Once again Todmorden failed to get their just deserts - but it was another very entertaining match.
Tod looked comfortably the better side in the first half, but they conceded an early goal after being caught in possession. Minutes later they fell victim to the first of three very strict penalty calls that morning. Swifts were awarded a spot kick after two players had apparently tangled off the ball. Now finding themselves 2-0 down against the run of play, it was great that the lads did not panic. The team kept a good shape and played some decent football. This pressure resulted in a string of corners. From one of these Joel Deakin was first to react, clipping the ball home with the side of his foot. Then it was Tod’s turn to benefit from a surprising penalty judgement (possibly a high foot by a defender?). Benjamin England stepped up to convert the equaliser.
The second period was a far more even contest, with Crossley playing a lot better than they had done in the first. And there was plenty of drama to come…Luis Diggle pulled off a cracking double save on the goal-line with the aid of Theo Christodoulou…whilst at the other end the lively Oisin Pritchard saw his shot fly past the goalkeeper – only to rebound off the foot of the post. Not to be outdone, the Swifts then hit the crossbar.
Next, a thick fog enveloped the pitch, and the referee blew his whistle yet again for another tough penalty decision - in Crossley’s favour. This time Diggle saved brilliantly. However the euphoria amongst the Tod team was short-lived - soon after a disastrous ten-minute period resulted in them conceding two breakaway goals. A fifth goal followed before Dylan Caldwell fired home a consolation strike.
Todmorden were more than capable of beating the Swifts, but they lacked concentration at times and perhaps need to work that bit harder on helping to support each other and providing more options. However, over the last three games, the confidence that helped them to win the league last season has started to flow back into their play. And the hard work of the coaches has gradually started to pay off… fitness levels have improved, and the team kept a good strong shape for the bulk of this game.
There were some excellent individual performances, but it’s fair to say that all the lads – including Spensley, Borrill, Sheehan, Pownall, Gray, Cook, Rothwell and Ormerod, made a very good contribution today.