Cramlington Town U9...4 Longhoughton U9...2
Northumberland Mini Soccer League U9
LONGHOUGHTON’S promising start ended in disappointing defeat to a Cramlington side that defended well and took their chances with alacrity.
Yet such was the way that Longhoughton sprinted out of the starting blocks, one would have initially thought that the result would been a foregone conclusion.
Cramlington were unable to get a foothold in the opening stages of this league match as a Longhoughton whirlwind start saw Lewis Fairbairn open the scoring for Longhoughton.
Longhoughton quickly pressed for a second.
A strong run by Alex Threlfall down the left flank bypassed the Cramlington defence and he guided the ball across the diving keeper into the right-hand corner of the net for Longhoughton’s second goal of the match.
Chances kept falling for Longhoughton and the first quarter finished with Lewis Fairbairn shooting narrowly wide and Thorsten Robinson making anguished appeals to the heavens as his delicate attempt to chip the Cramlington keeper went just over the bar.
The second quarter saw Longhoughton continue to press but they were now meeting a Cramlington defence that were more resolute.
In this quarter Cramlington were prepared to defend deeper in their half and the space this created meant they had more of the pitch to spring swift counters.
In one such rapier riposte two calmly struck passes found Cramlington in the Longhoughton penalty area.
Longhoughton tried to clear but the ball fell to a Town forward and the ball was passed into the Longhoughton net.
Before Longhoughton could feel aggrieved that Cramlington had scored with their only shot on the goal, Cramlington equalised with their second shot.
A Cramlington corner fell to a Town player just outside the box and his instant half-volley rose into the top of the Longhoughton net.
Longhoughton’s initial momentum was beginning to peter out as, despite promising positions, they could not find the finishing that had come so easy in the opening ten minutes.
Joe Archbold resembled Manchester United centre-back Phil Jones as he charged from defence but his buccaneering run was halted just before he could deliver his shot at goal.
Scott Button worked hard in the Longhoughton midfield but his perceptive pass to Sam Dover saw a last-minute tackle avert the Longhoughton opportunity.
Despite lots of pressure it was Cramlington who took the lead.
Three passes saw the ball at the edge of the Longhoughton box and the Town striker shaped to shoot left but instead slid the ball home into the right-hand corner of the Longhoughton net.
Longhoughton pressed for the equaliser and defender Jack Brooks impressively jinked past four Town players on the edge of the box before his shot was charged down.
Equally, Longhoughton forward Zac Stephenson’s snap-shot was well blocked by strong defending.
However with Longhoughton pressing forward a Cramlington crossfield pass was unable to be cleared on the slippery surface.
A Cramlington forward shot from distance on the angle and, although keeper Niall Murtagh got a hand to the greasy ball, the ball reared up and into the roof of the net.
With that goal, the game was up for Longhoughton.
A Lewis Fairbairn free-kick was fielded well by the Cramlington keeper and Thorsten Robinson hit the Cramlington post after good work by winger Gareth Rickaby.
Yet Cramlington’s two-goal lead made them content to hit Longhoughton on the counter-attack and three further opportunities were well saved by Longhoughton keeper Niall Murtagh.
Longhoughton had valiantly tried to storm the Cramlington citadel but, at the end of the game, it was Cramlington Town who held the keys to victory.