Youngsters brave the cold to hunt down tough victory

Ashington Colliers U9 0 Longhoughton Rangers U9 1

U9 Northumberland Mini League Serie A

With plunging temperatures and gusting winds, there was a question mark over whether the game would go ahead but the Under 9s match against Ashington Colliers kicked off on time with the cold snapping at the players’ heels.

After Rangers ran out 7-0 winners at the Westfield fixture, this time it was a much tighter affair as the wind created all sorts of problems for the boys. It not only affected the ball in the air, but turned well-hit passes into poor ones.

The first quarter set the tone for the game as it was all end-to-end, the teams taking it in turns to attack each other. The Rangers defence welcomed back Thomas Newton from injury and sported Danny Hardy as captain.

The game remained goalless after the first quarter.

The second quarter literally saw the Rangers with the wind in their sails as they pushed hard to find a breakthrough.

The 16th minute provided Euan Duffin with a free-kick opportunity from just inside the halfway line. His curling effort only just missing the top corner of the goal.

Two minutes later, Rangers’ best chance of the game so far fell to Jack Grisdale who broke through one-on-one with the keeper. He looked to pass the ball into the far bottom corner but the ball went just wide as the crowd stopped mid-celebration. Both coach and subs thought it was a certain goal.

Rangers continued to press and soon got another chance as Ben Renton found himself with the rarest of opportunities on the small pitch. He found time and space to unleash a solid shot which was goalbound until the keeper intervened with a brilliant, diving save to palm the ball round the post.

At 0-0 at half-time, it was looking like being one of those days. One goal looked to be all it would take to win the game.

The third quarter was a quieter spell with the battle for superiority continuing.

The final quarter provided joy for Rangers though.

On 43 minutes, a defence-splitting pass from Daylan Eden to the feet of Jack Grisdale put him clear of the defence and this time he calmly slotted the ball past the oncoming goalkeeper to put Rangers 1-0 up.

Ashington then pressed hard to equalise, but could not find a way past Hardy in the Rangers goal. A combination of Newton, Seton and Lowes helping him with a double block on the goal-line in the 47th minute to keep the ball out. Duffin and Straker completed the clearances.

It ended a hard-fought victory for the Rangers against a busy Ashington side.