Longhoughton Rangers Vipers...8 Blyth Rangers...0
NMSL U10 DIVISION M
LONGHOUGHTON Rangers U10 Vipers hosted Blyth Rangers in their NMSL Division M rescheduled fixture, played on October 1 at Westfield Park.
Warmer weather than forecast for the day meant that both teams would need plenty of fluid to keep energy levels high.
Both teams with Sunday fixtures to also play against quality opposition in this highly competitive league.
Blyth Rangers started the game very determined to stop Longhoughton’s pass and move designs and their close-down play by outfield players and individual goalkeeping heroics by their man-of-the-match Aidan Wright in the Blyth goal, made it difficult work for the home side.
Aidan Wright proving to be another excellent Northumberland youth keeper on show in the NMSL, fearless throughout stopped any ranged efforts and several near post blasts by the Vipers, which wingers Kieran Dover and Joe Eggleston unleashed several testers in the first 10 minutes.
It was later on that the Vipers Aidan Love on several individual runs, also equally tested the Blyth Keeper with left footed efforts, which he kept at bay.
At first the Blyth defence looked like it would hold against the tide of play, but Longhoughton’s Scott Dransfield who was the opposition’s man-of-the-match was the ringmaster in superb club form, he held a pivotal central midfield position and selflessly linked the play up to maintain pressure on Blyth Rangers’ hard-working midfielders and defence.
The Vipers countered any Blyth breakout down the wings with good positioning and blocking play from utility player Daniel Osborne and winger Joshua McMeeking in recovery runs and both players reading the danger well.
The Vipers goalie Christopher Case dealt with Blyth’s on target shots and in general the excellent link-up play from the full-backs in Iwan Read and Warren Davison mixed up the delivery of the ball, providing some quality ranged shots on target and the occasional long-ball tactics to further pressurise Blyth.
These backs playing their best football today were clever in switching the play from both wings quickly to keep Blyth on their toes and moving to repel some excellent football being played overall by the home side.
Blyth’s early resilience couldn’t stop the determination of the Vipers and Kieran Dover broke through the Blyth Keepers ‘Stand To’ with a slotted ball through a packed defence area after 12 minutes and then it was the turn of captain Luke McMeeking to pounce on two balls in the Gary Lineker area of the box and score two goals in the space of two minutes, a period of play where Blyth’s defence struggled to cope with the quick ball in from several of the now free roaming Vipers playmakers.
After some drifting out of dominance, Joshua McMeeking jumped on to a loose ball in the Blyth final third to go 4-0 up before the break.
Blyth continued to battle and forced Longhoughton into conceding several free-kicks in the first half, which went wide from the takers but reminded the home side to stay tight on the Blyth players whilst in possession.
The second half with an unusual formation from Longhoughton saw instant success as the impressive Dransfield opened his scoring account against a stunned Blyth after just one minute.
But then Blyth’s energy levels increased and they came back into the game disrupting the Vipers’ shape and winning a fair share of the ball in the midfield, but it was proving difficult for the away side to break through and provide a quality final ball to their strikeforce.
Dransfield constantly in the right place, was to score another well-taken low strike at 35 minutes and complete a deserved hat-trick at 42 minutes with a quick movement of feet and fine finish to the roof of the net.
Eggleston showing his continued versatility covering goal and Dover passing and crossing well from the wings impressed also, some link up with Case and Read playing in rare forward re-positioning saw some good efforts fired in against the Blyth keeper.
Joshua McMeeking was to get his stretched toe on an Dransfield goalbound blast to make the final goal in a well contested match, but where the Longhoughton Vipers proving to have the extra quality against a Blyth team of battlers.