Mold Alexandra vs Droylsden, 25/7/15, Alyn Park, Match 4
For someone living in Wrexham, it has taken me four matches this season to get to a Welsh football ground, and to be honest as someone who has lived in Wrexham for five years in total, I’m annoyed that I’ve never been to Alyn Park before. What Alyn Park lacks in facilities, it makes up for with its scenic setting, with the ground sitting on a field, bordered at one side by a housing estate, and on the other sides by trees, there is, however, an odd smell around the ground.
Mold Alexandra were founded in 1929 and currently play in the Huws Gray Alliance, the step below the Welsh Premier League. Next season will see them play the likes of Cefn Druids, Prestatyn Town and Porthmadog to name a few. Droylsden, Mold’s opponent for today’s match, play in the Northern Premier League Division One North, along with Bamber Bridge. The Bloods were formed in 1892, and were one of the clubs to play in the first season of the Conference North.
My journey was a short one from Wrexham, and I made the decision not to use my sat-nav until I reached Mold, something I would later regret as it decided that my destination was the housing estate behind the ground. I then found that I should have taken the next right on to a road which delivered me straight into the ground. I initially thought I’d made a mistake, as I neared entrance in my car, I could see cars parked behind the goal, and thought that I was heading for player and official parking. That was until two friendly stewards approached the car, and asked me for the £4 entrance fee, which covered parking and the entrance. One of the stewards had a laugh at one of the stickers on my car, “Do not steal, the Government hates competition.”
I parked on the grass by the corner flag, and realised that it if I ever came to a game during bad weather, I could just sit in my car and watch the football. I left my car, and headed back towards the entrance, looking for a programme, I was disappointed to find that there wasn’t going to be one, but I can understand that there probably isn’t a need for a programme for a pre-season friendly on this scale.
I had been worried that I was going to be late for kick-off, but as it approached 3pm, I became more confused as to why the game wasn’t kicking off, and as to why the players were still warming up. It turned out that the Droylsden players had been delayed by traffic, and that the game would now be kicking off at 3.15pm, it actually kicked off at 3.20pm.
I decided to make my traditional walk around the ground, and basked in the sun as I walked round. Behind the goal furthest from the entrance a group of kids were having a kick about. Once I’d reached the covered terrace by the main stand, I decided to stop and stand on the touchline by the goal closest to the entrance. It was at this point that I realised that the dugouts were opposite each other, with the Mold dugout standing in front of the main stand, and the Droylsden dugout on the opposite touchline.
As I’ve already said, the kick off was delayed and at 3.20pm the game finally kicked off. Droylsden kicked the game off, but it was clear that they had been stuck in traffic, as Mold started better.
I also began to wonder whether the linesman that I was stood behind had also been stuck in traffic as he found himself behind the play, making an extremely late offside call, much to the annoyance of the Mold players.
It didn’t take long for Mold to take the lead, as in the 4th minute their number 7, broke down the right wing, and whipped a low cross into the box, which the keeper should have dealt with, but the ball found its way to Mold’s number 11, who slotted the ball home at the far post.
Two minutes later, Mold doubled their lead as number 7, once again crossed the ball into the box, and again the number 11 put the ball into the net. Again it was a cross that the keeper should have dealt with, but he didn’t and Mold were 2-0 up in the 6th minute.
Following the two goals in the 6th minute, the game started to settle down, with both sides having chances. The linesman wasn’t having a good game, and the Mold number 9 began to give him stick for some of the calls he was making, including his protest at an offside call, “You waved that before I even moved.” Along with other expletives.
It became more and more apparent as the game went on that the Mold number 9 thought he was playing in the FA Cup final, and not a pre-season friendly, as he argued with the officials, moaned at his team-mates, and generally put himself into some hard tackles.
Droylsden were limited to long range shots for the first twenty minutes, and they didn’t do very well with them at all. That was until the 25th minute, when the Droylsden number 11 ran down the right wing, and crossed the ball into the box for the Droylsden number 9 to slot home.
The Bloods were forced into an early substitution in the 30th minute, as their number 6, who had been playing as their defensive midfielder in a 451 formation, went down with an injury, he was replaced by number 15. Mold also made two subs in the 34th minute with number 11 & 8 going off for 12 & 14. I was disappointed by this as number 11 had been brilliant so far, every time the ball reached his feet it was clear that something was going to happen, and his attacking play had been very positive.
