The best win of the season for Barham in the Under 18 Plate Competition saw Barham comfortably dispose of their opponents from a higher division who were also a year older. The bit of luck that had been missing from so many games this season happened after just four minutes when a strike from Simpson outside of the area wasn't dealt with by the Swanland keeper who let the ball squirm underneath him and over the line. The confidence of taking a lead in a game was the making of Barham who from that stage never looked in any great trouble.
Swanland were no pushovers however and the well organised back unit of Chambers, Mee and Smith with Jory between the posts handled all that Swanland offered, whilst Barhams midfield of Simpson, Kent, McKenzie controlled the ball going forward supported by wing backs Shimmin and Symes. Jefferson and Rowley dominated the forward line causing constant problems for the Swanland defence.
Just after the midway point of the second half Barham deservedly doubled their lead after a slick through ball from Symes put Rowley through one on one, a calm confident finish put the scoreline 2-0. Swanland worked hard though to get back into the game, however the introduction of Porter and Hardy to change the formation to 4-4-2 would slam the door in Swanlands face for the rest of the half.
So many times the half time break takes the momentum out of the game, particularly for the team with the edge. This saw Swandland make the first couple of attacks before the confident ball work from Barham pinned Swanland back into their own half and after a storming run forward from Porter Hardy was provided with the opportunity to make the score 3-0 with a firm finish into the far corner of the Swanland net. The three goal cushion took all the pressure out of the game for Barham and forced Swanland into a more attacking approach, this only lead to more space for Barham to exploit and that they did with Hardy beating two players skillfully at the byeline enabling him to put the ball on a place for Simpson to slot home Barhams fourth of the day.
Swanland managed to pull a goal back with decent headed goal from a cross from the right, the only real chance the strong Barham defence had allowed Swanland throughout the game.
The best was yet to come however, after a couple of decent set pieces the hard work of McKenzie on Barhams right hand side was rewarded with the perfect setup for Simpson to smash home a superb firm header giving the visiting keeper no chance at all.
Warhurst was introduced for the remaining 20 minutes. The game at this stage had become quite open as Swanland surged forward, although to no avail. Warhurst positioned himself well for a through ball and after beating one man found himself in the perfect position to curl a sweet strike into the top corner of the net. A classy end to a classy Barham performance which sees a Quarter Final tie beckon on 4th January. Somthing to look forward too over Christmas.
Many players could have taken the man of the match accolade, however it was given to Chambers for his steely performance, solid in defence and confident in attacking distribution.