Churchdown Panthers U8s 4-5 Brockwroth Albion U8s
A howling wind had a huge impact on a good match that was fairly well balanced.
Despite Panthers having the wind at their backs in the first period, it was Brockworth who built up the early pressure, and got the first goal of the match. Managing to find a little space on the edge of the box, one of the Albion forwards hit a great shot toward the top corner. Jazton Juico tried desperately to head it away, but couldn't quite get enough contact on the ball to turn it behind.
As Panthers began to find their feet mid way through the first period, the pressure started to build at the other end. Ben Murphy intercepted a clearance from the Albion defence, going clear on goal, and smashing it high above the keeper to level the scores.
Brockworth took advantage of the wind in the second period, which was largely played in the Panthers half. They went 2-1 up when a ball across the box was hit well, and just skipped up off the turf to beat Alex Fulford in goal. They also hit the bar from a wind assisted long range effort, and went close on a number of occasions as Panthers struggled to clear the ball into the wind. Brockworth did manage to score their 3rd, when Panthers failed to clear from a corner, however in the middle of all that, Panthers were able to get on the scoresheet themselves.
A good tackle from Shun-Ta Cheong in the right back position, then he set Ben Murphy free down the line. The ball was crossed into a packed box, with James Fernandes getting the last touch to force it over the line.
The 3rd period was the best for the Panthers, as they then took advantage of the wind. Nearly the whole 15 minutes being played in the Albion half. A number of efforts seemed to just inch wide of either post. Ethan Streatfield levelled the game at 3-3, picking up the ball 20 yards out, dribbling foward on his own and drilling the ball into the corner. Jacob Perkins then tried an audacious flick with the outside of his boot, with back to gaol, but it just rolled agonisingly wide of the post. Ben Murphy then got his 2nd of the game, running down the right wing, cutting inside and hitting a shot which bounced under the keeper, to put Panthers 4-3 up at the 3/4 mark.
It was backs to the wall again for the last period, with rare excursions into the Albion half. Brockworth had numerous chances, with one significant save from Oliver Leathem-Pugh at point blank range, and some last ditch tackles from Anna Barnes, Jazton Juico and Sam Jones, keeping Albion at bay to some extent. Unfortunately Brockworth did manage to find the net twice in this period, both from breakaways, leaving the goalkeeper exposed. The closest Panthers came in this half was a solo effort from Alex Fulford, who managed to make his own space, but pulled his shot wide of the post.
A really enjoyable game, without question affected by the wind, but really well contested and very even.