AC Hoylake Galaxy 4-2 West Kirby United Green
By Les Roberts
Galaxy maintained their 100% start to the season with an impressive 4-2 win over West Kirby United.
Games against West Kirby United are always played in a good spirit and are always pretty even contests – and this one was no different, although Galaxy did control the game brilliantly for large parts, and could have been out of sight early in the second half.
Galaxy kicked off with a slightly re-shuffled line up – Josh Carruthers covering in central defence, following an injury to Josh Hughes, and Max Farrell stepping up into midfield, because being stuck at the back as a ball-playing centre half can get really frustrating.
And both lads performed brilliantly in their unfamiliar roles.
Galaxy took control of the game early on, with Jamie Gann dictating play from the middle of the pitch and linking well with James Roberts and Leo Haines out wide, and Dan Melling down the middle.
One move down the left saw James Roberts challenging the keeper, who swept the winger’s leg as he was about to take control of the ball to turn and shoot. Referee Robbie Clark had no option but to award a penalty. Jamie Gann stepped up to take the spot kick and comfortably netted his fifth goal in two games.
A quick word on the referee – Robbie Clark is one of the best around. I think it’s fair to say he can’t get about the pitch as much as he used to, but he calls decisions as he sees them, and usually calls them absolutely right.
He’s basically the Jan Molby of referees, dictates the game exclusively from the centre circle. He also talks the kids through his decisions, and tells them how they could maybe do things differently next time, without ever being patronising, and you can’t underestimate the importance of an official who doesn’t talk down to players at this age.
Anyway, back to the game.
Galaxy kept the pressure on WK Utd, and were comfortably dictating the play, when Dan Melling found himself in space in the area and poked an outrageous half volley past the keeper and into the roof of the net for 2-0.
(If anyone thought they recognised the WK Utd keeper, he used to play in midfield for Stars, and scored two against us in the cup final, including that amazing lobbed shot to put them 1-0 up)
And so the first half ended 2-0 to Galaxy, who were looking very comfortable and assured.
Half time: Galaxy 2-0 WK Utd
Galaxy came out in the second half and picked up where they left off, controlling the play and carving out chances to put the game beyond reach, but WK Utd were working their way back into the game, and it took and outstanding double save from Thomas Foston to preserve the two-goal advantage.
But Galaxy's third goal came six minutes after the restart when Jamie Gann clipped a free kick in from a wide right position, and straight in over the ‘keeper’s head, who was under pressure from Dylan Gray.
That makes Jamie our top scorer so far, with six goals in two games (as he pointed out to me on Instagram).
The game seemed to have slipped completely from WK Utd’s grasp, when a mix-up in defence saw an attacker get the wrong side of Thomas Foston in goal, and the ‘keeper’s shoulder charge was deemed enough to give the opposition a penalty. Personally, I don’t think that’s foul anywhere else on the pitch (I said this ref usually calls them right), but the penalty was given and WK Utd had a lifeline.
Thomas made an outstanding save from the spot kick, but WK Utd scored from the resulting corner when Galaxy failed to close down a loose ball in the box (there’s Monday night’s training session sorted).
Things were looking a bit nervy at the back, until Dan Melling – a lad with a cool a disposition as you’ll find in the opposition penalty area – stabbed another great finish to restore the three goal advantage.
WK Utd then pulled one back with an audacious effort from a mad angle in the last minute, but Galaxy finished the match with another deserved win to make it nine points from three games.
Result aside, the most satisfying thing about this game was the way the lads dictated the game and never gave WK Utd a minute on the ball. The opening three games have shown they really are maturing into ace footballers and a great team, talking each other through the game and really working hard for each other.
We’ve all worked really hard to get to this point, and the lads really are a credit to the club and parents – bring on Heswall next week!
Man of the Match - Thomas Foston
It looked like it was going to be an easy day for our 'keeper, but WK Utd really came back into the game in the second half, and Thomas made some brilliant saves to keep them out, including one from a penalty. A well deserved man of the match, and he never even got on the score sheet in this game.