U19: Chipping Norton Swifts 3-5 Halse United
Chipping Norton Swifts should never have lost this game but they contrived to throw away the points due to a lack of composure and the lack of a striker.
Chippy were two nil up early on thanks to a brace of Sam Davin strikes - one with his left, one with his right - and looked to be cruising. They were well in command and appeared assured as they went in search of a third. Halse by contrast were clearly rattled by the scoreline and didn’t appear to have an awful to offer. Chippy went close on 17 minutes when Halse’s goalie rose to tip a Hedley Smart thunderbolt over the bar. Chippy made a change on 22 minutes when Conor Davies replaced Ethan Taylor.
As the half progressed, Halse came to terms with being behind and started to improve. Chippy’s ‘keeper Hayden Matthews did well at the feet of Halse striker Piers Walton on 26 minutes. Then a minute later a cross from Halse’s right drifted across the face of Chippy’s goal and out onto the left. It was played back in and struck the base of the post. There was a messy scramble inside the 6-yard box as Chippy tried to clear it, but somehow the ball fell to Josh Bastin who forced the ball home from 3 yards.
5 minutes later a Halse corner was punched clear by Hayden. The ball dropped nicely to Halse’s Jack Beasely, just inside the 18 yard box, and his header looped over everyone and nestled into the back of the net. As they celebrated, Halse’s Jack Terry was shown a yellow card for dissent towards someone, presumably a Swifts player.
Suddenly the scores were level. It got worse a minute later when a perfectly placed through-ball cut through the Chippy defence to Halse’s Pier Walton and although Hayden got a hand to the blistering shot he couldn’t stop it, and from 2 nil up Chippy found themselves 3-2 down. Ethan now came back on with Max Mazower making way. As the half drew to close another Halse player was shown a yellow card for a comment he made.
Chippy were back on terms shortly after the break, when Ethan Taylor headed the ball on to Luke Briggs, who made no mistake as the goalie tried to close him down. The game now entered a scrappy period with neither side creating much in the way of chances. Both sides lacked poise and the football wasn’t pretty. Chippy started to give the ball away and seemed unable to find a pass. They got into some great positions but the final ball was just not there. Chippy brought Max Mazower back on for Conor Davies on 51 minutes.
Sam Neal played a ball across the face of goal on 64 minutes but there was no one there to capitalize. 5 minutes later Sam was put clear and looked odds on to score but managed to knock the ball wide. Bradley Smith tried his luck with a 30 yard free-kick but the ball fizzed over the bar and Luke Briggs had a very tricky chance from the narrowest of angles.
On the hour Will Stahl-Morris was forced off through injury. Hedley dropped back into defence, and Conor Davies came off the bench and took up position in midfield.
With 6 minutes remaining Sam Davin looked to have secured his hat-trick but the goal was ruled out with the referee claiming Sam kicked the ball out of the goalie’s hands. Halse thought they’d won it 1 minute into injury time but their effort was ruled out for off-side.
If the final whistle had gone then, a 3-all draw would probably have been an accurate reflection of the game. But the whistle wasn’t blown for another 4 minutes and in that time it all went wrong for Chippy.
Halse were awarded a free-kick on the halfway line on 90+3. Ben Purnell spotted Hayden Matthews off his line, and thumped the ball goalwards. Hayden was stranded and the ball bounced over his head and in. It was painful to watch. Halse of course, were jubilant and made the most of their celebrations during which something was said to Hayden. Unfortunately, Hayden reacted poorly and the referee had no choice but to show him a red card.
But the fun wasn’t over. Hedley elected to wear the ‘keepers shirt but in a desperate bid for a very late equaliser he pushed forward. So, when Chippy lost possession in Halse’s half, Callum Humphries simply walloped the ball into the open net from 60 yards.
It was an awful way to lose a game and the Chippy lads were naturally very dejected. They’d certainly done enough to earn a draw. And with more composure in front of goal and better delivery into the box they could have won the game.
So, an eventful game. 8 goals. Three yellow cards, and one red. Not a great result or performance from Chippy. But there are positives to reflect upon. Chippy battled well throughout and at no point during the game did they let their heads drop. The build-up and execution of both of Sam Davin’s goals were superb. Chippy played the game correctly and didn’t resort to nasty, childish, unsporting remarks. Bradley had a great game in midfield. He put up with a lot of stick but remained composed and focussed on his football. Will’s injury isn’t as bad as first thought. And we have the fun of deciding who goes in goal to look forward to!
One thing that would help Chippy would be to have the whole squad available. With just one sub (or as last week, no subs) available we are making life very hard for ourselves.