Lions have an eye for goal

U10s Glendale League, Alnwick Lions 5 Eyemouth Juniors 1

ALNWICK Lions moved up to fourth place in the Glendale League U10s table with an ultimately comfortable win against Eyemouth Juniors, but not before they had fallen behind to a soft own-goal following a largely tepid first half.

The match had started brightly for the Lions with both Joe Pickard and Raphael McCall firing in early shots that were deflected behind for corners and the Eyemouth keeper was much the busier during the early exchanges.

A further shot from Pickard on five minutes was spilled by the keeper only for McCall to scoop his follow-up shot over the bar from close range.

Eyemouth, however, were not intimidated with their giant no 10 particularly hard to knock off the ball. So committed were Alnwick to attack that they got caught at the back one against four during a rare Eyemouth breakaway, but they got numbers back quickly and the chance was snuffed out.

But Alnwick were soon rocked back on their heels after McCall broke down the right wing and fired a cross into the penalty area. No one from Alnwick was there to meet it and the subsequent clearance upfield from Eyemouth fell to Alnwick defender Thomas Forster. His back pass to keeper Jay Graham, as much to give him a touch of the ball as anything after eight minutes of play, hit a divot and agonisingly rolled under Graham’s boot into the net.

Eyemouth, with one win all season, were as jubilant as Alnwick were crestfallen and it took a couple of minutes for the Lions to regroup. Pickard initially looked the most likely to score, shooting on sight at the Eyemouth goal at every opportunity.

In the 12th minute, Scott Dransfield played a lovely through ball to McCall, who poked his shot just wide. The next minute substitute Liam Jefferies set McCall free down the wing. His cross was met by Dransfield forcing the Eyemouth keeper into a good save.

Prompted by Jefferies, the front three of Pickard, Dransfield and McCall were now combining well and the pressure finally told after 15 minutes. Another great through ball from Dransfield set McCall through one-on-one with the Eyemouth keeper. This time McCall made no mistake.

Having finally got a foothold in the match, the Lions pressed on and within two minutes of drawing level, they took the lead. This time, captain Will Sibson found Dransfield on the edge of the box, who fired a shot high into the Eyemouth net.

The second half opened much as the first had ended with wave after wave of Alnwick attacks. With a little more accuracy, Alnwick could have won the game by a cricket score.

Within the first five minutes of the restart, Pickard curled a delightful shot just over the bar as he attempted to chip the Eyemouth keeper. A splendid passing move involving Jefferies, Dranfield and McCall, ended with McCall striking the angle of the crossbar and post.

Pickard poked another shot just wide after Jefferies again played Dransfield through on goal, and McCall saw a sharply in-swinging corner saved on the line direct from his corner kick.

When the goals came, they arrived in quick succession. Jefferies scored twice, both great shots and no more than he deserved. His arrival in the 10th minute had been instrumental in turning the game around with his intelligent distribution of the ball.

Pickard scored the fifth goal when one of his shots finally found the back of the net, fizzing across the goal and in off the far post.

With 10 minutes left to play at this point, Alnwick could have scored several more but the Eyemouth goal led a charmed life and chances came and went. At the other end, Reece Gaines, Jack Clements, Thomas Forster and substitute Callum Robertson dealt calmly with the occasional forays forward by the now well beaten Eyemouth side.

Alnwick Lions: Jay Graham, Reece Gaines, Raphael McCall, Thomas Forster, Jack Clements, Liam Jefferies, Joe Pickard, Scott Dransfield, Will Sibson, Callum Robertson.