Stalybridge Celtic dumped Chester out of the Cheshire Senior Cup last night, in a 2-1 victory that not many fans mourned, if truth be told.
The game got off to a stuttering start when both managers turned up a team of over-65s, having misunderstood the competition's moniker.
After each manager gave a quick ring around to his first team squad, enough players turned up for the game to get underway. Within a matter of minutes, Stalybridge had taken the lead, Craig Hobson firing a beauty past Timmy Judge, playing his first game of the season. A second goal was added shortly after and was so bland that it defies description.
Having gone in 2-0 down, Chester's second half performance caused a scare, mostly for the 200 or so fans whose blood ran cold at the thought of having to suffer through extra time should the Blues manage to pull it back to 2-2. These worries were exacerbated when newbie Luke Holden bagged his first for the club with around ten minutes remaining. As Chester went in search of a second, Neil Young was seen half-heartedly and unconvincingly urging his men forward.
"We definitely want to stay in this competition!" he was heard to shout.
Moments later, Michael Taylor, the only over-65 remaining from the original squad, missed a golden chance to make it 2-2, and every man in the ground breathed an audible sigh of relief, including Taylor himself.
"We're disappointed to be out," said boss Neil Young.
"But we’ve so many cup runs going, it's no great loss. The volume of cup competitions is well-documented as being 'silly'. We actually had to drop out of the Cortez Belle Open Invitational Trophy to play here tonight, and next year we'll be eligible for both the FA Cup and the Cillit Bang Remarkably Clean Cup. I was offered a cup of tea earlier, and I automatically turned it down on the basis that we couldn't fit it into our schedule. I'm fuming - I really could have done with that brew. Gary Jones had one and he said it was dead good. Pyramid bags and real sugar."