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U14 White - Match Report

Whites Unlucky In Defeat

(Sol Cockayne 29/09/2020)

2    Congleton Town FC U14 White
3    Sandbach United Falcons U14

(Match Date: Sunday 27th September 2020)
After an eight-month absence, Whites returned to action with a new name, a new style and five new players. Kicking off the 20/21 campaign saw Sandbach as the visitors. Last season we battled in two very close games.

The game began with Sandbach having an early spell of possession; however, Whites held their shape well, which prevented any early shots for Rowe to deal with. As the game went on, Whites started to move the ball further up the field, into the Sandbach half, where Scholes and Copeland dealt with any long balls and recycled them as whites looked for an opening. Price started the game well, his composure on the ball allowed him to pick out a forward-thinking pass, where Gill provided options down the wing as Whitehead, Painter and Curry all looked to take advantage of the space in midfield.

As the midpoint of the first half approached, Whites were finding their rhythm. The only thing missing from their impressive performance so far was a shot. The first chance saw Hopper collect the ball and work it through to Bailey, who impressively beat the keeper to score his first goal for the club on his debut. The intensity of the performance was terrific, and every player carried out their roles well.

Sandbach responded well to the goal, they increased their attacking play as they searched for an equaliser. The new defensive partnership of Scholes and Copeland continued to impress. Scholes had the ability to head the ball back up-field to the attackers and Copeland tracked the Sandbach forwards who looked to beat the defensive line. Despite the excellent defending, Sandbach equalised with the striker finishing well despite North and Rowe trying to block the effort. The Whites reaction to the goal was not of anger, but of encouragement and analysis, something which in the long run is going to benefit the Team as a whole. Curry, who was the Team Captain, was the player to lead the positive vocal discussion. From the bench, Mills also voiced positive comments to the Team, displaying the unity of the group and helping to keep confidence levels high.

It was in the last minute of this first half and Whites held possession of the ball, looking to regain the lead. Painter made his way into the box playing a great pass to Hopper, taking the keeper out of the game. Hopper slotted the ball home scoring his first goal for the Club and ensuring that Whites held a halftime lead. The score at half-time was 2-1.

The second half kicked off with a double substitution for the Whites. Leadbeater made his debut for the Club and Foden came on to prevent any attacks down the left. Gill continued to attack down the right, winning the Team multiple corners. The ball bounced around in the box, but Sandbach defended well. Sandbach blocked shots from both Leadbeater and Whitehead with their quick closing down. The midfield trio of Curry, Painter and Whitehead was impressive with their passing abilities. They all added a different dimension to the Team and look like a solid base in which the Team can build upon. Curry’s tricky footwork saw him get taken down in the area winning a penalty. Bailey was the player who stepped up as he looked to double his goal tally. The shot was driven into the left corner and unfortunately went narrowly wide. The keeper was beaten, but so was the post. Bailey was extremely unlucky not to grab his second of the game.

Fatigue began to set in as the second half progressed, Price was replaced by Mills, who had an instant impact by winning some early tackles. The Sandbach attacks started to become more prominent, playing their striker through. Rowe came to the rescue coming out in a spectacular fashion diving onto the ball. Whites continued to work, however, it was Sandbach who scored the next goal, equalising the game and taking all the momentum in the process.

It wasn't long before Sandbach scored a 3rd, capitalising on tired minds and tired legs. It was frustrating for the Whites as they had produced some wonderful football all game, they knew that they had to dig deep if they wanted to take a well-deserved point against a Sandbach Team who were now playing 5 at the back.

Whites dominated possession in the last 10 minutes of the game. A compact Sandbach defence continued to clear the ball, earning the Whites throw ins and corners. Whitehead looked to use his excellent long throwing skills to breach the defence, however Sandbach continued to give everything. Leadbeater, Curry, Whitehead and Bailey all looked to find an equaliser. Support was offered from Painter who continued to find space. Scholes picked up any Sandbach clearances and drove the ball forward. Unfortunately, time was not on the Whites side and the full time whistle blew ending the game 2-3.

This was an excellent game for the neutral and was played in the correct spirit by two very good teams. Staff around Congleton Town were full of praise for Whites and expressed how encouraged the players should feel.