SWINEFLEET FC 2 CROWLE COLTS 0
This local derby between two historical fierce rivals still conjured up the usual fireworks with three yellow cards and two red cards being issued. In fairness to the players though, the brandishing of the cards was probably more down to the interpretation of the rules by an over-zealous referee, rather than the gravity of the challenges.
Swinefleet came quicker out of the blocks, and with Ryan Whitlam down the left proving in the first 10 minutes of the game, that he had the beating of the Crowle right-back, the home side quickly pressed the Crowle defence. The first goal was not long in coming, a marvellous team goal scored after only 14 minutes. The move started with Liam Cooper at right-back playing the ball down the right to Regan Allen. Allen turned the ball inside to Aaron Raymond and Raymond’s first-time touch found the feet of Cohen Vause. Vause played a quick one-two with fellow strike partner Niall Barker, to put himself in the clear and to slide the ball past the advancing Crowle keeper. This quality opening had the South Park crowd out of their seats and on their feet voicing their approval.
Swinefleet looked to add further goals after this opener, and Raymond was unlucky not to score when his shot was cleared off the line on 19 minutes. Four minutes later, a Whitlam corner from the left was met with a powerful header from Raymond to make the score 2-0. With only 29 minutes played, the Crowle skipper was harshly dismissed from the field for an off-the ball incident after an apparent brush of heads with Vause, with even Vause not aware of any contact or intent.
With Crowle now a man short, they resorted to packing their defence and just to try and rely on a counter-attack. On 36 minutes, a free-kick was awarded to the visitors. The curling free-kick required the finger-tips of Jamie Ward to tip the shot onto the bar, and to deny the visitors a life-line.
After the interval, Swinefleet continued to press for the all-important third goal. Niall Barker’s long range effort on 48 minutes just soared over the bar, and a run and cut inside from Vause down the left, should have produced a better finish on 51 minutes. On 54 minutes, Captain Danny Nicholson had a driving run from central midfield beating three Crowle players, but his final shot was blocked by a Crowle defender. Three minutes later, Swinefleet’s Scot Jackson was issued with a straight red card for a tackle after it looked like he was the victim of the challenge. A Swinefleet re-shuffle saw Danny Nicholson going to left-back, and Gareth Welsh moving into to centre-back to resume last season’s Cup Final centre-back partnership alongside Will Sparkes. Barker came back into central midfield alongside Raymond, and so leaving Vause as the lone striker.
With the numbers now evened-up, the game became a more open affair. Crowle pressed forward more, but never really troubled Ward in the Swinefleet goals, with Liam Cooper, Will Sparkes , Gareth Welsh and now emergency left-back Danny Nicholson, quickly getting a solid back-line to deal with their attacks. Swinefleet’s response to these attacks was a strong shot from Regan Allen striking the post on 64 minutes.
With 22 minutes left, Dale Noon was brought on up front for Vause and Archie Stephens on at centre-back, with the versatile Gareth Welsh now being moved for his third position in the match, replacing Cooper at right-back. Five minutes later, the fresh legs of Keir Vause were brought on replacing the energetic Whitlam down the left, and 6 minutes later, good interchange between Noon and Vause should have brought the 16 year-old his first goal of 2013.
This victory for Swinefleet now puts them in second place in the league Table, second only on goal difference to BBM, who have played a game more. The Billy Burns Man of the Match Award went to Regan Allen.
Next week Swinefleet are away to a vastly improved V Scunthonians. All players to meet at Marshlands at 12.30pm.