Stepping up an age group, our newly formed Under15s team started their season with a visit to The Vestacare Stadium to take on Failsworth Dynamos. With a couple of injuries and cricket commitments, todays team led by coaches Gareth Pickup & Ian Dunkerley, were only able to field a bare 11 players and now playing 40 minutes each half.
There was nothing between the teams in the early exchanges, however the hosts took the lead after 7 mins when after some good football a Dynamos striker managed to find the back of the net. This seemed to stir Santos and they upped their intensity. They managed to equalise on 15 minutes. Finlay Nuttall hit the ball into a crowded area, fortunately Hussain Mahmood reacted quickest and the striker opened his account for the season. Santos could have taken the lead just before the interval, Will Jackson was put through but denied by a smart save by the Dynamos goalie.
Santos took the lead early in the second half, a quick throw in found Ben Smithies, the left winger then threaded the ball between two defenders to Hussain Mahmood. The striker timed his run into the penalty area striking the ball past the helpless goalie, who managed to get a glove on the ball. There was then a spate of injury concerns to Santos. Goalie Reece Mellor took a knock making a save, defender Jacob Hamlin took a bad knock on his knee and finally Will Jackson went down after a heavy tackle. Unfortunately Dynamos took advantage of this with a long ball over the top enabling the hosts to create and then score an equaliser. Within a minute Santos were back in the lead, George Gibson passed to Ciaran Finegan, who then ran a couple of paces with the ball before unleashing an unstoppable left footed shot from around 25 yards out into the top corner of the net. Half way through the half there was a chance for the hosts to draw level again when they were awarded a penalty. The resultant spot kick however hit the post and was cleared to safety. There were several more chances for either team, but both defences managed to scramble clear.
Santos deserved their victory today, the commitment and desire was commendable However, at times the passing went awry, something for the coaches to work on. On the whole an enjoyable game. Best wishes go to the lads for the rest of the season