Wilmslow Albion’s first game of 2020 saw the Oakmen on the wrong end of a 3-2 scoreline at Oakwood Farm against Elton Vale, with the two goals for Wilmslow scored by Tom Crompton and Danny Pearson.
Wilmslow made two changes from the 1-1 draw with Bolton Lads and Girls Club, as Kieran Casey started up front, with Harrison O’Shea dropping to the bench and Callum Hewitt came into the attacking midfield position in place of Rammy.
The first 20 minutes were quiet from both sides, two free kicks in dangerous positions for Elton Vale were cleared with ease.
The first opportunity came for the visitors, as their number 2 tried to curl an effort into the top corner from the right-hand side but goalkeeper Jon Moran did very well to tip it over for a corner.
But the next opportunity for Elton Vale finished in a goal, after some nice foot work around the ‘D’ by one of their forwards, he played it to Jack Alderson, who slotted it past the onrushing Moran.
Within a minute, it got worse for Wilmslow, as a ball over the top set Jack Alderson away, he cut inside and placed it near the top corner and it was 2-0.
Alderson nearly got his hat trick within another minute, this time popping up on the right, but his low effort was well saved by Moran, preventing the deficit from widening.
But after a quiet 10 minutes, with Wilmslow keeping the ball well during that period, Scott Kempson played a ball from the left and was headed by an Elton Vale defender, it looped over the goalkeeper and Crompton was there to head it in and get the Oakmen back into the game.
A couple of minutes later, the right wing-back nearly got himself a second and an Oakmen equaliser.
A great ball from Danny Pearson from midfield allowed Crompton to race through, he got himself one-on-one with the keeper, but he could only fire it over the top.
The final chance of the half saw centre half Malachi Clarke fire a strike from range which went wide and Wilmslow went into the break 2-1 down.
As the second half got underway, within five minutes Elton Vale extended their advantage once again. A ball came in from the right and George Pierce at the back post headed it in.
The deficit was then cut again by Wilmslow Albion within five minutes, to one goal.
A corner from Pearson went towards Sam Warren at the backpost, he headed the ball and it hit the hand of an Elton Vale defender and the referee pointed to the penalty spot and the captain Pearson stepped up and sent the keeper the wrong way to make it 2-3.
Elton Vale nearly scored another goal a couple of minutes later, but their number 12 was denied as it bounced off the crossbar and away.
As the game hit the hour mark, Moran made two brilliant saves to keep Wilmslow Albion in the game.
He was first of all one on one with the Elton Vale number 10, but Moran made a great save with his feet and Warren got it clear for a corner.
He then pulled off an outstanding save a couple of minutes later.
As the number 7 was set away down the right, he got a fantastic connection on the shot, which look destined for the top corner, but some great reactions from Moran kept Wilmslow in it.
An effort by the Elton Vale number 7 was hit wide after the winger cut in from the right, while their number 15 fired over the top by the penalty spot with 15 minutes remaining.
Wilmslow came close from a couple of corners in the last 15 minutes, but Elton Vale held on and picked up the three points.
Wilmslow Albion were unable to pick up three points in their first match of the decade, but the team played very well and came close to getting a point out of the game against a strong and experienced Elton Vale and the squad is looking stronger heading into the second half of the season.
The Oakmen sit tenth in the Manchester League Division 1 and next week face another home game against Altrincham Hale.