Lowick Pumas U10...4 Rothbury U10...1
GLENDALE LEAGUE U10
THE old maxim that goals change games was never more accurate than during last Saturday’s U10 Glendale League game between Lowick Pumas and Rothbury.
For all that Rothbury huffed and puffed with some excellent approach play, it was the clinical finishing of the aptly named Pumas that won the game.
The match began in a very even fashion with both teams enjoying some early possession.
Rothbury looked confident on the ball and, after a perceptive cross-field pass by Alex Wharrier, it was Rothbury who shot wide following a long-range Gareth Rickaby effort.
It seemed that Lady Luck could have been favouring Rothbury when, following a whipped cross that flashed across the Rothbury box, a Lowick Puma forward spooned the ball over the bar when it seemed easier to score.
Yet the Pumas, after their predatory Cougar namesake, were just biding their time and they soon enjoyed two opportunities offered up by sloppy Rothbury defending.
Firstly, poor Rothbury defending on a corner saw Lowick Pumas pounce on a routine chance at the Rothbury far-post (1-0).
Then, almost straight away, Rothbury’s failure to clear the ball from a position to the right of their own goal, saw the ball swept into the Rothbury box for the Lowick striker to prove that his first miss had not been habit forming (2-0).
Two goals to the good saw Lowick visibly relax and straight away provide Rothbury a way back into the match.
A routine ball played down the centre of the pitch by the Rothbury backline became a dangerous ball because of chasing down by Rothbury front-man Ben Caisley. Hurrying to clear the ball saw the Lowick goalkeeper slice his clearance.
Daniel Ewen tried to return the ball into the Lowick goal but his hurried shot fortuitously sliced into the path of Rothbury winger Thorsten Robinson. Thorsten passed the ball to Gareth Rickaby who shot at goal.
The shot wasn’t the most forceful but, on its sixth bounce, the ball reared and kicked over the Lowick keeper’s diving hand and, somehow, it ended up in the net (2-1).
The goal galvanised the Rothbury attack and suddenly it was the Rothbury side that looked the more threatening wild mammal.
Hunting in packs they swarmed over the suddenly stricken Pumas yet, as much as they tried, Rothbury could not deliver another telling blow before half time.
James Williams sent a dipping free-kick just over the Pumas cross-bar, then Gareth Rickaby hit the post.
Finally, set up by a terrific Cameron Austin Walker cross, Aidan Greaves shot from the centre of the Pumas’ area but the Lowick keeper produced a tremendous one-handed save to send Lowick into the break still in the lead.
The second-half saw Rothbury redouble their efforts but still fail to score.
On at least 10 occasions Rothbury fashioned excellent chances but the Lowick keeper proved equal to all attempts.
Unfortunately it was another corner that moved the Pumas further ahead against plucky Rothbury.
A result of a rare Lowick attack, the corner was initially swept away from the Rothbury goal yet, unfortunately, the ball hit a Rothbury defender to be sent rocketing back past the unfortunate Rothbury goal keeper and into the net.
This was hard on the Rothbury team but worse almost followed as the prolific Lowick forward drove towards goal before unleashing a fierce shot. At point blank range Niall Murtagh, the Rothbury goalkeeper, stood tall and deflected the ball up onto the Rothbury cross bar and away from his goal.
Almost instantly Hugh Dennis switched the ball to Gareth Rickaby who sprinted down the Rothbury right. The ball was crossed into Aidan Greaves who again was denied by excellent goalkeeping.
It wasn’t to be for brave Rothbury and the final Lowick goal came after a gallant save from Niall Murtagh fell to the still hungry Puma striker (4-1).
Two yards out the striker eagerly struck it home, feeding voraciously on the chance as if he were a Puma Mountain Lion diving on a prostrate Elk that had been snared on the Yukon wasteland of a cold Canadian wilderness.
Rothbury had indeed felt the teeth of...the Puma.