Not at the Races.
By Fraser Mee
On a overcast .......
........ morning, Bloxham welcomed Bampton Town U12's to Jubilee Park. Bampton got the first half underway and it was clear, that they were going to be a strong challenge for the boys. With good movement and solid passing, the visitors moved the ball around the pitch well. But Bloxham were doing well to meet the challenge and tried to exert their passing game. The first chance of the game, fell to Tom White. Latching on to a partially blocked pass from James W, Tom hit his shot first time ...... straight at the visitors keeper. As the half progressed, the visiting midfield took control in the centre of the pitch. Breaking up Bloxham possession and trying to release their attackers. At this point the boys, were struggling to string decent passes together and were getting a little frustrated. With Bampton now clearly in control, they started to create opportunities in and around the Bloxham area. But good tackles from the home side, prevented any clear goal scoring chances. Eventually, Bamptons pressure told in the 16th minute. From a corner on the Bloxham left, the ball was swung in to the area and partially headed by a Bampton player. It fell into a crowd of players and wasn't cleared by the home side. A swing boot from Bampton connected with the ball and this shot hit the bar, beating the diving Carson W and ricocheted down towards the goal line ..... Thomas M made a valiant attempt to hook the ball away, but collided with Carson, as he tried to punch the ball out and the ball nestled into the net. (0-1) For the remainder of the half, the boys struggled to get any pressure on the visitors goal. The opposing midfield were quick to close James & Tom W down, when they had the ball and when they were able to get the ball out to the wings Archie and Harry G, struggled to make any headway down the flanks. The half finished without any addition to the score, mainly due to the visitors strikers bot having their shooting boots on.
At the start of the 2nd half, Ismaeel came on for Harry G... which resulted in a Josh moving into midfield and Tom W out to wide right. But it was clear that Bampton were still the controlling side. Any forward progress by the home side, was lost by poor control or loose passes that gave possession back to the visitors. With just under 7 minutes played in the second half ....... the visitors increased their lead from another corner. Again, from the Bloxham left, the corner was floated into the near post and the visitors number 7, nipped in ahead of Carson to nod the ball in. (0-2) With Bloxham really struggling to get any kind of foot hold in the match, the visitors were well in command. Controlling the middle of the park and causing panic in the normally solid Bloxham back line. As the half progressed, the boys stuck to their task and little by little were getting glimpses of the visitors goal. First Archie and then James had shots saved by the Bampton keeper. With the game entering the final 10 minutes, Bloxham reduced the deficit ... against the overall play. Josh B hassled a visiting defender, who was trying to bring the ball out and it broke to Archie on the Bloxham left. He cut inside a defender, then back out and let fly from the edge of the area ..... into the back of the net. (1-2). This seemed to knock the wind a little out of the Bampton sails and pushing James W into attack (Harry C dropping into a midfield role), the home side went in search of an equaliser. Finally Bloxham appeared to have the upper hand and it was the visitors struggling with their passing. With time almost up, the home side had one final chance to level the match. A bobbling loose ball fell to Tom W, who made a little room for himself and connected well with his shot ............ straight at the visitors keep, who held on to the ball.
A really difficult game for the boys against a well organised and strong opponent, who dominated the midfield. Poor passing, lack of talking and just kicking the ball away when under pressure, didn't help the team today. But, showing a lot of spirit and determination, they stuck to their task and kept plugging away and almost got an unlikely draw.