By Sinead Cunningham
As our usual home pitch, Rawdon Meadows, is out of action due to the floods we travelled up to Maiden Castle, Co Durham this weekend for our fixture v Hartlepool United. Having started 2016 with a 1-0 win over York City (9th Jan), we were pleased to make it two on the bounce thanks to two goals from Reece Webb-Foster.
Hartlepool started strong, earning themselves a free kick within the opening minute but it was well cleared by our defence.
Danny Devine did well to control the ball to keep possession and find Niah Payne in the fourth minute. Payne’s cross was too strong for those waiting in the box but the ball found Webb-Foster guided the ball back to Devine, whose effort was comfortably saved.
Fantastic defending from Alex Laird prevented Hartlepool from taking the lead in the 14th minute. Kenworthy-Sykes came out to meet the ball but the Hartlepool’s striker managed to nip round to him and strike towards goal. The ball was heading straight for goal until Laird quite literally threw his body on the line to make sure the ball went wide.
Reece Webb-Foster continued to threaten the Hartlepool goal. Ellis Hudson delivered the prefect cross but his header was well blocked by the defence and moments later his shot skimmed over the crossbar.
We settled into the game well and shaded possession with both Niah Payne and Ellis Hudson creating chances from both channels. Payne’s 24th minute cross found an unmarked Hudson, who despite catching the ball on the bounce, struck a powerful shot that was again blocked by the defender.
The rebound fell back to Hudson who was tripped in box and we were awarded a penalty. Webb-Foster calmly slotted the ball in the bottom-right corner to deservedly put us 1-0 up.
Devine did well to intercept the ball on the halfway line on the half-hour mark, his effort from 25 yards out was well saved by the goalkeeper, as was Webb-Foster’s shot from the rebound.
Although we had plenty of chances it was an end-to-end game. Hartlepool’s 43rd minute effort was their closest to finding an equaliser but they were denied by the woodwork. Their player brought the ball down well and shot from 30 yards out. Fortunately his strike hit the post, meaning we went in at half time with a 1-0 lead.
Hartlepool started the second half the stronger side. Their first shot on 50 minutes deflected behind for a corner and Sykes-Kenworthy pulled off a great save minutes later. Despite our strong defence, Hartlepool scored the equaliser on 55 minutes when their free-kick found an unmarked striker who found the net.
Niah Payne came close to restoring our lead on the hour mark when he side-stepped the defender but his shot went over the bar.
We left it late but found the winner in the 88th minute, Webb-Foster cut inside from the left and fired a superb shot into the top left-hand corner. It was a good team performance and one that has moved us to 4th in the Youth Alliance table, just two points from 1st position.
Due to our facilities being damaged in the recent floods we have postponed next Saturday’s fixture v Lincoln City (23rd Jan). Therefore, our next Youth Alliance game is away to Doncaster Rovers on Saturday 30th January 2016.
- George Sykes-Kenworthy (U16)
- Jack Lazenby (U16)
- Tom Windle (First Year)
- Alex Laird (First Year – Schoolboy)
- Kesi Omolokun (Second Year)
- Kwame Boateng (First Year)
- Ellis Hudson (First Year)
- Danny Devine (Second Year)
- Reece Webb-Foster (Second Year)
- Niah Payne (First Year)
- Sumaili Cissa (Second Year)
14) Akeel Francis (Trialist) repleaced (10) on 69 minutes
15) Sam Wright (U16) replaced (4) on 46 minutes
16) James Sunderland (U16) replaced (2) on 56 minutes