After spending a season re-grouping in the Hope Valley A Division, Whaley reserves made the long awaited step up into the Cheshire League. To say I was apprehensive and nervous about our first game was an understatement and added to this was a trip to Gamesley, never an easy away tie. Whaley went with a 4-5-1 formation looking to shut up shop and dominate the midfield better than what we had at Bradwell pre season. As with most games concentration and focus wasn’t with us at the start of the first half and although getting the ball down and trying to play football, we found ourselves a goal down after an uncharacteristic mistake in the defence. This was the shock that Whaley needed and upped the tempo from then on. A very physical battle in the midfield began, with J.Shuker, J.Bailley and J.Mellor working hard and it wasn’t long before a long ball caught the Gamesley defence out, and we were awarded a penalty, unfortunately young James Gemell could not convert and we remained a goal down. As play went on, the game was evenly balanced and it was soon after that Gemell had an opportunity to make amends for his penalty, and remained composed to slot home the equaliser. However Whaley again paid the price for lack of concentration when from a corner, Gamesley scored a wonder strike as an unmarked player was allowed time to shoot from 25 yards!! Whaley came out second half with far more determination and it showed with tackles flying in left, right and center......a mention has to go to Josh Bailey who probably suffered concussion after a series of tackles, but still managed to play on. After a long passage of play, where Whaley matched a tough, physical Gamesley team an equaliser eventually came from Tom Scorer whose strike was equalled by his goal celebration!! A fair result, but after a shaky start Whaley reserves showed that they can play football and seem keen to compete in this division. Concentration is key for future games and becoming more ‘streetwise’ in order to secure those vital 3 points.
C. Malpus, D.Turner, A.Hunter, M.Newton, S.White, L.Shuker, J.Gemmell, J.Shuker, J.Bailey, J.Mellor, A.Airey
Subs: B.Jackson, T.Scorer