SWINEFLEET FC 2 BOTTESFORD TOWN RES 1
This Centurion Cup last 16 tie was never as close as the score-line suggests, despite Swinefleet being a goal behind early in the second half.
Strong possession football from Swinefleet throughout the first half had keeper Jamie Ward virtually a spectator with not a single first half save from him being required. But quite amazingly, for all Swinefleet’s first half dominance, the game entered half-time at 0-0.
There was plenty of goal threatening action from Swinefleet in this first half. Swinefleet’s Cohen Vause hitting a post on 13 minutes, and his co-striker Niall Barker having a powerful shot well held by the Bottesford keeper on 17 minutes. On 22 minutes, Danny Nicholson played Ryan Whitlam in on the left, and a quick interchange with Vause, saw Whitlam put in a dangerous cross from the left that just eluded Keir Vause steaming in from the right flank. From a 28th minute corner from Barker, centre-half Will Sparkes had a header hacked off the line by a Bottesford defender, and fellow centre-back Gareth Welsh was also in on the action by just blazing over the bar from a C. Vause corner on 33 minutes.
Swinefleet were in complete control with central midfielders Aaron Raymond and Regan Allen dictating the play and feeding the surging runs from full-back Liam Cooper on the right, and Danny Nicholson on the left. But, football is ultimately is about putting the ball in the net, and despite all the possession Swinefleet drew a first half blank.
The second half started poorly for the home side, as they went behind to headed goal from a Bottesford corner on 49 minutes. Suddenly, things didn’t look as clear cut for the Centurion Cup holders, and reality set in that they would have to play a lot better and be more clinical to claw themselves back into this game. Two genuine strong claims for handball in the penalty area on 53 and 58 minutes from Swinefleet were waived away by referee Andy Brown, and still Swinefleet could not get a breakthrough. On 61 minutes with Swinefleet still trailing behind, Jackson and Nicholls were brought on to try and reverse the deficit, Allen and K.Vause making way. A deep left foot cross from Nicholls on 65 minutes gave C. Vause a great opportunity to score from only 5 yards out, but Swinefleet’s top scorer put his effort the wrong side of the post.
On 68 minutes, Swinefleet finally scored with Aaron Raymond heading home at the near-post from a Niall Barker corner. Swinefleet then pressed for the winner, and brought Dale Noon on up front for the last 20 minutes replacing Whitlam, with Barker dropping back to the right flank. A great run and strike from Barker on 73 minutes cutting in from the right produced a good save from the visitor’s keeper, and on 76 minutes, yet another penalty appeal for Swinefleet for handball was again turned down.
Then with just 9 minutes remaining, a challenge on C. Vause in the Bottesford penalty area saw Vause fall to the ground, and Swinefleet were awarded a rather gratuitous penalty decision. Up stepped Swinefleet’s nominated penalty taker, Aaron Raymond, to place the ball wide of the keeper and into the net.
This result now puts them into next week’s Centurion Cup Quarter Final tough encounter away at Epworth Town for arguably their most difficult match of the season so far. All players to meet at Marshlands at 12.00pm. This week’s Man of the Match went to captain Danny Nicholson.