Hooley Thumped As Angry Howard Sees Red

February 5, 2013

Lee HowardHooley Bridge Celtic were well beaten by a powerful Whalley Range side at Heywood Leisure Centre on Saturday.

The reigning Lancashire and Cheshire Amateur League champions were too physical for Hooley, who were missing some key players – including the inspirational Marcus Smith – as they went down to a 3-0 defeat.

Cards were issued with abandon by referee Phil Heaps, and most of them went to the visitors. However, the most notable moment of indiscipline came with the clash between Lee Howard and the visiting keeper.

The pair challenged for the ball with Hooley only 2-0 down at this stage and still in the game. Howard didn’t look late, but the keeper took offence and the two went head to head with players from both sides having to calm each player down.

This wasn’t easy and several times it threatened to spill over, but credit to all the other players who kept a clean head and ushered Howard and the keeper away when they were both rightly dismissed for violent conduct.

Hooley were 1-0 down at the break and their pace with the likes of Ellis Ridsdale, Martyn Bennet and Johnny Lynch threatened to get them back in the game.

But the visitors extended the lead through a wonderful flying volley that left the keeper James Boyd with no chance, no matter what Alec Gill said on the sidelines.

Hooley were always against it from then, especially as the back four had a slightly different look from normal with Billy Hilton, called up from the seconds for his first full game aged 36 and in the twilight of his career, and former captain Ben Tanner returning to cover absentees.

The pair played well, but overall Hooley lacked muscle and a bit of menace and conceded the third goal to compound their misery.

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