By Casey Evans
It was a cold and rainy match day in Stockport, but Stretford Paddock did not disappoint, as they overcame the torrid conditions and came out 3-1 victors against Signol Old Boys.
The early stages of the game were close, with both teams trying to find their footing and figuring out how to play on the sodden pitch, but the deadlock was broken in the 18th minute when Louis Fitzpatrick, back in the team after his suspension, was found out wide. He controlled the ball well before chipping the outrushing keeper to make it 1-0 to Stretford Paddock.
The rest of the half was slow for both teams, without many chances, with most of the game being played in midfield. The weather definitely played its part visibly sucking the energy out of the players.
Captain Martin Parker was forced off early on with a groin injury and needed to be replaced by right back Ritchie Adjei.
In the 38th minute Paddock got the chance they needed. A fluffed clearance by the Signol keeper left him stranded and found Nosa Imayu about 30 yards out. Paddock’s number 10 calmly curled it into the open net with his weaker foot and Paddock went into half time 2-0 up.
The second half brought more of the same for both teams, the rain continued to pour down and neither team looked able to adapt to the awkward run of the ball.
Signol began to put pressure on the young Paddock side and finally got their goal in the 72nd minute, with a high shot that keeper Jonny Hart was unable to keep out.
Signol then went close to equalising moments later with a chip that was very similar to Fitzpatrick’s goal in the first half, but Adjei did fantastically well to get back and clear off the line, tipping the shot onto the post.
Two red cards followed in the match, firstly Paddock substitute Okera Simmonds was sent off in the 78th minute and then in the 92nd minute substitute Jordan Corke was clean through but was brought down by the Signol keeper who was shown a red and Corke also had to leave the field as he suffered a serious wrist injury.
Paddock took the resulting free kick quickly and Ronaldo Brown found the inform Jay Phillips in the box who volleyed it home to make it 3-1 to Paddock and make his personal tally of four for the season, so far.
The match ended 3-1 to Stretford Paddock resulting in three wins in three games for the fledgling side and more importantly, put them three points clear at the top of the league.
Manager Stephen Howson said: “We set high standards, of ourselves and of the players, and I am yet to see a performance that matches those expectations. I think I need to be better in my delivery of instruction, and the adherence has to improve.
“Three in three is a good start, but I’m not happy, and there’s a lot of work to done, before I will be. Next week, I want to see us push for a clean sheet and finish a game off without being nervous in the last 10. That would be a start.”
Stretford Paddock will now begin a three-game run at home, with the first of those games against Newton FC.
We hope as many supporters as possible can make the journey, but we would like to warn you not to attend if you, or anyone in your household is showing coronavirus symptoms and also to be aware of the ever-changing government guidelines.