping Medley who found his team mate with a cute reverse pass. Maitland took one touch in the box and curled a sweet finesse shot into the top-right hand corner, once again leaving the goalkeeper static. 1-4.

Collegians did manage to get back into the game after they sent their big centre back up front to try and make use of their long-ball tactics. The lad’s first action as auxiliary striker was to power home a header from a corner to make it 2-4 and reduce the deficit.

However, Idle weren’t to be denied their victory as they saw out the game with some solid defending across the pitch. Strong tackling and heading at the back, hard work and smart use of possession in midfield and attack. George Collins  had a great chance to extend Idle’s lead further after coming off the bench, making a great run from right-wing to receive a through-ball, his first touch was immaculate and bearing down on the keeper it looked like a certain goal however, the finish wasn’t quite there and the keeper managed to get a foot to the low shot.

Idle’s hard work and quality on the ball paid off and after 90 minutes the 3 points were coming back down the M62 to Bradford! The result put Idle level on points with Collegians and Amaranth at the top of the Division 1 table with 7 games to go.

By Jamie Allen

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