Fortress 3G Helps Nomads Pull Away From Mynydd Isa
A crushing 5-1 victory see's the Young Reds pull further away from Mynydd Isa in a 1st v 2nd clash on the 3G
Today's game was the proverbial 6 pointer for Nomads, the teams around them have a packed schedule with many teams having a good amount of games in hand against the league leaders. This was the fifth time the sides met, with Mynydd Isa Spartans sitting second in the league and having already bested The Reds 3 times this season (2 in the cup and 1 in the league), with Nomads beating them once in the Horace Wynne cup on their way to the Semi Final.
The opening exchanges of the game were cagey as expected, with both teams probing for chances. Neither team really took control in the first 15 minutes, but neither looked uncomfortable either. A few half chances forced by direct passes from both teams was the only thing of note during this time.
Spartans would be the team who would be more dominant from 15 minutes to half time, they carved out more clear cut chances than the home team forcing some excellent defensive work from the back 4 of Craig Chisholm, Zachary Williams, George Coulthon and Liam Bruford. Jay Loyden in the Reds goal pulled off some great 1v1 saves in this time.
The pressure was building for the home team and some silly fouls were given away, forcing defending from set pieces against a physically huge team. Coulton at the back was an excellent and calming presence, dictating the tempo through midfield screen, Owen Manley and centre back partner Zachary Williams.
On the 40th minute some excellent work out wide between Liam Bruford and Luke Woolley (how many times have you read that this season?) saw Woolley drive across the defensive line before teeing midfield playmaker Ben James up 25 yards out, James caressed the ball and it bent into the bottom right corner to make it 1-0 to Nomads going into half -ime.
The team talk at the break was simple for Woodward and Manley, calm down, stand them up and hit them on the break as they'll have to take more risks in the second half.
Spartans showed their experience in the second half and didn't play as expansively as many teams would have, they didn't panic at being 1-0 in such a big game. As such it was 20 minutes into the restart that Nomads had a chance to double their lead, from a set piece of their own. Owen Manley swung a perfect corner into the box and George Coulthon watched it drop 8 yards out and placed it into the corner.
2 minutes later Spartans got a goal that they richly deserved, a great cross and shot saw Jay Loyden make an excellent save, but he couldn't do anything about the follow up.
2-1 with 20 minutes to go set up an absolute thriller of a game. Spartans now lost their discipline as they smelt blood, throwing caution to the winds and going all out attack. Nomads showed great maturity during this time and continued to play their excellent brand of football. Spartans players vacating the space in the centre of the pitch killed them, Jack Aitken and Ben James were just popping the ball around quickly and releasing wingers Dom Elsey-McHugh and Liam Bruford at will.
Liam Bruford stormed into the box from the right and was clipped during the action of shooting. This put him off balance and resulted in the keeper pushing the ball away from him, although Bruford didn't go down, his character to stay on his feet through being fouled was rewarded. The ref saw (and heard) the clip, giving the penality.
Woodward couldn't watch as Elsey-McHugh stepped up. The penality was converted and made it 3-1.
At this point Nomads were just counter attacking with ease. This time is was Elsey-McHugh's turn to provide a goal for Bruford. Slicing a pass through the away teams defence and Bruford skipped onto his right foot before curling the ball into the corner from 20 yards.
The icing on the cake was with the last kick of the game. Ben James providing his 4th assist in 2 games, dinked a delightful pass for Elsey-McHugh to chase onto, wide left just outside the 18 yard box, he lifted the ball on the bounce over the keeper and into the bottom corner.
5-1 didn't reflect the game in all honesty, Spartans were excellent and had enough chances to score 5 of their own. If it weren't for a combination of excellent goalkeeping and defending from Nomads and some poor finishing from the away team it may have been a different story. Nomads were just ruthless in front of goal when given the chances.
This was the last game of the season on the 3G and makes the Young Reds unbeaten all season at home, a fantastic achievement for the lads, who for many are playing their first year of senior football.
Ben James (Ast. Luke Woolley)
George Coulthon (Ast. Owen Manley)
Dom Elsey-McHugh (Pen - Ast. Liam Bruford)
Liam Bruford (Ast. Dom Elsey-McHugh)
Dom Elsey-McHugh (Ast. Ben James)
Player of The Match - George Coulthon
Captain fantastic against 2nd in the league. Chipped in with a goal himself. But his presence at the back was a calming figure in a very high -ressure game. Communication was fantastic throughout and he didn't put a foot wrong.
The fact that Elsey-McHugh scored 2 and assisted 1 and Ben James scored 1 and assisted 1, but the centre back Coulton still received the accolade speaks volumes for the captain's performance.