Copley United FC vs Campion AFC Dev
Date: 03rd October 2015
Venue: Shroggs Park
Man of the Match: Jaden Powell
First Round Negotiated Successfully
The County Cup is probably the closest you can get to an adventurous tie in Amateur football. An away tie can take you anywhere in Yorkshire against sides you know nothing about due to them playing in completely separate leagues.
Copley United are a Halifax League Premier Division side based in the leafy surroundings of Shroggs Park, a ground which would not have been unfamiliar to those who’ve played against Halifax Irish Reserves who previously used it as their base.
But familiarity didn’t help the players circumvent a traffic headache arrive at the ground only 30 minutes before kick off. A rushed warm up and team talk was quickly followed by a mad dash to the changing rooms to get shirts before the players processed on to the pitch.
Lacking wide players and anyone comfortable on the left, a 4-3-3 formation was deployed in a switch from Palfreeman’s overly defensive set up the week before.
It was a stuttering start for Campion, with poor touches and wayward passing as the side couldn’t settle into their game. It was in fact a scrappy start from both sides as the home side probed. As is often the case in such a game, the opener inevitably came through a mistake. The ball was too easily lost up the park and in only a couple of passes the wide midfielder had got the wrong side of Kristan Gordon and managed to chip the ball over Karl Renardson.
In the minutes that followed Campion looked to struggle to get to grips with the formation and Copley were perhaps the better side. A strong deflection from their number 7 fired over Renardson and hit the cross bar before a smart save from the keeper stopped the home side capitalising from the rebound.
The response from Campion was a good one and the touches and passing gradually improved. Cam Green was managing to exploit the left back when he got at the man, and driving into the area pulled the ball back to no avail.
But with the ball at his feet, Chris Hellewell used his strength and experience to keep the ball and entice a defender into a reckless challenge in the area. The subsequent penalty was duly slotted home calmly be Hellewell to the goalkeepers’ right.
Just twenty minutes later, it was Josh Ludford who was successfully driving at the right back on multiple occasions who got into the area and got an extra yard before he was felled. Again it was Hellewell who stepped up and again it was despatched calmly, albeit this time to the keepers left.
Copley were never out of the game and hit the woodwork on two more occasions, the second one requiring a last ditch clearance from the defence. But Campion had their share too. A clever slide rule pass from Ben Cheetham put through Chris Hellewell who slided it past the goalkeeper only for it to clip the post and be hurriedly cleared by the defender.
Hellewell also found himself in the area alone and had to wait for a dropping ball before a diminutive diving goalkeeper smartly saved his volley.
Copley converted one of their chances when a corner came out to the right hand side where the cross couldn’t be prevented and it was met by a header that looped into the right hand side of the Campion goal.
Barely five minutes had passed before Campion responded with a corner allowing Jaden Powell forward. His initial header was saved, but his follow up nestled in the goal and meant the side went into half time 3-2 up.
After a stern talk at half time and taking stock of the formation Campion looked much more comfortable in the second half. With that came confidence and even Kristan Gordon was performing some outrageous and frankly unbelievable skills to beat his man. In fact it was from that foray by Kristan that led to an important fourth goal as some good football found the ball at Cam Green’s feet to the left of the goal and his shot was sharply deflected off the defender’s left testicle to not only affect his parenting possibilities but to also give Campion a two goal cushion.
Campion were gradually taking a foothold as their opponents tired and the confidence in both the performance and the formation grew. But with thirty minutes remaining a tactical change was made to shore things up and ensure the home side couldn’t get back into the game. Luke Sharp replaced Ben Cheetham and the side moved to a 4-4-2 formation. Making an immediate impact, it wasn’t long before Sharp found himself through on goal only to blaze it over with his left foot.
Josh Ludford was at his athletic best and was clearly causing problems with his pace as he accelerated away from defenders with ease, and it was that which led to the logic for the final change.
To make it hard to play through the side, Damien Hields replaced Chris Hellewell moving into the centre of the park to add solidity and close the game down.