U19: Chipping Norton Swifts 2-7 Wallingford Town
Swifts U19's run of three games unbeaten in the league was ended, in emphatic fashion by table-toppers Wallingford.
With several key defenders out through injury or simply opting not to play today, and the fact they were facing a Wallingford Town side that have won every game they have played this season, Chippy were always likely to struggle. And so it proved.
Wallingford’s domination of the first half was total. They were sharper and stronger than Chippy in all departments. They reacted first, got to the ball first, passed more accurately and made superb use of their greater share of possession. Their crosses and corners were outstanding and their finishing devastating.
Despite Chippy’s unusual formation; they weren’t significantly poorer than normal. However, their shortcomings were highlighted, and then punished by Wallingford’s virtuosity. In comparison with their opponents Chippy appeared slow and disjointed. Wallingford allowed Chippy no time on the ball which forced Chippy’s decision making to be rushed. They could not retain possession or find a pass and they were forced into making simple mistakes.
But with several players playing in unfamiliar positions and facing outstanding opponents, the Chippy lads did their best. Their work rate could not be faulted. They did not let their heads drop at any stage and they continued to play with a smile, even though by half-time they found themselves 5-0 down.
The second half was different. It was a much more scrappy affair. Wallingford’s football was less refined and Chippy seemed more able to cope. Sam Davin had an excellent second half and on 56 minutes he battled into the Wallingford box but just couldn’t get a shot off. Eventually the ball slipped to Conor Davies but his effort whistled wide.
Wallingford’s sixth, on 61 minutes, came from a corner that wasn’t dealt with and they were gifted a simple tap in. From the restart, Sam Davin pushed forward. He fought his way past several challenges, to the edge of the box and finished by shooting across the goalie and in at the far post. It was a awesome individual goal.
2 minutes later Chippy doubled their tally. A wonderful ball over the top by Bradley Smith set Jack Stott free. But as Jack shaped to head the ball he was clattered by the ‘keeper and the ref had little option but to award a penalty. Jack himself stepped up to take it and planted it firmly and low to the ‘keepers left.
The game now developed into a patchy, untidy concern with neither side dominating. Wallingford were still marginally the better side but their polished football had departed and Chippy were looking improved.
They created further chances with Luke Briggs and Sam Neal both forcing saves out of the ‘keeper while a Conor Davies acrobatic effort slipped wide of the post. Wallingford’s chances were much less frequent than in the first half but with just 2 minutes remaining some poor defending by Chippy allowed the league leaders to make it seven.
There were several good performances today. Sam Davin was excellent but let himself down by getting booked after the final whistle. Max Mazower was outstanding as he worked his socks off in central midfield throughout the game. Bradley Smith, one of Chippy’s most creative players, was asked to play as a right back today and he was exceptional. He never stopped running and battling. He got in some great tackles and kept his discipline. He also set up Jack Stott to earn the penalty.
It was always going to be a colossal task matching Wallingford. They are a superb side having won 9 out of 9 in the league. But they didn’t have it all their own way today. Yes, they absolutely battered Chippy in the first half, but in the second Chippy matched them stride for stride. Perhaps if Chippy had had their full squad available things may have been different.