Coppull United FC 3 – Fulwood Amateurs FC 3– Saturday 19TH September 2020
Coppull United faced Tony Hesketh’s Fulwood Amateur’s in their first home game of the season – a team who were top of the league when the season came to an abrupt end last season and reigning champions from the season before that. Fulwood came into the game smarting on the back of a defeat to Euxton Villa last week while Coppull had drawn their two previous games.
Coppull started the game with the same back 5 as the previous two weeks with Liam Higginbotham in net, a back four of Conor Whitaker, Dave Parker, Jonny Hawman and Ben Morris. In front of them came a change Jonty Mattock alongside Scott Hamill with Aaron Evans just in front of them. On the wings, supporting lone striker Jordan Wilson, were Danny Marland and Jimmy McIver. A youthful looking substitute’s bench consisted of Nathan Bibby, Jack Ramshaw, Jordan Parker and the returning Martin Kershaw.
The game got under way and straight away Coppull laid out their stall to try and frustrate Fulwood and pack the midfield trying to limit the time and space their players had on the ball whilst focussing on counter attacking with pace and power. Both teams played some really nice football, Fulwood knocked the ball around at the back but as soon as they moved into forward areas Coppull did well to smother the players and doubled up well getting men behind the ball. It was from a Fulwood attack which led to Coppull’s opening goal. They committed a number of men forward and a great interception from Jonny Hawman found Jonty Mattock whose through ball found Jordan Wilson who duly obliged with a sublime (wind assisted somewhat) lobbed finish over the stranded Fulwood number 1. The rest of the first half remained the same with Fulwood having the majority of possession but not really creating much with Coppull working very hard to limit the time and space the Fulwood dangermen had on the ball. Top goalscorer in the league last year Matt van Wyk made a couple of dangerous runs but was largely kept under control by Parker and Hawman at the back. Special mention must go to Hamill, Evans, McIver, Mattock and Danny Marland who worked tirelessly and split themselves in two covering every blade of grass. Half time and Coppull went in 1 nil up.
The second half began much in the same vein as the first one ended. Fulwood dominating possession however Coppull looked dangerous on the counter. A great tackle from Whitaker at right back was followed by some great inter-play with Hamill, Mattock moving the ball quickly and releasing Marland on the right. Marland looked to find Wilson in the centre however his cross was deflected behind. From the resultant corner however Scott Hamill delivered a low cross which was met by Captain Dave Parker on the volley which he controlled into the far corner of the net. Jubilation all round as Coppull went 2 nil up. Fresh legs were then introduced as Bibby and Kershaw entered the field of play to replace Jonty and Jordan Wilson. Kershaw immediately made an impact on the game working tirelessly to close down the Fulwood defence as well as taking up some great positions between the lines to support McIver who had now moved up front. Fulwood overplayed at the back and Kershaw took advantage by robbing them of the ball before leaving the last defender for dead before slotting the ball past the keeper on his unfavoured right foot to make it 3 nil Coppull.
Fulwood are not league champions for no reason though and responded by introducing some fresh legs of their own with Daniel Cooper and Adam Stammers entering the field of play to try and effect the game. A Fulwood attack on the left hand side resulted in the ball being put across which was half cleared to Cooper who took a touch and shot at goal, which took a slight deflection giving Liam Higginbotham no chance in the net, to make the score 3-1. Coppull sent on more fresh legs with Ramshaw and Parker now on the pitch to try and help see the game out. Unfortunately for Coppull this wasn’t to be the case. A moment of magic from Fulwood centre forward van Wyk saw him go on a dazzling run taking on 4 Coppull players with some scintillating skills and pace before being upended in the penalty area by Parker who was booked for the challenge, and the penalty was duly despatched by the Fulwood number 9.
The Fulwood comeback was complete when that man again van Wyk was fouled on the edge of the box with a horror tackle from Parker which saw him sent off leaving Coppull to play the last 10 minutes with ten men. Stammers added salt into the Coppull wounds bending the ball over the wall and into the far corner of the goal sending the Fulwood players and management into wild celebrations. The final minutes of the game were played out in with Fulwood looking for a winner and Coppull defending for their lives. The referee signalled the end of the game which felt like a loss for Coppull whose game plan had worked to perfection for the best part of 75 minutes, but fair play to Fulwood who showed real character coming back and some amazing moments of magic to ensure they shared the spoils. Another great advertisement for football at our level and a great watch for any neutral!
Man of the match (as chosen by Tony Hesketh): Scott Hamill
Goal scorers: Jordan Wilson, Dave Parker and Martin Kershaw