Campion AFC Dev vs Ealandians FC
Date: 2nd January 2016
Venue: AA Van Hire Stadium
Referee: John Day
Campion development squad hit for six
For Campion aficionados, waiting for the 3rd Round of the County Challenge Cup had been a long process. Today was the third time of asking as bad weather had put pay to previous attempts to host the game against Halifax based Ealandians FC.
And even today there was an element of surprise as the rain had once again been torrential overnight leaving a surface that would undoubtedly cut up but was playable due to the long grass.
Playing only two days into 2016 brought with it a couple of problems as captain fantastic Carl Trennery had gone AWOL and not been seen all year and stand-in centre back Paul Davidson had to bow out at the last minute due to personal problems. Youngster Cam Green opted to help out the team and started at centre back next to match day captain Jaden Powell. Either side of them Macauley Haley deputised at left back and Kristan Gordon, sporting a black eye from New Years Eve continued in his right back spot.
The midfield was unchanged from the District Cup win against Salts FC and Tom Bentham slotted in for Chris Hellewell up front and what had become a preferred 4-3-1-2 formation.
In the opening half hour Campion uncharacteristically started quickly, pressing high, forcing the opposition into mistakes and looking much more comfortable. The Ealandians defence looked all at sea as Tom Bentham broke free but hit his shot directly at the goalkeeper who saved with his feet.
Eventually the home side capitalised as a ball fell kindly in the penalty area to Usman Hussain who struck it firmly passed the Ealandians keeper.
A goal ahead, the pressure continued and Hussain, Ludford and Bentham all spurned opportunities to further the advantage.
With chances missed, the final third of the half saw the away side adapt to the conditions and opposition formation and begin to take advantage of the lack of width of the home side. Inevitably it ended in an equaliser as again the ball fell kindly in the area.
The body blow was 30 seconds before half time. With the home side looking for the half time whistle to address the lack of width there was a body blow as a shot was deflected off Sadio Barry and cruelly looped over helpless and frustrated goalkeeper Karl Renardson.
The second half saw a change in personnel and shape to the home side as Cam Green looked to move into a preferred position. Aaron Metcalfe put his team first and kindly offered to do a job at centre back under the circumstances. Looking to get back into the game Campion switched to a 4-3-3 formation with Barry protecting Hussain and Bentham while Ludford, Hellewell and Green looked to put pressure on the visitors defence.
As if the goal before half time wasn’t enough to knock the stuffing out of the home side then a goal within five minutes of the second half certainly did. With a two goal deficit the home side were no longer playing with the speed and confidence they had done in the opening half hour. The level of performance had dropped across the park along with the work rate as passes went astray and the side lost its shape. The visitors capitalised, moving the ball around nicely and playing some nice football. Struggling to get the ball, Campion were no longer a threat going forward with the odd exception of Cam Green using his pace and power down the right hand side.
But such forays were all too often as Ealandians dominated the ball and in the face of little opposition looked the much better outfit.
Inevitably goals followed and the away side were much more clinical with their opportunities. The good football fostered chances and Campion were given six of the best with a frustratingly small amount of opposition.