Rothbury take honours in basement battle

Wooler U12...1 Rothbury U12...2

Glendale League U12

THIS bottom-of-the-table clash was played in difficult conditions, with a bumpy pitch and a surprisingly cold, strong wind, given the spring-like conditions the previous day.

Rothbury were determined to get off the bottom of the table while Wooler were hoping to capitalise on last week’s excellent win against Longhorsley.

With the wind helping them, Rothbury had the best of the first half. Lukas Robinson, Alex Law and Louis Stripp dominated the midfield for Rothbury, winning the ball and working well together and with Robbie Young upfront.

There were few clear-cut chances and although Rothbury won a number of corners, they were unable to take advantage of the swirling wind to trouble the Wooler goalkeeper. Young, in particular, worked hard to keep the Wooler defenders under pressure, making it difficult for them to clear the ball. He was rewarded with a good poacher’s goal, intercepting a shot from Robinson just in front of the keeper and poking the ball home.

With a deserved 1-0 lead at half-time Rothbury brought on Harry Monks to replace Young upfront. Monks carried on Young’s good work, but the importance of the wind soon became obvious as Wooler came much more into the game.

Rothbury’s back three of Lewis Middleton, Ben Wright and Josef Laverty had a lot more work to do, with Middleton and Wright, in particular, putting in some tremendous tackles to protect goalkeeper Ben Saxon.

Despite their efforts, Wooler created two excellent scoring opportunities.

The first was denied by an outstanding last-ditch tackle in front of goal by Robinson after Middleton had held up the Wooler attack; the second by advancing keeper, Saxon, who did enough to put off the Wooler striker when through on goal.

Rothbury also had chances and their second goal came from the best move of the match. Laverty, who provided excellent support to the midfield, passed the ball out of defence and a combination of passes between Robinson, Stripp and Law resulted in a shot that was well saved by the Wooler keeper, only for Robinson to pounce on the rebound and fire home to give his team a 2-0 lead.

Stripp came close to extending that lead with an excellent left-foot shot that just missed the top corner of the goal, and towards the end Rothbury seemed certain to score again with Law and Young put through on goal by Robinson, only to be denied by some brave goalkeeping.

With only a minute to go, Wooler set up a tense finish.

Saxon made a good save from a long-range shot and, from the resulting corner, there was a chaotic goalmouth scramble, with Wooler eventually managing to get the ball into the Rothbury net. They did not have time, however, for an equaliser and Rothbury ran out deserved winners.

Rothbury: Alex Law, Ben Saxon, Ben Wright, Harry Monks, Josef Laverty, Lewis Middleton, Louis Stripp, Lukas Robinson, Robbie Young. Rothbury Man-of-the-match: Lewis Middleton.