EASTER FOOTBALL: Cobden 0 - 0 Kinder

Venue: Linnet Clough
Date: Sunday, 12 April 2009
Kick-off: 11:10 GMT
Reporter: Andy Togs

There are several Shakespearean comedy titles that could headline this match report: The Comedy of Errors, The Tempest, Measure for Measure, All's Well That Ends Well, or The Merchant of Venice ( a special title with Andy Spreck demanding his pound of flesh from every crunching challenge). However, given the quality of passing, movement, shooting, and the scoreline, “Much Ado About Nothing” is probably more appropriate.

Like a bored and bemused scout enduring a Shakespearean play: the entertainment was a bit dull, but something might happen in the end. Unfortunately, it didn’t. Both Cobden and Kinder huffed and puffed with no real quality or cutting edge and the game ended in a stalemate. The usual pot-shots, maybes, and loose chances arose but neither team could finish them off.

Cobden were missing a few big lads – Johnny D (away in Japan), Pamflett absent, “born winner” Sigley too busy spending money, Finny: location unknown, and Adi Togs leaving early. Along with only 2 of the usual 6 goal poaching scouts and it was hard to see where a goal would come from.

Kinder, however, boosted by the presence of 3 Ridgways, extra players from Eccles scouts and more networkers than all cobden’s leaders, networkers, and explorers put together, had more vocal appeals, bossed more of the game all round, and had more men in defence – sometimes totalling 10. It is a credit to them that with such an advantage they accepted the dubious nature of their disallowed goals with such good grace. Setting out such a packed defence, combined with more midfielders prepared to run around and attack, and it is no surprise that Kinder had 3 dubious disallowed goal chances to Cobdens lowly 2 half chances – if that.

The Cobden defence stood firm despite wobbling, with sterling work from Joe Ward, Ryan Nolan, ex-referee Brock, and the surprisingly undefeated Hopwood. The expected goalmouth scrambles ensued but Cobden nervously hoofed them away. The notable scramble coming as Ian ridgway and Andy Thorpe conspired not to scramble the ball into the net at the beginning of the second half with a practically open goal infront of them. Both men got in each others way leaving a floored Hopwood a chance to get rid of the bobbling ball. This was the best opportunity lost by Kinder. Otherwise they tested the keeper from further out with disallowed goals arising from handballs, bent posts, and high shots – unable to be judged without a crossbar.

In open play Ben Alty and Redman remained waiting as ever to poke the ball over the line, but their opportunity never quite came, while Dobby, Bashers and Wilson tried their luck from afar.

With Kinder picking up most loose balls and second challenges, Cobden formed a more “defensive midfield” strategy so that any attack, with the forwards remaining upfront, that left a large hole in the middle of the formation and meant the ball bypassed “Midfield proper”. Cobden played more on the break utilising the long ball that sometimes made its destination, but poor crossing meant there was never a clear cut opportunity. Mummery went close with his head and nearly latched on to a dangerous cross, while a sporadic Andy Togs had a dubious goal disallowed in the first moments of the match. Potter continued to battle well to no avail along with Tommy Togs, Rick Statham and whose performances deserved merit for workrate.

The rules this year allowed only scouts to score in the first quarter, then explorers and scouts in the second quarter. Unfortunately neither Hoggy, Josh Williams, Andy Statham, or Callum Hibbs could leave any notable mark. Peachy got a head to the ball but couldn’t direct it goalward. After half time anyone could have a try and most did. These new rules handled the spirit of the game much better than the previous years individual age range attempts, but it was maybe these rules that also packed the parked allowing little skill or passing.

On a footballing level Carling opta would probably enjoy Cobdens passing percentages and some nice moves. It is Kinder however, who steal the shooting statistics.

In the same way the cup final is constantly built up into a spectacle, so was this match and it indeed suffered in the same way. Big, hard challenges and big name clashes never arose despite the perceived mauling attrition of some players. The only notable crunch came with a massive Acid, Greevy tangle where both ended up sprawled on the turf.

Cobden wouldn’t, or couldn’t be bothered, to rise to the constant Kinder baiting and it left a soulless match lacking spirit of fight or desire. The Kinder Spreckleys strived hard to make something of the game against a lack lustre Cobden who may well have been playing Catenaccio.

Despite the battling on show, there was no overall winner at the end of each half, and the prospect of penalties was swiftly ruled out in order for the scouts to endure their next challenge: Corn beef hash in the boiling weather. Honours even and hopefully this is one “no score draw” that both teams have got out of their system for next year.

There were some dubious decisions in the match - test your knowledge with our 'You Are The Ref' Quiz.