On Saturday 13th November our military veterans football team travelled to ST George’s Park to play against the RAF. It was the start of a very busy weekend. We played our game and had our end of season presentation evening at Curzon (our season ends on remembrance weekend) On Sunday we then at the cenotaph in Ashton – Under – Lyne.
Curzon Ashton got off to a great start, scoring in the first 4 minutes, but the linesman ruled it offside. This happened 3 more times throughout the match. Throughout the game the RAF had majority of possession, but we already knew this was going to be the case. Before the pandemic the RAF played against another local military veteran side, and the RAF won 12-0!
We had a game plan which we had been working on over the past couple of months in training. The plan was to sit back absorbing the pressure, and shuffle across the pitch, playing really compact. We tried and made it very hard for the RAF to play in our half.
Due to a small mistake at the back, we were down a goal 18 minutes into the game. We had our chances after that, with our right back Darren Stanley having a few shots from outside the area, one of which hit the post. Darren, Wayne Latham, and Jamie Longworth linked up really well during the first half, creating many chances for the team.
In the 22nd minute we had a corner. Our left back Gordon Triffitt swung in the corner and our midfielder Wayne Latham rose above the RAF players and headed the ball in to the net. Our two centre backs Chris Pier and Nicholas Fish (our captain) played well together, and Fish ended up clearing the ball off the line before half time.
Unfortunately another error cost us a goal in the 36th minute. With them taking the lead, our defensive midfield pairing of Joe Prince and Paul Farrell continued to work hard, stopping the forward passes from the RAF. After some great defensive play, Joe won the ball and played the ball to our striker Jamie Longworth. Jamie switched the ball to the right hand side to Darren Stanley, who placed the ball in the bottom left corner. In the last few minutes the RAF retook the lead, with the half time score reading 3-2.
In the second half we made some changes to the starting eleven, and the lads who come on carried on the brilliant performance. We pushed them a little more in the second half, still sticking to our game plan but we created a lot more chances. In the last 10 minutes we could have scored at least four goals. Darren again hit the crossbar, and the RAF keeper pulled off an unbelievable save in the last minute to deny our central midfielder Ste Crompton a last minute header. If you have seen the David Seamen save he made against Sheffield United in the FA Cup, you can imagine how good this save was.
The final score was 3-2 to the RAF.
After the game we had our post-match presentation inside ST George’s Park. Chris Pier was voted man of the match by the opposition.