Saturday saw us entertain Chesterfield down at Rawdon Meadows knowing that a win would clinch the title for the 2nd year in succession. Going in to the game we had eight players out with four in the 1st team squad and four out injured meaning we had a very young squad made up of two U16’s namely, Kwame Boateng and Ellis Hudson with two U15’s Sam Wright and Casey Taglione on the bench.
After winning the toss we decided to play with the wind in the first half. After a tight opening 15 minutes we were unlucky not to have been awarded a penalty after Danny Devine was clearly brought down inside the area only for the referee to give a foul against him for diving. Two minutes later Giovanni Landu reacted quickest to a Danny Devine corner only to see his effort bounce off the crossbar and away to safety.
After 30 minutes it was Chesterfield who came in to the game and through a mixture of good defending and a couple of outstanding saves by Chandler Hallwood, we managed to go in to the break with the scores level.
The second period started how the first one finished with our guests on the front foot. Again, some last ditch blocks and Chandler Hallwood in fine form managed to keep our goal intact. On 65 minutes we created a couple chances of our own after a fine run by Giovanni Landu saw his effort deflect wide for a corner. From the resulting set piece Joe Brennan’s ferocious volley was tipped wide.
With 10 minutes to play it was Chesterfield who were pushing for a winner. They had a succession of corners which again, our defence held firm. On 85 minutes U15’s Casey Taglione replaced Giovanni Landu and less than a minute later, he made what was to be a dream debut by scoring the only goal of the game. After a fine through ball by Danny Devine, he ran beyond Chesterfield’s backline to slide the ball in to the corner of the goal past the on rushing Goalkeeper.
A minute later he was again put clear but his first touch took him wide of the goal and his effort just failed to hit the target. Overall, it was a fantastic achievement to get the 3 points required to win the league for the second year in a row. This is a testament to all the hard work carried out throughout the Academy by everyone involved and also emulates the standards set by the 1st team Staff and Players.
Next Saturday we play our final league game of the season against Burton Albion down at Rawdon Meadows 12pm K/O. Everyone is welcome.
Match highlights to follow.