Jack’s House 2nds 2
Syke 2nds 8
Rochdale Alliance League Division Two
Having not played since the first week in January it was important for Jacks to get a game in.
They had a new look side with three new players making their debut while Syke fielded five of their first team, who play in the premiership and did not have a match.
The first half was a hard fought battle for both sides with few chances at either end.
Jacks’ defence of Aaron Adams, Joseph McLernon, Lee Baxter and Colin Harrison held up well with great challenges from all four stopping Syke from having too many shots on goal.
The breakthrough came from the visitors five minutes before half-time with a shot from outside the box which went in off the bar and post.
At 1 - 0 down at the break Jacks made a change to try and strengthen midfield and be a little more attacking.
For the first five minutes of the second period this seemed to work.
Jacks built some good attacks and would have levelled except for excellent saves from Syke’s keeper.
Then Syke hit them on the break twice in quick succession with excellent through balls and cool finishing and suddenly Jacks were 3 - 0 down.
They still created chances and Baxter, playing his first game for Jacks, was amazed, along with everyone else, to see his power header spectacularly saved by Syke’s keeper and the follow up by Marc Walters cleared off the line.
Jacks eventually scored when a good move was finished by Andrew Whitham.
The game had become too open and the Jacks midfield and defence were struggling to cope with the Premiership players who began to dominate.
A couple of defensive mistakes coupled with good finishing resulted in Jacks conceding another two before Walters got a deserved goal back for Jacks with a curling free kick into the top corner.
The home players started to tire while Syke’s forwards grew in confidence and by full time Syke had scored another three to make the final score 8 – 2.
Jacks had been beaten by the better side on the day but without their five Premiership players Syke, who Jacks beat away earlier in the season, would have found it much more difficult.
Jacks had played good football in places and all their new players had done well, including Jordan Gill who was pleased to get through 90 minutes after coming back from a bad injury early in the season.
Manager Chris Hall said: “It was unfortunate for the lads to have to play against five Premiership players but it was important for us to get a game in after such a long break and if we can keep the same side together we will definitely grow as a team and finish the season strongly.”