Jacks House 0
Rochdale Alliance League President’s Cup
Jack’s House started this game as underdogs against a Castleton team who comfortably top the Premier Division, averaging nearly five goals a game.
Adding to the difficulty was that Castleton play on an artificial pitch.
Coupled with that, Jacks’ next fixture is against the top of their division and a win would see them go top with games in hand.
So manager David Williams decided to give next week’s crucial league game priority by resting players carrying injuries, and with players out with work commitments, it was a chance to play Jacks’ new signings and give some of the second team a run-out.
Jacks set out with their preferred 4-5-1 formation.
The game started with Castleton showing why they top the premier division, playing fast flowing football.
It put the Jacks back four of Harrison, Lively, man of the match Cochrane and Birch at full stretch for the first 15 minutes.
Then Jacks began to get a grip of the pitch and the game and started to get stuck into Castleton, especially Bull, Adam Causton and Hignett in the centre of midfield.
This set the pattern of the game and Jacks could have netted twice with lone striker Brown being through twice on the Castleton keeper only for his studs to stick in the artificial pitch.
Castleton should have been down to 10 men when the hard working Brown, through on the keeper, was cynically hacked down, but the referee only showed a yellow.
Another incident in the second half showed the leniency of the referee when once again Brown was fouled and the card was only yellow.
Castleton edged the first half but with no score at the break, it was all to play for.
Williams told his team to stop their opponents playing and hit them on the break.
The injured Heyes was replaced by Whitham at the break and 10 minutes in, Hignett turned his ankle and was replaced by Gill, who was returning from long term injury.
The second half started as the first finished with Jacks harassing Castleton and stopping them playing.
Fitness was always going to be a factor and after 60 minutes Castleton won a dubious penalty which they converted.
This did not deter Jacks, who came close twice from free kicks from the impressive stand-in captain Goldie.
Keeper Goldsmith produced some fine saves to keep Jacks in it.
Wooler came on and Jacks went to a 4-4-2 formation which nearly brought an equaliser with a deflected shot off Whitham dropping just over the bar.
With Jacks chasing the game, Castleton produced the best football of the tie resulting in their second goal. Jacks kept pushing and were unlucky to have a Whitham goal disallowed for offside.
Jacks gave everything to this game and manager Williams said: “I couldn’t have asked any more from the lads. They gave it everything.
“This game shows if we win promotion we have nothing to fear next season.”
Jacks play Weavers Arms next week at Walsden Rec in a battle for top position.
Entrance is free and all support is welcome.