The Mold number 12 produced the goal of the game in the 40th minute, as he latched onto a through ball, and outmuscled the defender, before slotting the ball past the keeper.
It was becoming very apparent that the Droylsden number 4 needed to learn the offside rule, as he argued with the linesman about a couple of decisions, and at one point shouted to the lino, “Ask the people behind you!” Which if the lino had done, the lino would have received my support, as time and time again the number 4 played the Mold attackers on.
Mold’s number 7 was having a good game with his crosses, and in the 43rd minute delivered a perfect cross for the Mold number 9, who attempted a rabona finish, but the keeper was equal to it.
Half Time: Mold 3 – 1 Droylsden
The half-time whistle blew, and I decided to walk round to the other touchline, to see if the other linesman would be any good. Droylsden bought on their number 14 for their number 7 at half time. From the kick off, Droylsden scored their second, as the ball was delivered straight into the box, and I believe it was the Droylsden number 9 who slotted the ball home, I have to admit that I’m not sure though, however I do know that the score was now 3-2.
In the 55th minute Droylsden made two more changes with 9 & 3 coming off for 17 and a player with no number.
The ref hadn’t been having a bad game, but he was beginning to lose control of the match, and in the 57th minute, the game threatened to boil over, as a couple of bad challenges flew in, resulting in the Droylsden number 14 and the Mold number 7 squaring up to each other, and generally having a handbags at dawn moment, as both players tried to intimidate each other. The result was slightly odd, as the ref ordered the Mold bench to sub the number 7, which saw number 11 come back on. Yeah, that’s right, the number 11 who had been subbed off in the first half was back on the pitch, it was clear that as this was a pre season friendly the ref had decided to leave his cards in the changing room, and to be relaxed with the subs.
In the 60th minute the ref lost control again, as the Droylsden number 8 caught the Mold number 9 in the face, again, and this led to another handbags at dawn moment, with the Mold number 9 losing his rag, which I couldn’t really blame him for, as he did seem to be being targeted.
Droylsden bought on another player with no number in the 62nd minute, and he replaced their number 10.
Mold’s number 9 left the game in the 75th minute along with 6 & 10, and 7, 5 & 17 came on, 7 had obviously calmed down now, and was allowed back on to the pitch, where he continued to show a good attacking sense.
Droylsden were attempting to build their attacks from the back, as the keeper distributed the ball to a close defender, something which the Mold players failed to close down. However the Droylsden defenders weren’t too comfortable on the ball and on a number of occasions the Mold attackers were able to steal the ball back, but they were unable to convert their chances.
The stupid challenges were still going in, and at one point the Droylsden number 5 went into a challenge with the Mold number 11, with the Droylsden player having a kick at the Mold player in the resulting tangle.
Only a couple of minutes later, more players had to be separated as the two number 8s decided to see who was the toughest by squaring up to each other. I personally will not be surprised if at the end of the season both of these teams have the worst disciplinary records in their respective leagues.
In the 90th minute the Droylsden bench realised that they were losing the game, as one of their bench shouted, “We’re losing this lads!” I’m guessing the Droylsden bench were trying to spur their players on, but it was to prove to be too little, too late.
Full Time: Mold 3 – 2 Droylsden
Throughout the game the Mold number 7, 9, 11 and 12 all impressed me with their attacking ability, and if they can keep it up then Mold will have a good season. Both sides need to do something about their discipline, as both teams seem to have a number of hot-headed players.
The officials were okay, the younger linesman, the one I stood behind in the second half, was the better of the three as he made the right decisions, and clearly explained himself to the players. The other linesman needs to work on his fitness, as he’ll need to keep up with the play better during the season, and the ref will need to learn to stamp his authority on games, although seeing as this was a pre season friendly I think it would be reasonable to allow him to be lenient with the players.
All in all this was a good game of football, played by two good teams, Mold were the better of the two and they showed that with their finishing.
Apologies for the lack of player names, but without a team sheet or programme, I had to use their numbers.
Attendance: 50 (Rough head count, if anyone knows the official attendance, please let me know)
Hat-tricks seen so far: 2
Next Week’s Plan: Tranmere Rovers vs Shrewsbury Town, 1/8/15