Santos U13s ran out of steam after making a spirited start against a fine footballing Stockport County Colts Whites side in Hazel Grove.
The Whites wanted to play out from the back at every opportunity and that might have been their downfall in the early stages, as Santos seized on a number of misplaced passes. One of these led to Samee Rashid charging down the keeper’s clearance and tapping the ball into an open net after it ballooned back towards goal.
It was clear that the home side were going to be a handful whenever they worked the ball into the wide midfield positions, but Santos’s offside trap worked perfectly until a moment’s hesitation led to them firing an equaliser over the outstretched arms of Sebastian Toms.
Santos almost restored their lead when another loose pass across the defence gave Oak Champarath a glorious opportunity, but he couldn’t keep his first-time effort down. Rashid then pounced on another lapse in the box, leading to Lucas Ward hitting the bar from an offside position.
Central midfielders Joe Bamford and Hayden Wood were doing their best to provide some ammunition to the forward line, but Ward and Champarath couldn’t quite anticipate their probing passes. And so it was the Whites who went 2-1 up, as they put together a good passing move down the left and converted the resulting centre from close range. Toms then made a good low save to keep Santos just one behind as the half-time whistle went.
Unfortunately, Santos found it difficult to maintain the same level of performance in the second-half as they were gradually worn down by a confident display of passing and movement. Adam Shallcross was outstanding at centre-half and used his pace to snuff out danger on a number of occasions, but he couldn’t do anything to stop the Whites going 3-1 ahead when they waltzed through some weak tackling down the right.
Substitutes Rafael Correia and Caitlin Clarke helped to inject some fresh energy into the team, while Wood and Rashid kept threatening down the right, but Santos couldn’t fashion any clear-cut chances. The Whites made it 4-1 with a move that started with their goalkeeper and they notched a fifth from the penalty spot after a clip in the box, leaving Santos to reflect on their first defeat of the season.