Launton Boys Athletic made it eight goals without reply for the season to date after a 3-0 win in a game in which they were rarely troubled. Athletic showed total control and had plenty left in the tank, and the score line could have been considerably higher.
In the opening minute Mortimer found Davies on the wing who went on a surging run and produced a cross which found Barrett whose shot was saved by the keeper into the path of the oncoming Gough, who’s shot thundered into the side netting. Shortly after Babington picked the ball up and hit an attempt from distance, but once again the opposition keeper was well positioned to make the save.
Barrett led the pressing from the front and forced an error from a goal kick. Quick feet enabled him to skip round two defenders before sliding the ball to Lucas-Howells whose shot whistled past the bar.
The next few minutes saw the opposition make their first break, but Burrows read the danger and made an interception before releasing Barrett down the inside left channel who drew the defender and won a corner. Davies delivered the corner and Mortimer met it well, but the header went wide.
A quiet spell followed, the Athletic defence withstanding any attempts to break through. Burrows again intercepted, to prevent a one on one, and Mortimer produced a fine tackle to prevent a cross. McLeese brilliantly intercepted a long ball and produced a fine pass of his own through to Barrett, who turned one defender and rolled the ball in to the path of Davies who hit the target but without his usual power allowing the goalkeeper to make a save. A minute later the same combination saw Barrett once again playing in Davies who this time cut back on his left, but couldn’t get any purchase on the shot.
Athletic were on the front foot, and Lucas-Howells fired a fierce shot at towards the top of the goal but somehow the keeper tipped it over. The resulting corner saw the ball fall to Lucas-Howells who produced a cross which Barrett met on the volley but the ball narrowly missed. The goal was coming.
Mortimer found Gough, who managed to beat one defender and send the ball into the middle, where Barrett was positioned to stab the ball in from close range. Athletic were one up. A true poachers goal and Barrett wont score many easier.
Not long after Burrows threaded the ball to Gough. His strength, pace and determination saw him glide past the defender only to be scythed down just outside the area. Babington placed the free kick, and struck a pearler. The ball looped over the keeper and ripped into the net. A cracking finish.
The closing minute of the half saw the opposition counter, but the inevitable presence of the Athletic defence ensured there was no danger. A combination of Mortimer and Burrows ushered the play wide and the defensive tackle won a goal kick allowing Athletic to clear the lines ahead of the half time whistle.
The opening passage of the second half was a little scrappy, and the opposition broke. A dangerous counter was nullified as McLeese was assured and broke down the attack with a great tackle. Babington found Gough who surged through but just overran the ball as he prepared to shoot. Lazarus came on to replace Davies and was immediately involved as he passed to Barrett. Barrett took two defenders out with some great footwork and slid the ball to Babington who was pulled back inside the area. No penalty was the decision, which appeared a little harsh.
Barrett again found himself in possession and with no immediate support drove forward, beating all before a snap shot was saved and pushed for a corner. The ball came over and Gough met it, but the header was straight at the keeper. Blake come on to replace McLeese.
A weak opposition goal kick was picked up by Babington who shot from range, but the keeper saw it all the way. The goal kick was met in defence by a superb header from Mortimer, Barrett turned and hit the ball on the half volley, but hit the side netting following a deflection. Lucas-Howells delivered another great ball, the keeper pushed it and Mortimer met the ball with his head and struck the post. It’s only a matter of time before he gets the reward for some great heading at set pieces.
Sperrin was introduced for Burrows before Barrett pressed the defence and continued to pull the strings up top. A one two with Lazarus and a ball through to Babington saw Babington taken down. The free kick was given just outside the area, but the foul appeared to be inside. Lucas-Howells stuck the free kick which the keeper brilliantly pushed over. So close. Lucas-Howells produced a fine corner and Gough rose to meet it and superbly steered it into the net. Two games, two headed goals. An unplayable aerial threat at every set piece.
Athletic saw the game out in fine style and just before the end the ball broke and Mortimer’s eyes lit up as he struck the ball from range. A sweet strike but the ball sailed over the bar.
The whistle blew and the Athletic boys celebrated another win and another clean sheet. With energy and effort to spare, the first two games have shown that they will be a difficult match for all.