Non-league Cheadle Town took a lot of positives from their 22-0 thumping by Russia U19s – they trended on Twitter, their goalkeeper did not make any gaffes and the rematch has been cancelled.
As the goals rained in, the interest on social media grew on the back of the match which was serving as a warm-up for the Russians before a European Championships mini-tournament in Northern Ireland this week.
“I can’t even say that any of their goals were flukes or should have been disallowed. In fact, everyone was from inside the box, and they just about walked them all into the net. Our lads couldn’t get anywhere near them at times,” Cheadle secretary Stuart Crawford said.
“We played our first-team goalkeeper Steve Piggott, but he didn’t make any gaffes and, in fact, saved further embarrassment with a few saves.”
The Russians were 9-0 up at the break against the Cheshire side and despite making wholesale changes, added 13 more in the second half.
“We were supposed to play them twice, but I’m relieved to say the second game was cancelled,” Crawford said.
The Russians took the lead on four minutes and when the visitors were 6-0 up in 33 minutes, Cheadle’s Twitter account at least saw the funny side when it proclaimed: “We’ve won a corner!”
“I looked at their website and when I saw their players were signed up by clubs such as Zenit St Petersburg and CSKA Moscow I knew it would be a struggle. They would give a League One side a run for their money,” Crawford added.
“I hoped that they would take their foot off the gas when it reached 10-0, but there was no showboating and they were professional throughout.
“As our team walked off the pitch at the end, I told each of them to keep their head up because some of their guys might be stars at the next World Cup.”
The glamour friendly for Cheadle had been arranged by football agent Kenny Moyes, brother of former Manchester United and Everton boss David Moyes, while the Russians were staying locally before travelling to Northern Ireland.
The North West Counties First Division side, who beat Litherland Remyca 4-3 on Saturday to go seventh in the league, contained a mixture of first team and Under-21 players, some of whom had played at Knutsford in the morning.
Cheadle played Romanian side Dinamo Bucharest earlier in the season at home and only lost that game 5-0.
“We enjoy playing foreign opposition and are probably one of the most travelled non-league sides in the country,” said Crawford. “We’ve played at the Maracana in Brazil and the Azteca Stadium in Mexico.
“Next year we will rack up 100 matches abroad when we tour Madagascar and Mauritius.”
Russia U19s meet hosts Northern Ireland at Dungannon on Saturday.