Last-minute strike secures vital win

Rothbury U10...3 Longhorsley U10...2

Glendale League U10

HALFWAY through the first half of an evenly contested Under 10 Glendale League match Rothbury gained an advantage.

James Williams drove down the right hand side of the pitch; turning inside the Longhorsley defender he played the ball into the box.

Alex Wharrier drove the ball in on goal but the ball was deflected away by the Longhorsley keeper.

Hugh Dennis seized onto the ball and drove it back towards goal.

Yet again a Longhorsley player raised his hands on the goal-line to deflect it away, yet, unfortunately for Longhorsley, the player in question was not their goalkeeper. Penalty!

James Williams took control of the situation.

Calmly placing the ball on the spot he took four steps back before driving it imperiously into the bottom left-hand corner of the net.

The Longhorsley keeper had guessed the right way but such was the accuracy of the placement he was unable to get a touch on the ball.

Rothbury striker David O’Dowd almost started the second half with an instant goal but the Longhorsley keeper was able to field the well hit shot.

Rothbury were flooding forward yet crucially left Longhorsley’s most forward player unmarked.

A well-struck pass bisected Alex Kidd and Ben Straughan and Rothbury Goalkeeper Niall Murtagh was unable to save the resulting low strike.

Back in the game Longhorsley looked confident but it was Rothbury who again took the lead.

Hugh Dennis, doing a lot of work in the middle of the pitch, broke up a Longhorsley attack and played a short pass to James Williams.

Again James drove at the heart of the Longhorsley defence. Powering past the last defender he confidently clipped the ball past the on-coming keeper into the left-hand corner of the net.

With two minutes to go it seemed Rothbury would cling on to their slender lead. Yet they backed off an oncoming Longhorsley player once too often.

The ball was played wide and, from an angled run, the Longhorsley winger scored a well-taken equaliser.

With a minute left it seemed a draw would be a result that Rothbury would gratefully cling to yet this absorbing encounter had one final twist.

With Longhorsley pressing for a winner Gareth Rickaby gathered the ball on the left-hand side of the Rothbury half.

With spectators imploring him to clear the ball, Gareth showed real class by ignoring the shouts and dribbling towards the Longhorsley goal.

Longhorsley couldn’t adjust quickly enough to the sudden attack.

Sprinting down the left Gareth crossed into the Longhorsley area. Alex Wharrier controlled the ball and shot at goal.

Yet again the Longhorsley keeper saved well but the ball bounced free and Gareth, who hadn’t stopped running, was there to smash the ball home.

What a time for Rothbury to take the lead for the third time - there was literally five seconds left on the clock!

Brave Longhorsley had no time to reply, the game was Rothbury’s.

Rothbury man-of-the-match: Gareth Rickaby. John White, Tottenham Hotspur Inside Right, was called “The Ghost” for his ability to arrive unexpectedly from midfield and score vital goals, well, Gareth Rickaby may soon earn a similar sobriquet. Gareth’s skill proved decisive in a famous win for Rothbury.