U10 Black downed in a close game at Shaw Lane

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U10 Black downed in a close game at Shaw Lane

Posted by admin on January 21, 2014

The Spartans' first league defeat came away at Shaw Lane Aquaforce in a close fought top of the table clash, that could ultimately decide the home of the league title.

After last weeks frozen pitch it was a relief to get a bright and relatively pleasant Sunday morning for this top of the table clash.

The previous game at the Caribbean Club was very close and ended in a 2-2 draw, and both teams had identical records elswhere in the league, winning all their games, so this had all the hallmarks of a tight game.

The pitch was quite a slope and Shaw Lane decided to kick up hill in the first half (clearly their preferred end) and started the brightest and caused trouble as a mix up in decision making by the Spartans defence almost ended in a goal, but thankfully the ball went wide for a goal kick.

The Spartans then started to get into their stride and every player seemed to be focussed on the job in hand, particularly in midfield where Betsy seemed to be ignoring the cold and was making some good tackles and nice passes. On the right Alfie was always an option and made some good runs. On the left, Sam did not have his usual space to work and was not quite as effective, but worked as hard as ever and Ramarye was up front for now.

The game was played mostly in midfield for the first part, with neither team able to really put their stamp on the game, what few chances there we were neatly dealt with by the recovering defenders or goalies.

About half way through the first half, Shaw Lane had their best chance and broke down the left and shot to the near post where James made a good save with his legs and the ball was cleared for a corner. Then a few minutes later another break in the same place saw James make a good save high that was cleared by Josh. 

After substitutions, Alex played in the middle and started to open up Shaw Lane with some neat footwork and Kieren roamed down the left, his usual hardwork and trickery really paying off. The Spartans were creating a few chances now and the Shaw Lane goalie made a couple of saves. Eventually the best chance of the first half fell to Alfie down the right who shot and the ball sneaked in at the near post just before the goalie could cover it.

Half time 1-0 to the Spartans although Shaw Lane could probably claim to have shaded the game so far. 

The ball was pumped up (was flat for most of the first half) and we were ready for the second half, with the Spartans having to play up hill.  The Shaw Lane game plan was clear right from the start - play long balls from the golaie/defenders and put pressure on the Spartans defence/goalie. Josh and Cameron dealt really well with the first few attacks as they knew what was coming and this allowed the midfield to play with some element of freedom, making some lovely passes.

Shaw Lane kept coming though and there were regular goal kicks for James, Josh and Cameron to deal with - some good pre-game coaching from Shaw Lane kept the boys on their toes at goal kicks too. 

As the half established some rhythm, Shaw Lane applied some pressure and forced a corner after some good work down the right that was cleared by Josh and Blade (substituted in defence for Cameron). The ball was played in and went straight (James stepped out of the field to gather it), inexplicably the referee gave another corner which Shaw Lane carved another chance from.

The equaliser came soon after, Ramarye was fould on the half way line that was let goa by the referee and then he fould the Shaw Lane player in the corner, from the free kick, the ball was gathered by James who unfortunately under kicked his clearance and it fell to the Shaw Lane attacker who finished with confidence, despite James best effort.

This seemed to cause a shift in the game. The Spartans started to get more space up front as Shaw Lane pushed for the winner. On three or four occasions, the Spartans broke with numbers and managed to get shots in on goal for the goalie to parry, but then were cleared, or for the shots to go just wide. Back in defence, the boys were dealing with the Shaw Lane arial attack well.

Then came the turning point of the game (and possibly the season). Shaw Lane were pushing for the winner and managed to get through the Spartans midfield and get a shot in on goal. James appeared to gather the ball in his midriff with both hands. A Shaw Lane player challenged and the ball and James ended up on the floor, the ball falling to Shaw Lane to score. In any other game this would have been a foul on the goalkeeper, but the referee judged that nothing had happened and the goal stood. 2-1 to the home team.

The Spartans were obviously dejected, but pushed forward to try and get the equaliser, with two more shots before the end of the game, however it was not to be. The game finished 2-1.

A good game from both sides and both teams deserved to get something from this game. A few tears at the end had to be dealt with (sadly not because of the result, which the Spartans always take with good grace, but because of the nature of the deciding goal).

The Spartans need now to pick themselves up and play as well for the rest of the season, hoping Shaw Lane drop points elsewhere. 

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