Campion AFC Dev vs Newsome FC
Date: 27th February 2016
Venue: AA Van Hire Stadium
Referee: Mr. Neil Coupe
Man of the Match: Jaden Powell
Garry Tyson (c)
Ben Kendall (on for Etienne)
James Wright (on for Haley)
Luke Sharp (on for Sides)
Rollercoaster ride in potential title fight!
Hopefully on the other side of a bad weather patch it was a relief that Campion were once again able to get in the swing of weekly competition.
The opponents welcomed to the AA Van Hire Stadium were Newsome FC, newly promoted and yet sitting top of the division following an impressive season.
Campion retained the 4-3-1-2 formation which had served them well this season with a clear instruction to attack the opposition and impose themselves on the visitors. The team was unchanged from the last game with back five of Renardson, Davidson, Powell, Tyson and Haley who achieved a clean sheet last time out. Etienne, Sides and Barlow carried on in midfield with Hellewell just behind a front two of Ludford and Bentham.
From the off the game started quickly with Newsome pushing forward with menace. But Campion gave as good as they got, getting the ball forward to a constantly running Bentham. The back and forth nature was disrupted however as Josh Ludford opened the scoring with a good finish low past the goalkeeper.
It seemed to settle the home side as they got the ball down and begin to play with more confidence through the midfield.
Newsome continued to push forward and piled the pressure on the home side. Jaden Powell playing like a man possessed, as he prevented through balls with athleticism and wonderful control, constantly thwarting the oncoming attacks.
It was when a man got the wrong side of Powell that he was perhaps a little lucky to only receive a yellow card when he pushed over the attacker potentially preventing a goal scoring opportunity.
As the away side begged for a red card a fracas ensued as Garry Tyson was pushed showing the high stakes and emotion running through both sides.
From the resulting free kick, it was goalkeeper Karl Renardsons athleticism that was tested as he made a fantastic save to deflect the ball wide.
Dead balls seemed the best chance Newsome had of scoring but further good saves by Renardson and a bit of luck in the penalty area ensured the deficit remained at a goal.
Just a few minutes later Ludford doubled the lead as Tom Bentham broke and unselfishly squared the ball to Ludford who took a touch and then somewhat fortunately deflected a shot past the helpless goalkeeper.
The defence continued to keep it tight until half time, Powell continuing to impress, albeit skating a little close to a second yellow card as he put his body on the line.
The half time team talk highlighted the importance of the first ten minutes of the second half as it was clear that the opposition was going to come out fighting. And not only did the home side stand strong, but a break from Tom Bentham and smart finish with the outside of his boot put Campion 3-0 ahead.
In an attempt to ensure Newsome weren’t causing too many problems wide, Campion manager Mark Palfreeman changed to a 4-4-2 formation moving Graeme Sides and Tom Bentham out wide, hoping the two banks of four would be harder to break down.
Within ten minutes of the change a Newsome striker had controlled the ball just inside the area and swivelled and struck past an unsighted Renardson in goal.
It was the catalyst for Palfreeman to introduce Ben Kendall for Louis Etienne, hoping the defensive presence of the midfielder would again make the team harder to break down.
But Newsome kept attacking, pushing forward in number. Striker Josh Ludford tracked his man as far back as the edge of his own penalty area, but a clumsy challenge bundled over his opponent. From the resulting free kick the ball was headed into the top right hand side of the goal and suddenly the come back was on!
With Newsome in the ascendancy it as all hands to the defensive pump as the ball was scrambled from the goalmouth and few attacking opportunities at the opposite end. A corner was won by the visitors which was initially cleared but without getting out to the man fast enough they crossed the ball once more and headed in an unlikely equaliser.
As if there hadn’t been enough drama and twists in the game. The home side now began to show a threat with Josh Ludford being felled by a defender on the corner of the penalty area. The usually unflappable Chris Hellewell couldn’t convert the resulting penalty, hitting it without venom and not far enough away from the goalkeepers grasp.
Fate seemed to be on Campion’s side as a reckless tackle from the dreadlocked Newsome central midfielder was deemed two footed and dangerous by the referee who was quick to dismiss him.
But with ten men Newsome were still in the driving seat and the one man deficit only seemed to affect Campion’s shape further. It was inevitable then that a fourth goal came, and as it fired past Renardson the home side were left wondering how they could have conceded such a lead.
With twenty minutes remaining Campion tried to get an equaliser but Newsome defended well and in truth Campion looked as if they had been knocked down by the comeback. It was certainly a set back on their title aspirations and a body blow to a side which had been in high spirits. But certainly some important lessons had been learnt.