Match Report - Year 11 District Final V Central (Wednesday 11th May 2016)
There was an air of tension as both teams warmed up – this was always destined to be a close encounter with the two sets of players knowing each other very well.
The game started with OLCC kicking into the wind which didn’t seem too bad at ground level but actually began to make taking goal kicks quite difficult. The first 15 mins was a fairly even period with both teams settling in well and trying to pass the ball across the width of the pitch to exploit any space. Central then seemed to adopt more of a long ball approach as they tried to get their pacey strikers into the game and put pressure on Andrew Stocker and Joe Ferguson at the back. On 20 mins disaster struck for OLCC as Josh Capstick who was having a positive influence in midfield fell awkwardly when making a tackle and dislocated his shoulder. There was no choice – it had to be an early exit and a trip to A & E.
OLCC quickly made some adjustments and brought Viscount on to replace him. Central tried to capitalise on our misfortune by putting extra pressure on both wings with Andrew Williams, Lawrence Youren and Jack Marshall having to do a lot of covering and last ditch tackles to keep us in the game. Unfortunately 10 mins before half time the pressure told and Central scored with a fast break and excellent cross to beat Aaron French in goal. We managed to withstand continued pressure after that and Cameron Callaghan was unlucky to be penalised by the ref when he used his strength to get past the last man and slot the ball into the net. Andrew Stocker tried to rally the troops with some motivational words and some fantastic aerial challenges.
The players reflected and regrouped at half time. There was a sense of frustration as they felt they weren’t doing themselves justice but were clearly not out of the game yet. The second half started with OLCC having the benefit of the wind and this seemed to give them some confidence to attack in numbers. The pressure on the Central defenders was gradually building and they were beginning to make mistakes. Andrew Williams, Liam Doherty and Nathan Hegarty were beginning to run at the Central defence and create more chances. With 10 mins gone in the second half Cameron Callaghan put pressure on a defender won the ball and slotted past the keeper. 1-1 Game on!
We continued to play in the same way and put pressure on Central forcing them into making fouls around the half way line which we knew we could exploit with Joe Ferguson’s decent delivery into the box. Eventually the pressure told and we scored from a followed up free kick also scored by Cameron Callaghan. 2-1 up with 20 mins to go!
Soon after scoring the game took another unfortunate turn as Viscount who had made some excellent tackles was struggling with cramp and had to come off. Without another sub it was always going to be difficult with 10 men. Central began to exert more pressure as they recognised that this was their chance. They had a number of quick breaks one which was stopped with a fantastic last ditch tackle by Lawrence Youren and another with a terrific save by Aaron French. But eventually the pressure told and Central equalised then went ahead with a scrambled goal from a corner 2- 3! Cameron Houghton scrambled some kit and came on as a replacement but the damage was done! We continued to press right to the end in an attempt to push the game into extra time but it wasn’t to be.
It’s too difficult to single out an individual man of the match – all players gave 100%.
The players were understandably disappointed but must remember that they had a terrific season, beat all other district sides including Central, and did well in the Lancashire Cup.