NWL U13 Division 1: CCCFC Whites 3 Swindon Supermarine N 4
The Whites were edged out in an exciting contest as two evenly-matched sides served up seven goals on a bitterly cold November afternoon at Castle Combe.
It was a game the hosts were certainly capable of winning but the factors that brought about a narrow defeat – namely a general lack of commitment in the tackle and care when in possession – were certainly familiar, having contributed to negative results at Highworth and Chippenham already this season.
The positives were a couple of fantastic goals and some flowing, attacking football when the players used the ball and their team-mates in the right manner. There were also stand-out performances at the back from the defensive trio of Josh, Bradley and Luke VDB – none of whom deserved to see the ball end up in their net four times.
The first goal, and the confidence boost it brings, is always vital in such tight matches and things looked good for the Colts when they grabbed it against the run of play. Supermarine had already hit the bar and threatened a number of times down the Colts’ left when Brandon’s great pass started a move that ended with Tom keeping his composure to slot the ball home at the far post.
But the lead did not last long and, after a strike from distance evaded Max’s clutches for the equaliser, the Colts’ vulnerability at set-pieces proved their undoing yet again when a corner reached the far post and a Supermarine player was left unmarked to head the ball in via a close-range deflection.
The Colts then fashioned the goal of the game to ensure the first half ended all-square at 2-2 as an excellent move ended with the lively Liam crossing from the right and Matthew stealing a yard of space in the middle to head past the keeper.
Both sides had chances to claim the advantage after the restart. Toby, Callum and Liam all asked questions of the Supermarine defence with their pace out wide and George engaged in a battle with a strong centre-back through the middle. Luke S hit the side-netting from a tight angle after Matthew’s free-kick came back off the bar, before the latter saw an acrobatic volley from the edge of the box beaten to safety by the keeper.
Max did superbly to tip a fierce drive onto his crossbar at the other end and, as Supermarine began to reclaim the upper hand, they scored two quick goals that ultimately proved decisive. The first came when a striker won a challenge on the edge of the box before finishing well and the second was a looping shot from long range that left Max with little chance.
Colts battled on and, after George was chopped down as he broke through on goal, justice was done when Matthew curled home the resulting free-kick from 20 yards to set up a nail-biting final five minutes in which another equaliser just would not arrive.