Rothbury still with chance of honours

Rothbury U10...4 Wooler U10...3

Glendale League U10 Championship Cup Play-offs

ROTHBURY finished the first Saturday of the Championship Cup play-offs with an excellent chance of reaching the final on May 19.

In their first game they took on Wooler, the team who had finished two places above them in the league and who beat Rothbury 5-2 in December.

Wooler started the better of the two teams and quickly got into their rhythm, three times fashioning shooting opportunities, but Rothbury denied them the goal their play deserved. The first was saved well by Niall Murtagh and the second and third saw Hugh Dennis and Daniel Ewen make well-timed interventions.

At times the first half resembled Barcelona v Chelsea as Rothbury retreated all seven men to the edge of the area to hold off the Wooler attacks. Yet as far as Wooler pushed, their defence became susceptible to Rothbury counter-attacks.

The half finished promisingly for Rothbury as two corners in succession threatened the Wooler goal.

The second half saw Wooler regain the momentum with a very fortuitous opening goal. Receiving the ball in midfield little seemed on but the midfielder’s readiness to shoot from distance paid rich dividends. Three times the ball ricocheted off players before it found its way into the bottom corner of the Rothbury net (0-1).

Yet the goal acted as a catalyst for the Rothbury players. Straight from the centre Hugh Dennis cleverly switched play to Thorsten on the Rothbury left. Jinking left then right Thorsten fashioned a shooting opportunity and was delighted to see his shot squeeze under the Wooler keeper into the net (1-1).

Rothbury now saw a way through and sprang another attack. Gareth Rickaby played the ball into Cameron Austin-Walker who again found Thorsten in a menacing position on the left-hand side.

Thorsten shaped to shoot but was denied by a tackle that upended him. As the Rothbury players and management appealed for a penalty, Wooler kept playing the game. Rothbury’s massed defence was spread-eagled and within a blink of an eye a Wooler forward was stroking the ball home (1-2).

As the Rothbury manager stewed, his players looked to equalise. Cameron broke a tackle and moved the ball to Gareth on the Rothbury right. Cutting inside he shot at goal and the ball flew into the Wooler goal (2-2).

Rothbury were building a head of steam soon grabbed the lead.

Gareth Rickaby moved inside from the right wing but was tackled. The ball fell to Hugh Dennis who again found Thorsten in space on the left.

Thorsten’s shot again eluded the Wooler keeper (3-2). Four minutes left and Wooler redoubled their efforts at goal. A shot was bravely charged down by Alex Kidd and then Daniel Ewen cleared. The resulting corner drifted across the area before being knocked back across for a Wooler forward to finish (3-3).

All square with a minute to go but the game had one last twist.

Gareth Rickaby carried the ball forward in one last attack. Seeing Cameron in space on the edge of the area he knocked the ball into his feet but, before he could turn, he was sent flying by a late tackle from behind. Again Rothbury looked to the referee and this time, he gave the penalty.

Cometh the hour, cometh the Gareth – Rickaby emphatically smashed the ball home for Rothbury to chalk up their first win of their cup campaign (4-3).