Salts FC vs Campion AFC Dev
Date: 19th December 2015
Venue: Salts FC
Man of the Match: Aaron Metcalfe
Campion rub salt in the wounds
After a four week hiatus it had felt as if Campion AFC had enjoyed their own early winter break. But finally the rain let up and the mild December and excellent new Salts pitch meant that the District Cup Quarter Final could be played.
Both teams went into the game knowing that a win would give them an opportunity of facing their own club later in the competition adding a significant spice to the game. Salts FC may have been their third side, plying their trade in the Craven League, but they had disposed of Premier Division side Hunsworth FC in the last round with an 8-0 win and couldn’t be taken lightly.
With both teams ready to get going, a call from the referee indicating he was passing Peel Park meant kick off was delayed for twenty minutes and the sides could only watch on as Salts Reserve side played against Fields First Team in one of the other quarter finals.
When the referee finally arrived it was Campion looked like the better side in possession from the off. Setting up with a 4-3-1-2 formation, Usman Hussain was getting space and driving forward effectively from the number ten role. But such forays were underpinned by a failure to convert and Salts made the game more even as their full backs pushed forward and exposed a lack of width in the Campion formation. The home side had chances, with a blazing effort from Jermaine Ramsden flashed past the post after the ball had been duly cleared from a corner kick.
Twenty minutes into the game midfielder Damien Hields got a knock on his knee forcing him to be withdrawn and his replacement Tom Bentham ushered a change in formation as manager Palfreeman tried to address the lack of width by adapting to a 4-4-2 formation.
If anything the change had a detrimental effect as the three man Salts midfield were getting more time and space and the home side looked the more likely to score.
Indeed they were only a posts width away as an effort from the edge of the area curled towards the corner of the Campion goal only to strike back off the post.
At half time the game was interestingly poised and could genuinely have gone either way. Once again Campion changed their formation, moving to a 4-3-3 and matching the home side as questions were raised as to just how many systems Palfreeman could employ in a single match!
It did however seem to have the desired effect as the sides looked better matched. But the game could still have gone either way until a good Campion corner floated to the back post where the defender couldn’t move out of the way before deflecting the ball into the goal.
It settled the away side down a little and the formation was exposing Salts in the full back areas as both Bentham and Ludford had joy beating their men but couldn’t capitalise until Ludford’s snap shot with his left was buried into the bottom right hand corner of the goal.
Although now in the driving seat, there was to be one final twist in the game. A delayed shot from Sadio Barry on the edge of the area led to a Salts defender blocking and Barry falling awkwardly on his shoulder. On closer inspection Barry had dislocated his shoulder and had to be escorted to Bradford Royal Infirmary and for the final ten minutes of the game the away side were forced to play with ten men.
Before they could re-organise a Salts attacker broke free and slotted a ball home into an open goal to give a glimmer of hope to the home side.
But once they got their shape back, Campion put the game to bed as Ludford got free again and hit the ball under the goalkeeper to re-assert the two goal deficit.
Having settled again and with confidence restored Campion ended the game as the much better side, keeping the ball and running their opposition markers when possible. As the light dimmed it was Campion who came away winners in a game that had been much closer than it perhaps should have been.