Under18′s let two points slip late

Under18′s let two points slip late

Posted on July 10, 2011 in 'Reports'

WESTERN KNIGHTS v ECU 2 JULY 2011 – By Trevor Chapman

This was another of those games that made a mockery of league standings and proved how little there is between the 12 competitive teams in the U18 league.

Western Knights started off very brightly and played the ball around very confidently.  They played extensively down the two flanks with several players who created early chances for the Knights.  Jakub Vucic (3) had a particularly impressive game for the Knights giving both ECU full backs a torrid day at the office.

However, it was a relatively harmless looking long ball straight down the middle in the 7th minute that led to the games first goal.  Jamie Blue and Liam Chapman both went for the same ball along with the Knights striker, it bounced over all three – and over advancing ECU keeper Ellis Compton – and whilst Chapman made a desperate attempt to head clear, the Knights striker seized on the loose ball to make it 1-0.

By the 10th minute ECU had settled into the game and were taking the game to Western Knights, particularly through the influence of Danny Dixon and Henry Durr down the two flanks.  It was from one of their attacks, and a cross in from the wing, that ECU lost Gareth Hamilton mid way through the first half. Hamilton went up for an aerial challenge, clashed heads with a Knights defender, and had to leave the field of play suffering a little concussion.

ECU found the net in the 42nd minute and once again it was Gonzo Paddon providing the damage in his emergency striking role.  A beautifully flighted free kick in from the left by Dixon saw Paddon outjump all in the box to level the scores with a powerful header.  Shortly after the equaliser, Jamie Blue received a dead leg and whilst he returned at the start of the second half he was clearly uncomfortable. Blue was soon replaced by Zawadi Tshongo, who moved into midfield and Henry Durr moved to play alongside Chapman in the back four.  ECU looked stronger in this new formation and they did most of the attacking in the second half, with the two fast boys up front, Paddon and Liam McGurk, causing all sorts of problems for the Knights defence with Tshongo and Aaron Gordon running the midfield area, ably supported by Alex Davies and Jack Strachan.  However, despite long spells in possession, ECU rarely looked like scoring from open play – as has been the case for most of our season.

However, they have looked very dangerous, and have scored numerous goals from set pieces this season, so it was no real surprise when they went in front from a corner in the 51st minute.  A delightful ball in to the far post from Dixon was perfectly timed by Chapman to score his first headed goal of the season and put ECU in the lead.

The final 30 minutes was played out at a hectic pace but with few chances.  The Knights rallied in the last ten minutes and there was some finger biting amongst ECU fans as the referee played an extra four minutes.  In the final one of those, Liam Chapman made what looked like a harmless interception in the box only for the Knights striker to go tumbling and the referee nervously pointed to the spot.  There was uproar from the ECU supporters given there had been several hard calls against ECU during the game.  Despair turned to joy as Ellis Compton made a superb save from the spot kick but the ECU defence failed to clear the loose ball and the Knights squeezed in an equaliser.

A disappointing end to a game we should have won to keep the pressure on Perth and Floreat.  Hard Luck boys.

TOM DURR QUOTE OF THE WEEK: (shortly after a defensive mix up led to the Knights first goal)

‘Our lads would be better suited to playing in a library – cos none of them ever talk!’