Jacks’ never-say-die spirit fuelled comeback

Jonny Sutcliffe
Jonny Sutcliffe

NEWLY-promoted Jack’s House started their Premier Division campaign against last season’s runners up Wardle, who fancy to do one better after champions Castleton moved to a higher standard of football.

After a shortlived Lancashire cup campaign, Jacks were confident of causing an upset.

Although fielding a strong and experienced side, Jacks were always going to be against it, as none of their five goalkeepers could play due to various commitments.

Last season’s captain, now assistant manager Chris Barker, decided Chris Ford was the best option - despite nursing a hairline fracture of the foot.

It started at a frantic pace, with both sides looking dangerous on the counter.

While Jacks were taking their time to find their shape, Wardle capitalised and scored the first goal after 10 minutes, a shot from 20 yards sneaking in after Ford was unsighted.

Wardle scored a second only minutes later, this time from poor defending.

Jacks moved into gear and got back into the game with a goal from Jonny Sutcliffe.

He linked with captain Danny Brown, before poking the ball in the left hand corner.

Jacks were on top for the last 20 minutes, Sutcliffe and Brown causing problems for the Wardle defence. Wardle won a dubious penalty from Jacks poor defending, after they had chance to clear at least four times.

It ended with veteran Brandon Shaw bringing down Wardle’s number nine, and saw Jacks go in trailing 3 - 1 at the break.

Straight from the restart Jacks conceded a fourth. Even at 4 - 1 they still knew they were not beaten.

Things got worse when Jordon Gill was sent off for a second yellow card.

Jacks did not give up and father and son Ross and Brandon Shaw especially, showed the fight and determination needed.

Sutcliffe moved to left midfield and Brown went up front on his own.

The move worked and Jacks broke down the left, Sutcliffe playing a neat one-two with Brown before slotting the ball into the bottom left corner.

Jacks had belief and within minutes grabbed another. After good link-up play between Adams and Heys a cross found the head of Brown to make it 4 - 3.

Another change in formation saw Jacks back to two up front, playing just three at the back.

The Wardle defence could not handle the pace and ability of Jacks front two and eventually the pressure told.

Brown took an inswinging corner from the right, catching the keeper out and it ended up in the top corner.

Jacks were back in the game, totally against the odds.

With only five minutes to go, Sutcliffe produced a cleverly disguised looking cross which managed to lob the keeper from an impossible looking angle to put Jacks into the lead.

With time running out, Wardle pushed on and managed to win a corner from possibly their only attack of the whole second half.

The ball was crossed in and Jacks failed to make what should have been a simple clearance, leaving a simple header at the back post.

The final whistle went and ended one of the greatest comebacks seen on Walsden Rec and a huge amount of credit goes to the lads involved.

Jacks can build on this and a massive statement has been made to the rest of the league that Jacks are a team of both skill and fight.

Man of the match went to Sutcliffe for his superb hat trick but it could have easily been given to the whole team.