Stretford Paddock FC embarked on their inaugural international fixture on a memorable Saturday, August 5th, 2023, making their way to Dublin, Ireland to face off against TEK United. The match garnered immense support, with approximately 200 passionate fans in attendance, including The Paddock Ultras, Howson’s Red & White Army, and the Stretford Paddock FC Irish Supporters Club, whose flags proudly waved together, creating a vibrant atmosphere.

Initially scheduled at TEK United’s ground, Rockford Park, the match faced uncertainty due to heavy overnight rainfall, rendering the pitch unplayable after an early inspection. However, a new venue was swiftly arranged at Soldier and Sailors Park, just a short distance away. Miraculously, the pitch there remained untouched by the weather and was in pristine condition for the game.


The match kicked off shortly after 3pm, and despite TEK United being completely unknown to Paddock, the opening minutes were cautious as our team assessed the level of opposition before them. TEK United showcased their skill and pace, leaving no room for complacency. An early free-kick opportunity outside the box tested Paddock’s defence, with the TEK player hitting the post, much to the relief of our lads.

17 minutes into the game Kieron Molloy pulled up with a hamstring injury, just days after his brother had the same problem in the victory over West Didsbury & Chorlton. An injury which might keep him out for a few weeks – we’ll have to see how he goes. Two goals in two could be missed at the weekend. He was replaced by Joao on the left wing.

Shortly after that it didn’t take long for Paddock to assert their dominance and Joao to make an impact. A well-executed long throw from Omar, starting deep within his own half, created space behind the TEK defence, allowing Joao to deliver a perfect ball into the area for Ryan Katumba to calmly slot home, granting us an early advantage.

Moments later, Paddock further solidified their lead when Oattsy, the captain, skillfully converted a corner, creating a beautiful curling shot that found the far top corner of the net. The goal might have appeared unintentional to some, but Oattsy reckons otherwise – let us know what you think when the highlights are out!

With a 2-0 lead, Paddock began to play with more confidence and control, with some confident possession, mainly via Nosa and Kayode in midfield. Nosa’s brilliant footwork set up Callum for the third goal, as he broke through the offside trap and finished with a beautiful first-time finish. The first half ended with a flurry of shots that failed to find the target, but Paddock firmly in control, leading 3-0.

The second half brought a momentary lapse in concentration for Paddock, leading to two goals for TEK United, reminding the lads that no game can be taken for granted. Reenergized and refocused, Paddock regained their composure and reverted to their usual aggressive dominate style, delivering a captivating display of quick passes, off-the-ball runs, and well-timed attacks.

The match could have seen more goals for Paddock, particularly from the right side, where Callum built on his lethal first half performance and repeatedly found himself in acres of space and looking the most likely source of a goal. The TEK United keeper’s impressive saves kept his team in contention. As the game neared its conclusion, with TEK United players visibly fatigued, McKenna, unfortunately, sustained a hamstring injury, leading to captain James Oatt taking on the goalkeeper role for the remaining minutes. The third time he’s done this, and he’s never conceded!

Adam McKola made his erm, shortly awaited, debut on the 85th minute and had the chance to put the game to bed in the 89th minute – but fluffed his lines! Must see in the highlights!

The final whistle blew, and Stretford Paddock emerged triumphant with a 3-2 victory. The match proved to be a resounding success, showcasing a thrilling encounter and a positive result for Paddock. The warm welcome and hospitality extended by TEK United and Brian from the Irish Supporters Club made the entire experience even more memorable, leaving us with much to be thankful for.


Stephen Howson

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