U19: Wallingford Town 5-2 Chipping Norton Swifts
Swifts U19's spirited 2nd half display wasn't enough to take any points away from their game with top of the table Wallingford Town.
Report by Richard Morris
With five players missing – some for sound reasons, some for more shallow reasons(!), Chippy were always likely to struggle against top-of-table, unbeaten Wallingford Town. And so it proved, as Wallingford completely dominated the opening 45 minutes and should have been 4 or 5 nil up by half-time. They created a host of chances as they out-played Chippy with simple give-and-go football. But a mixture of poor finishing and stout defending kept the score down to a level where Chippy retained a degree of hope going into the break.
A super through-ball and a neat back heel set up Matt Ritz for Wallingford’s opener on 16 minutes, as his low shot perfectly bisected Chippy’s Hedley Smart and Hayden Matthews as they scrambled to keep it out. Three minutes later, a simple passing move allowed Callum Carrigan in to double the lead.
While Wallingford created a dozen or so chances to score, Chippy weren’t without opportunities of their own. Sam Froud shot across the face of goal, Bradley Smith flashed a shot over the bar, Hedley Smart headed over and Sam Davin went close with a tricky half-chance.
But it was at the back where Chippy were at their most industrious. The back three, Hedley Smart, Will Stahl-Morris and Miles Beard all worked tirelessly, with Miles in particular being kept very busy at left-back. In fact, Chippy did very well to keep the score down to 2-0.
The first half had been very one-sided, but the second was a far more even affair. It was also very entertaining to watch. Sam Davin went close on 48 minutes, but his flicked lob slid agonisingly wide. He made amends 4 minutes later though, when he slammed a Sam Neal cross beyond the Wallingford ‘keeper to make it 2-1. Matt Ritz popped up again on 56 minutes to reinstate his sides two goal lead, but Chippy continued to play brightly and only Wallingford’s excellent ‘keeper denied Sam Davin once again on 60 minutes.
Wallingford went close with a header on 61 minutes, and on 68 minutes Hayden Matthews was forced into a great reaction save. But there was nothing Hayden could do about Zac Jones’s shot a minute later, and it was now 4-1. It could have been 5-1 on 76 minutes had Hedley Smart not been in the right position to clear the ball off the line.
On 78 minutes; Sam Froud made a twisting run to the edge of Wallingford’s box. He then knocked the ball out to Sam Neal, who crossed to Sam Davin to arrow the ball in at the far post to make it 4-2. It was a superb goal with a brilliant build up by Sam F, a pin-point cross by Sam N and a wonderful finish by Sam D.
On 81 minutes Chippy’s hardworking right back, Will Stahl-Morris, was hacked down by a studs-up challenge and Wallingford’s Elliot Wilson was given a yellow card. Chippy were now playing well. They were all utterly knackered, but they didn’t give in and continued to take the game to Wallingford. Sam Neal’s effort was deflected over and a Luke Briggs thunder bolt fizzed over the bar. With three minutes remaining, Sam Froud had to go off with a head injury. Wallingford took full advantage of Chippy being down to 10 men as they attacked in numbers and Matt Ritz capitalized with a fine finish to earn himself a hat-trick and his side a 5-2 victory.
Wallingford are a very good side. But they aren’t brilliant, and the gap between them and Chippy isn’t as huge as today's game, or the league table might seem. But they do pass the ball around nicely and they deliver the ball into the box superbly. They should have had this game sewn up well before half-time.
Chippy were definitely second best in the first half. But in the second they matched Wallingford and had Chippy been able to bring on fresh legs they might have been able to do to more than just match them. All eleven gave everything today. Some were not at their best but they never stopped trying and battling for their team-mates. The defenders were awesome throughout. Will Stahl-Morris’s second half performance was immense. Sam Davin looked sharp up front and Sam Neal played very well once he was moved out to the right.
Next up for Chippy is a home game against Halse United. Hopefully we’ll have more than eleven available!