On a crisp November evening at Salford Sports Village, ActiveWin Football Club made their JP League debut, in a 2-1 defeat to Manchester-based law firm Clyde & Co. Considering it was only their second outing as a team, ActiveWin can be proud of their performance.
Following a 3-1 win in a friendly over Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce the week before, ActiveWin FC had gained some confidence. However, they were without target man Adam Rowley (Affiliate Team Leader), and the technically-gifted Jake Gallagher (PPC Account Manager), who is expected to miss the season with an anterior cruciate ligament injury.
Marketing Executive Adam Jackson held firm in the centre, allowing Marcom Account Manager Josh Gamble and Product Marketing Assistant Mike Swain to make runs forward, whilst Affiliate Account Manager Harry Lewis won just about every header.
Clyde did begin to test goalkeeper Charlie Noble (Manager of CRM), but the former hockey keeper was unfazed. Noble was helped by a strong defensive showing from Affiliate Team Leader Eliot Jacob, Design Team Leader Eddie Jordan, and Junior PPC Account Manager Dylan Casey.
Latecomers Chris Dodd (Affiliate Account Manager) and Jack Grears brought youthful enthusiasm, but neither was match fit, and they struggled to make an impact, though both kept trying.
Finance Director Ashley Leith is a natural forward, and had already tested the Clyde keeper a couple of times, before he broke the deadlock with a stunning corner, which curled its way into the top of the net.
An early injury to Senior Designer Dave Bates meant ActiveWin played the remaining hour with one sub, and were forced to rotate positions to try to conserve energy.
Leith continued to look dangerous, particularly from set-pieces, and there were patches of good interplay between Dodd, Gamble, Swain, Lewis and Jackson.
However, Clyde kept coming, and equalised with 20 minutes to go, firing low past Noble into the bottom corner.
The lack of available fresh legs, and a drop in concentration, eventually cost ActiveWin a point.
A free-kick ricocheted off the ActiveWin wall, dropping kindly for a Clyde player who looped it into the top corner, 2-1.
Frustrations started to show, and Jacob was justifiably booked for dissent. ActiveWin continued to defend well to prevent any further slips ups, but the damage was done.
Player Manager, Adam Jackson, said: “Considering it was our first competitive outing together, the boys can be pleased with their efforts. The ability is clearly there, we just lacked fitness in the last 15 minutes. Once we start playing together more frequently, things will only improve.”
Man of the Match: Noble was solid in goal and there were some good moments from Jackson and Lewis in particular, but Leith’s class shone through.
Overall Verdict: ActiveWin have the makings of a good side, and once they fully gel as a team, and get key players back, they should start to see results and climb the table, watch this space!