Stortford stop Stotfold

RCYFL Division TwoStotfold Juniors under-14 0 BSCFC Blues under-14 4The Blues finally got to play a game again. In their first game since November 8 Blues found themselves with a depleted squad with Greg Harrison being absent, Ben Gannon coming down wit

RCYFL Division Two

Stotfold Juniors under-14 0 BSCFC Blues under-14 4

The Blues finally got to play a game again. In their first game since November 8 Blues found themselves with a depleted squad with Greg Harrison being absent, Ben Gannon coming down with flu, and poor Albie McCabe having to leave the field of play after less than five minutes play.

So in effect Blues were down to a bare 11, but I guess if there was a magnificent seven then these were the excellent eleven today.

Blues started slowly and Stotfold made full use of the fact that Blues were getting used to each other again by dominating the first fifteen minutes of play. They went close after five or six minutes when they cut through the Blues defence and hit a shot narrowly past the right hand post.

Other than the occasional foray into Stotfold's half most of the early play took place at Blues' end of the pitch, and during this period Billy Cox was called upon several times to make telling interventions.

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The closest Stotfold came was from a corner and it was only an excellent header off the line from Clarry Williams that prevented Stotfold from seizing the initiative.

However, in spite of their greater possession Stotfold were not really creating many clear chances, and this was in part due to the fighting qualities of Blues' back four of Scott Almond, Jordan Powles, Williams and Cox, ably backed up by the hard-working midfield four of Matt Wheeler, Harry Synowski, Sam Gale and Connor Gypps.

Having had the misfortune of losing Albie McCabe after less than five minutes, things looked to be going from bad to worse when goalkeeper, Tommy Baiss, badly injured his back in bravely clearing a corner.

Baiss decided to continue and less than five minutes later kept Blues on level terms with a magnificent point-blank save from the marauding Stotfold forward.

Baiss brave defiance seemed to spur Blues into action and the momentum slowly changed in the direction of the Blues. It seemed that half-time would see the teams end on even terms, but Blues were starting to up their game.

From a Cox throw-in Matt Wheeler managed to wriggle clear and delivered an excellent cross from the byline, which had too much on it for the Stotfold 'keeper to reach and there waiting to finish surely was Sam Gale.

The consensus at the half-time team talk was that Blues needed to be that bit quicker to the ball so that they came out on top of 50-50 challenges, panic less when in possession, and call a lot more to help the player on the ball.

Although Stotfold still had more possession of the ball, Blues now started to look the more threatening team and two minutes into the second half came the goal of the game.

Jordan Sanderson fought hard to win the ball just inside the Stotfold half and threaded an excellent ball in between the left back and centre half. Mark Redcliffe anticipating the pass perfectly, ran on to the ball and ignored the attentions of the Stotfold defender and keeping the ball under total control waited for the Stotfold 'keeper to commit himself. As the goalkeeper came out Mark smacked the ball past him to put Blues 2-0 ahead.

At this stage Stotfold showed their mettle and started to put some good passes together, but unfortunately for them their finishing was not up to the standard of their approach play.

On several occasions they had the opportunity to pull a goal back but did not have the accuracy to put the ball in the back of the net. On the one occasion it looked like they would reduce the deficit a magnificent sliding tackle from Almond saved the day for the Blues, Almond coming across from left back to slide the ball out for a corner.

This close shave seemed to galvanise Blues again, and the simply excellent Redcliffe slipped in behind the Stotfold rearguard and audaciously chipped the third over the onrushing 'keeper. It was a finish of pure cheek and simplicity.

During the middle of the second half, Gypps, Synowski, Powles, Williams and Cox in particular put in tackle after tackle after tackle, and it was this teamwork that made sure that Blues gained the ascendancy. On an undulating heavy pitch, good football was not always easy but the fourth and final goal of the game was an exception to this.

Harry Synowski had previously seen a great free kick fizz just wide of the post, but picked up the ball just outside the box and swiftly transferred the ball to Redcliffe. He held off the defender and played the ball through to Jordan Sanderson, who looked up and using all the time available stroked the ball past the static Stotfold 'keeper.

The final ten minutes saw Stotfold go close again, but Blues eventually ran out convincing winners.

Stotfold deserved one or two goals for their excellent approach play and may consider themselves unlucky to be on the receiving end of a four goal reverse. However, from the Blues point of view, this victory was well-earned, well-deserved and welcome.