Confidence was high going into the weekend's fixture. Unbeaten in the league and having shown good character in the last 2 matches, BMU 3XI hoped to continue this good run of form against local rivals, Didsbury Northern. Clearly the league didn't think the fixture worthy of adjudicating and the services of Bradley King were required to officiate.
Regular 4XI Goalkeeper, Clements managed to shovel his porridge in early on Saturday morning ready to fulfil his very late (Saturday @ 09:00) call-up, after 'The Collander' Lay was invited to let some goals in for the 2XI.
Buoyed by the return of Fullerton and Lockton to the forward line, BMU got the game underway with only a short warm-up in the legs. This was to prove decisive in the first half as the visiting side gained early momentum with their counter-attacking style, with the Didsbury umpire seeing fit to reward a dangerous ball, after Bennett had put the ball in his pocket! A PC followed and Didsbury went 1-0 up.
This set back encouraged BMU to return to some patient and flowing hockey building pressure on the car park end. Skipper Virabi fired the first BMU PC low and hard and somehow, despite the keeper making a save, was awarded a stroke by the visitor's own umpire!? The Iranian International fired home to equalise; cue Drogba style celebrations to the fans adorning him from the sideline.
BMU succumbed to another Didsbury break away, with much of the defensive line looking like they were frantically trudging through treacle to recover the turnover. Didsbury scored to take another lead. 1-2.
England International and 3XI Grandad, Fullerton created the next opportunity. He was released into the circle after some quick thinking by Virabi's, turned on the rinse cycle to a 1400 spin, and won another PC. Virabi coolly fired home to equalise. 2-2
Jones, Mills and Dudley all came close as BMU piled on some more pressure to find another goal that would be just reward for their efforts. Gilbody was marshalling the troops well from the middle of the park, with Cuttle and Hodkinson getting into some good advanced areas down the flanks.
Half time and more effort was required.
BMU started the half more positively and despite controlling much of the possession, another Didsbury attack resulted in a fortunate goal, and BMU were left scratching their heads. 2-3.
As the game started to leach away, BMU pressed harder; Quibble, Jones, Fullerton and Mills all unable to capitalise on some half chances in the circle.
Searching for the final push, Clements came off and Sidebotham became the 11th, 12th and 13th men! With this additional momentum, BMU pushed harder and forced a number of PC's, each of which was met with goal line saves and clearances.
Sidebotham managed to squash a significant Didsbury threat with his left bosom and both Bennett & Virabi's nose cleared a couple of Didsbury PC's off the line.
It was all in vain however, as a breakaway goal saw the visitors take a 2-4 lead into the last 10 minutes, and despite Jones/Gilbody (league goal scoring panel meet on Wednesday to decide) scoring a late consolation from another PC threat, (3-4), Didsbury again broke to find an open goal and made it 3-5.
A frustrating afternoon at George's Road, and with a fight already on BMU's hands for this league title, the Battle Royale next week with bottom of the league, West Derby will be one of interest.
Squad; Clements, Virabi (c), Bennett, Sidebotham, Cuttle, Hodkinson, Gilbody, Dudley, Bansall, Quibble, Lockton, Jones, Kellett, Mills, Fullerton
Scorers; Virabi 2 (PC, PS), Gilbody/Jones
MoM - n/a
DoD - Virabi