Both teams make a point

Rothbury U10...1 Berwick Jaguars U10...1

Glendale League U10

ROTHBURY’S Ben Straughan played like a lion against Berwick Jaguars in a hugely exciting 1-1 draw.

Ben, at the heart of the Rothbury defence, saw his team enjoy an early dominance of possession that culminated in a Ben Caisley shot flying narrowly wide.

Yet it was Berwick who took the lead. The Jaguars were blessed with players with speed on the ball and these fleet-footed footballers struck at the heart of the Rothbury defence.

The first rapier-like thrust was parried by a sharp Niall Murtagh save but, from the subsequent corner, a Berwick forward showed admirable cool and lots of skill to beat two Rothbury defenders and then dummy the on-rushing keeper to calmly steer the ball home. It was a finish that Fernando Torres would have loved to have shown for Chelsea.

Rothbury didn’t let their heads go down and their passing got them back into the match. One intricate passing move saw Gareth Rickaby exchanging passes with Alex Wharrier before James Williams drove in a shot that was acrobatically saved by the Berwick goalkeeper.

Ben Straughan was adventurously moving up from the back and he almost manufactured a scoring chance by bulldozing his way through two Berwick defenders from a corner.

By this time, Berwick had conceded virtually all the pitch to a rampant Rothbury and James Williams was twice fouled as he ran at the Berwick defence. A drive by Hugh Dennis was parried by the Berwick keeper and the screams of an increasingly excited crowd showed how close Rothbury came to turning in the rebound.

Eventually, Rothbury’s equaliser had to come. Again the ball was lashed at the Berwick goal by James Williams, the keeper couldn’t hold it and the ball ran across the goal. Gareth was quickest to react and, outsprinting two Berwick defenders, he slammed the ball home. It was an excellent finish from a tight angle.

Amazingly, Berwick regrouped and almost struck a winning goal. First the Berwick goal-scorer found himself in space. He ran straight at the Rothbury goal and was surely going to score, Niall stood up to the on-rushing forward and made a glorious save low down to his left.

This gave Berwick confidence and they came again. Rothbury looked exhausted in the best bit of football of the whole game a Berwick shot was diverted by Gareth Rickaby who had chased back the whole length of the pitch.

They say that football is all about what you do without the ball and Gareth gave truth to that in this moment. The whistle blew and Rothbury celebrated a glorious draw.

Rothbury man-of-the-match: Ben Straughan.