Vipers slither to victory over Reds

Cramlington Reds U10...1 Longhoughton Vipers U10...2

Northumberland Mini Soccer League, U10 Premier League B

LONGHOUGHTON gained a worthy away victory in a very close, even encounter, against a very good, well-drilled Cramlington Reds team.

This Premier B League match was a great example of the high standard in the NMSL.

Both sides started brightly, with Joe Eggleston driving down well on the left.

Kieran Dover almost broke the deadlock twice with great runs and shots that were blocked, and Luke McMeeking’s follow-ups were just off-target. Chris Case in goal produced excellent handling and kept the opposition at bay.

Both sides concentrated on passing and moving with the ball and this made for an entertaining game, coupled with strong defensive play. Iwan Read produced an outstanding performance at the back, showing perfectly measured skill and strength as he snuffed out everything that came his way.

Scott Dransfield was producing some of his best block-tackling of the season as he often broke up play before setting up quick counter-attacks.

The opposition were quick to close down Longhoughton which made for a fast-paced game.

Case produced two great saves, showing good agility and reading of the game.

Aidan McDougall produced a good strike on target after creating space in a tight box, Dover’s probing down the flank was producing results and a great cross narrowly missed a Longhoughton boot as the first half ended 0-0.

Eggleston’s long-range free-kick was just pushed over the bar by their excellent keeper, while Aidan Love was now exerting his presence on the left flank as he produced not only crosses but clever lay-offs.

The game was evenly poised then Cramlington broke free and took the lead with a well-worked team goal (1-0). Longhoughton took this setback in their stride today and carried on passing and probing.

On 18 minutes, they got their reward when the excellent Dover went on a run on the wing before cutting in towards the by-line, he produced a perfect cross, that Joshua McMeeking controlled and hit into the roof of the net (1-1).

Both sides kept pushing in an exciting finale to see who could get the winner, which at that point could have gone to either side. Dransfield, Read, and McDougall provided perfectly-timed tackles to keep a skilful Cramlington out of the danger zones.

Then on 22 minutes, Eggleston picked up the ball on the halfway line, drove forward and hit a magnificent shot which the keeper did well to stop at full stretch, however, the power of the shot carried it into the goal (1-2).

Longhoughton held on to win a pulsating match.

Man-of-the-match: Iwan Read

In their first season in this league, Longhoughton have successfully gained a top 10 ranking, which has resulted in them being placed in the second tier of a six league U10 age group, which is an excellent achievement considering the quality of the teams they have come up against.