COLLEGE WANDERERS 0 SWINEFLEET FC 2
A very impressive performance from Swinefleet gaining three League points away from home against the reigning League champions. This was well deserved by Swinefleet who put in a combatant display on a poor playing surface, with the home side having no complaints over the end result.
The quick closing down by the Swinefleet midfield of Regan Allen, Scot Jackson and Aaron Raymond and the energy and wing play down the left of Ryan Whitlam, nullified the threat of the College midfield, particularly that of the influential ex- Scunthorpe Utd player Wayne Graves, who was pressurised all the time by either Jackson or Raymond.
A Niall Barker corner-kick on 11 minutes was headed against the College cross-bar by Raymond with the appeals from the Swinefleet players that the ball had crossed the line waived away. Video footage later indicated the referee Andy Brown, was correct. Four minutes later, a penalty appeal for Swinefleet for a foul on Cohen Vause resulted in only a free-kick on the edge of the area, and only a yellow card for the College last man defender. Quick thinking from Barker saw him gain permission from the referee to take the free-kick, and he placed the ball into the bottom corner of the net, as the College defence were still trying to put together their wall.
Swinefleet really turned on the screw after this opening goal with Vause inches wide with a side flick on 19 minutes after a cross from Raymond, Whitlam forcing a good save form the College keeper on 23 minutes, and a Will Sparkes header on 30 minutes just inches over. College were rarely able to make any inroads against a resolute Swinefleet defence, although keeper Aaron Lumley on 34 minutes had to dive down to his left and produce a strong left hand to prevent the goal-bound shot from giving them an undeserved equaliser on 34 minutes.
Immediately after the interval, College came out with some real purpose to try and get back into the match, and with tackles flying in on a poor playing surface, tempers became a little fraught. Seven minutes into the half, a tackle from Swinefleet’s talented Scot Jackson put the College midfielder into a heap on the floor, and the Swinefleet player was lucky to escape with just a yellow card. To show team unity, a tackle from Aaron Raymond resulted in him following his central midfield partner into the book three minutes later.
As a protective measure, Jackson was brought off on 56 minutes with Chris Barker coming on at left back and Danny Nicholson moving from left back into central midfield. Swinefleet resumed to playing football again, and with Whitlam giving the College right-back a torrid time down the left, the visitors looked to extend their lead. The second goal came on 62 minutes. Gareth Welsh played the ball from defence into the feet of Vause and Vause passed the ball backwards into the path of Danny Nicholson. The Swinefleet captain’s run down the left took him into the penalty area, and his pass across the goal was met at the far-post by the incoming Barker for him to score from close range for his second of the match.
Swinefleet brought on youngster Keir Vause on 66 minutes and the experienced Dale Noon on 70 minutes, to bring fresh legs onto a very heavy pitch. For the last 15 minutes, College did mount a series of attacks, but found the Swinefleet back four of Liam Cooper, Will Sparkes, Gareth Welsh and Chris Barker in outstanding form, with none of their shots from the home side troubling Aaron Lumley in the nets.
Man of the Match was awarded to the energetic Ryan Whitlam, closely followed by Niall Barker and Aaron Raymond. Another tough League game again next week against an in-form Limestone Rangers, at South Park. All players to meet at Park at 1.00pm.