This week the boys made the short trip to play top of the table side Combe. This was a game that North Leigh had to win if they were to keep alive their chances of winning the title. The gaffer made two positional changes from last week’s victory against Chadlington with Charlie Twiss and Ethan Austin reverting back to their more accustomed positions of defence and midfield respectively.
The Combe skipper won the toss and they decided to kick down the slope first half. From the first minute the tone of the match was set with Skipper Harvey King laying the ball to Conor Murphy in his own half and went on a mesmerising run skipping past 3 challenges before passing the ball to Ethan Austin on the edge of the Combe penalty area and he fired a shot over the bar. North Leigh continued to take control of the game and were playing some delightful football. Combe were always a threat with their number 10, who is probably one of the most dangerous strkers in the league, however today he came up against King and Charlie Twiss in the North Leigh defence who did not give him an inch. Midway through the first half the hard working Cameron Hadfield created a couple of opportunities for himself, one which was well saved and the other went just the wrong side of the post. In the dying seconds of the half Murphy who had been a constant thorn in the Combe side went on another mazy run, this time he went for goal and the Combe keeper saved with his legs. Ed Knight in the North Leigh goal was also impressing as he was commanding his area well mainly dealing with long through balls looking for the lone Combe striker. At half time somehow it was still 0-0 this did not reflect North Leigh’s dominance in the match.
Half Time:- Come 0-0 North Leigh
The boys continued the second half as they finished the first, with Taylor Savin who was having a good game on the right hand side of midfield passing a delightful ball to Hadfield in the right hand channel he looked up to see Conor Murphy who was unmarked six yards out in front of goal and played in a cross, however it did not half enough pace on the ball and the Combe keeper just managed to intercept before Murphy could fire home. As time went out the North Leigh supporters must have thought it was not going to be there day as the boys were playing so well but could not get the breakthrough. Another example of this was when Austin and Savin linked up well in the midfield and Savin laid a beautiful ball into the path of Twiss on the edge of the box who had made a great overlapping run, but just as he was about to shoot the ball took a nasty bobble and his shot went well wide of the near post. With 5 minutes to go the boys eventuall y got the goal when Savin sent Hadfield away this time he carried the ball into the area looked up before firing a shot across the keeper and into the far corner of the net. You would have expected this would have ment for a nervy last 5 minutes of the game far from it as King, Twiss and Austin defended superbly well and prevented Combe from having a shot on target all match. If anything the boys could easily have doubled the lead as Murphy was continuing to wreck havoc down the left hand side. When the final whistle went the boys, management and supporters were all delighted with the much needed win against one of their rivals.
Full Time:- Combe 0-1 North Leigh
Today the boys put in easily their best all round performance of the season with every player from Ed in goal through to Cameron up front performing to the level that we know that they are all capable of. The football at times was as good as you are likely to see from boys of this age and it was a pleasure to watch.
Man of the Match:- This could have gone to any of the boys but Conor Murphy just edged it for a superb performance he really set the tone of the match from the first minute with his ability to take on players at pace, it was great to watch.
Combe 0-2 North Leigh
Goals scored by Toby Gregory 2
The second game was identical to the first. Blaine Eason and Connor Butler were solid as ever at the back. The midfield trio of Toby Gregory, Callum Keyes and Ed Knight linked up well and Bailey Wyatt impressed with his movement and distribution of the ball up front. They ran out comfortable 2-0 winners.
Man of the Match:- Connor Butler who is improving every week. He not only impressed with his defending but his use of the ball was good as well.