By Casey Evans
The honours were even between Stretford Paddock and Urmston Town, in a match that provided Stephen Howson’s men with their first challenge against a team that they will play again in league competition this season.
Paddock went close early on with a number of free kicks played into the box. Midfielder Cameron Watters hit the post from distance and had the best chance of the half in the 28th minute as Nosa Imayu, who was playing upfront in this game, backheeled a pass to him on the outside of the box but he unfortunately put it just wide.
The first half was marked with many contentious events, Urmston’s number 11 was sent off for a second yellow card after a heavy challenge on Ronaldo Brown in the 14th minute. Ronaldo Brown was involved in an off the ball incident eight minutes later, which saw Paddock’s number 11 and Urmston’s number 10 sent off by the referee.
Paddock’s last chance of the half came when Louis Fitzpatrick went close, breaking through 1-on-1 in the 42nd minute but the opposition keeper got down and stopped the low shot. The teams went into half time goalless, and the lack of chances was a cause for concern for manager Stephen Howson who made his displeasure known.
In the second half, Paddock found it hard to get going, with a number of fouls stopping them from creating many chances. Substitute Ayo Akinlade looked bright down the left-hand side linking well with Nosa Imayu and Ritchie Adjei.
Paddock’s goal came from a fantastic individual bit of skill by Nosa Imayu, flicking the ball over his head and beating his defender before slotting it low into the net to make it 1-0. Imayu looked dangerous through the half, especially when moved back into his more natural number 10 position, allowing him more time on the ball.
Paddock had chances, but never seemed to capitalise on them. Urmston’s long ball game left them constantly at threat of a counterattack and the opposition’s chance came when they seized on a mistake in the 80th minute, Jake Carr played a ball back to substitute keeper Nathan Carr who wasn’t in position and Urmston scored off the loose ball.
The game ended with a draw and though positives could be taken from the performance, the inability to finish the game off will leave the team and the coaches frustrated.