Match Report - 10 Sep 2016, Leeds Modernians Football Club 3rds drew with Huddersfield Amateurs
The brave Modsmen of the third team arrived at a sunny Tinshill Top on Saturday afternoon with a quiet optimism permeating through the team. The referee had arrived at the club instead of Tinshill Top, but was kindly escorted to the ground as part of the Mods’ convoy; a cunning move by the Mods that would surely lead to some decision-making lenience in the upcoming game...
A change of management saw Paul Green take the mantle during pre-season; the likeable Scouser bringing a sense of Chris Coleman-esque ‘stronger together’-ness to the Mods camp. That feeling of togetherness was further enhanced as the lads got changed to the deafening sound of some Ibiza House classics pumping out of little Jimmy’s boom box in the changing rooms (once the plug socket had been located...).
Mods set up as follows: Ollie Bausor in nets, full backs were Little Dan and Ben Griggs, centre half pairing of Byron and Paul Green, little Jimmy in the holding midfield role, Harrison and Ben Wilson just in front, Stu Astall on the left wing, Wraith (new summer signing) on the right and Blimey ploughing a rather lonely furrow up top on his own. Kev and new signing Sam made up the substitutes.
After a decent warm-up the game kicked off with Huddersfield immediately in the ascendancy. Mods didn’t seem to be able to settle and seemed incapable of playing ‘the easy pass’; every time possession was won back, the ball was hoofed up the field. The ball inevitably went out of play towards the Huddersfield corner flags – this would have been deemed excellent tactical play had we been playing rugby. Alas, we were not. We were playing football. Badly. One of the Huddersfield players even remarked that “you would love our pitch...the way you lot play your football” – I think he basically meant that a bigger pitch would have given us more of a chance of actually keeping the ball in play for more than 10 seconds at a time.
The first goal came roughly 10 minutes in and, predictably, was scored by the visiting side. Huddersfield were worryingly settling into a dangerous rhythm of play; whipping the ball out to their pacy wide men who ran at our full backs and delivered repeatedly well-placed balls into the Mods penalty box. The men in red and black clung on to the 0-1 deficit like little Jimmy had clung on to his limited remaining supply of hair before finally coming to accept that the dream was over and shaving it off over the summer. Huddersfield huffed and puffed, but Mods hit them several times on the break – at one point Wraith had an excellent chance to equalise, but it wasn’t to be. Towards half time a Huddersfield forward beat the offside trap to slot home from close range and make it 2-0. This wasn’t the fairy tale opening day that the lads from Cookridge Lane had dreamed of.
Mods 0-2 Huddersfield Amateur
After some positive words from the management team at half time, Mods returned to the field of play with a number of notable clichés ringing in their ears including: “they want this more than us at the moment”, “we haven’t started yet, have we?” and “we’ve gotta be better this half”. Something must have clicked during the half time talk, though, as Mods started far better than they had ended the first half. They had finally started challenging for 50/50 balls, winning headers and even managed to string more than two passes together without the ball going out of play; they were back in the game.
The red mist descended over little Jimmy early on in the second half; the scally playing in the middle for Huddersfield didn’t like the way he was tackled and decided to kick out, resulting in a perfectly justified response. The aforementioned response should probably have resulted in a straight red card for “violent conduct” according to the referee. It was at this point that Jimmy thanked his lucky stars that he had been the one to offer such a warm welcome the ref when he arrived at Cookridge Lane, and for providing a personal escort for him to Tinshill Top. Prior to the game they were getting on famously. A compromise was struck: a yellow card for Jimmy, a slap on the wrist for scally.
The game seemed to ignite at this point, with Mods getting stuck into the tackles (Ben Wilson in particular) and forging some nice attacking moves. Blimey was doing his best to hold the ball up whenever Mods pushed forward and Stu Astall had delivered a number of dangerous whipped crosses into the Huddersfield box. During one such attacking move, Huddersfield had almost every man behind the ball when it bounced once just outside the D. Ben Wilson was on hand to unleash an unstoppable drive that skimmed off the post, right into the top corner. Mods jubilantly retrieved the ball and ran back to the centre circle to cries of “we’re still in this, lads!”
The next 15-20 minutes was fraught, with end-to-end attacks at both ends and Huddersfield just edging things. Like a dagger to the heart, the boys in blue and white managed to make it 3-1 with 10 minutes left on the clock. At this point, the neutral was thinking the game was over and even the most diehard of Mods fans began to slope out of the Tinshill Arena leaving a patchwork of empty red and black seats across the home section. But the Mods brave hearts were not done just yet...
Mods committed men forward in the search for a consolation goal and left themselves exposed at the back. Ollie made a fantastic last-ditch sliding tackle on the Huddersfield forward when it looked like the fourth goal was inevitable. With less than 5 minutes of normal time to play, Mods responded with an attack down the left hand side. Stu whipped in a high, hard ball towards the back post. It came off the cross bar and resulted in a panicked Huddersfield defender clearing the ball into the bottom corner of his own net.
Mods started to believe that they would get something out of the game, despite the odds (and time) being stacked against them. Little Dan was thrown up top. Huddersfield had shrivelled into a quivering nervous wreck of a team and couldn’t get out of their own half. Deep in injury time Harrison broke into the Huddersfield box and was brought down by the outstretched leg of a defender. Time seemed to stand still for an eternity as a swarm of red and black exclaimed “PENALTY!” All eyes turned to the man in black who immediately pointed to the spot. Mods had a lifeline. Up stepped Stu Astall to shouts of “he’s missed it...no way he’s scored this” – the man had balls of steel as he smashed the resulting penalty into the net giving the keeper no chance whatsoever. Cue wild celebrations from the Mods players and supporters – the thousands who had streamed out of the ground 10 minutes before now cursing their car radios.
Back in the changing rooms there was only one thing for it: time to blast out Chumbawamba’s 90s hit ‘Tubthumping’. Mods had been knocked down, but by God had they got back up again.
Mods 3-3 Huddersfield Amateur
Leeds Modernians Football Club 3rds 3 - 3 Huddersfield Amateurs ()