Ashington Cougars U16 v Brockham Badgers U16
Cougars Cull Badger Threat
The lack of a pre-season had been evident in Cougars first two performances and results but with cob webs finally dusted off and the return of William Farnes along with the first appearances of the season for Cavan Sopp, Owen Worsdell and Thomas C, Cougars were fielding something close the HDYFL ‘dream team’ against a very accomplished Brockham Badgers, who themselves have several very strong players.
For the first 10 minutes Cougars seemed in control and when Thomas C received the ball just inside Badgers half he skipped round two defenders and then the keeper to leave himself a simple tap-in, giving his team a deserved 1 – 0 lead.
For the next few minutes Cougars seemed to be in control but with William Farnes having to make an early exit from the pitch Cougars started to seem dishevelled as they tried to re-organise. Badgers made the most of the confusion and after winning a corner their number two, who had looked dangerous from kick off, headed the ball into the Cougars net with a powerful header.
Bagders then started the look the stronger of the two sides, playing simple but effective football - playing to their strength and using the long ball trying to find their key player up front, the strategy worked and it was Badgers who were next to score despite a valiant effort from keeper Cavan Sopp when stretching and getting finger tips on a quality finish.
With the Cougars having now adjusted to the loss of William they once again started to dominate and when Thomas Cordingley forced a rushed clearance from the Badgers keeper Orkun Kinas-Clarke scored a goal which can only be described as ‘class’ when he smashed the ball from the half-way line into the Badgers goal to draw the scores level.
The last fifteen minutes of the half saw Cougars starting to dominate, however it was Badgers who scored next against the run of play when a rare excursion into the Cougars half saw an unfortunate free kick awarded just outside the Cougars penalty area which was comfortably dispatched, and Cougars once again found themselves a goal behind.
However the final ten minutes of the half saw a flurry of goals in Cougars favour with Thomas C , Thomas Cordingley and just before half time Owen Worsdell scoring to give Cougars a 5 – 3 lead, which they probably deserved
The second half kicked into life almost immediately with both teams seemingly determined to leave with all three points, Toby Ralph was the stand-out player in opening salvo, showing all sides of his talents with some quality touches, pass and move football and determined ‘tigerish’ tackling whilst controlling the midfield.
However, it was once against the direct approach coupled with some great work from their centre forward which gave Badgers the goal they needed, despite continued great work from Liam Hutchison and stand-in centre back Thomas Fitzpatrick desperately trying to contain the continual threat.
With the game now in the balance Thomas C continued to impress scoring his third and his teams sixth goal of the game, shortly after Sam Boyd burst down the right hand side and whilst being harangued by two Badgers players managed to smash the ball into the goal to give his team a 7 – 4 lead.
With 22 minutes remaining Cougars seemed to have the game won and were cruising until they then conceded two soft goals and Badgers with their tails up were within touching distance. Despite Badgers continual pressure all seemed to be under control until the ball fell loose just inside the Cougars 18 yards area and was smashed into the goal and the scores were level.
It was now Cougars desire to win became more evident as it has done on so many previous occasions and with six minutes remaining Owen Worsdell found Thomas C with an exquisite pass, piercing the Badgers defense and despite some unorthodox attention from the surrounding defenders Thomas had a cool head and quick feet , smashing the ball into the bottom corner of the goal to make the score 8 – 7 to the home team.
A nervous last four minutes (and then another last four minutes?!?!) saw Badgers throwing everything and everyone forward in an effort to get the equalising goal and in the final seconds of the game it looked as if they had, but were thwarted by a match winning save from Cavan Sopp when deflecting a hard driven goal bound shot wide of the post with an out-stretched boot.
The game ended 8 – 7 to Cougars. WE ARE BACK!