Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Magpies swoop to dash hopes of cup glory

ROTHERFIELD United Rebels, undefeated since November went into the BYDL U12s cup finals with high hopes.

ROTHERFIELD United Rebels, undefeated since November went into the BYDL U12s cup finals with high hopes.

The cup final was played at the grounds of Tadley Calleva FC on a pitch some 25 metres shorter and 15 metres narrower than the teams are used to playing on.

Rotherfield had a big squad, with four subs, while Maidenhead were using only the one sub which helps with continuity during a game.

Equally impressive was the strong Rotherfield support, many fans sporting black and yellow colours.

Both teams were led out on to the pitch by the referee and linesmen to fabulous support from the sidelines.

Rotherfield like to keep the ball down, and play a strong passing game, whereas Maidenhead have a lot of physical height and strength in central midfield and up front, so tend to play the ball over the top and run on to it, and this day was no different. After 15 minutes, Maidenhead took a shot which was stopped by keeper Max Hanshaw, but not secured, and in a similar fashion to Arsenal’s goal against Reading in the FA Cup semi– final, the ball rolled towards the line, being pulled back by Hanshaw.

The referee looked to the linesman for his opinion, and despite being nowhere near, the linesman controversially gave the goal, despite many who had been standing by the goal adamant that the ball did not cross the line.

The first half continued fairly evenly with perhaps Maidenhead shading the play, until with 20 seconds left Rowan Prince in an incredible run through the centre sent the ball onto the right wing to find Charlie Wagstaff who chipped the keeper to level the score.

The second half started with Rotherfield being the dominant team, but – yet  Maidenhead were still  dangerous with their over–the–top plays.

Maidenhead were tiring, and were not getting back after their attacks, but the Rotherfield defenders were slow to push them back up the pitch.

That meant that when the ball was hoofed back over by the Maidenhead defence, the majority of the midfield were still at the Rotherfield end.

With a small error being made about which way to turn by the Rotherfield defence, Maidenhead were able to play the ball wide and managed to take the lead with an excellent strike on goal.

With five minutes left to play, Rotherfield had to go all out to equalise, so left only two in defence pushing the majority forward.

Unfortunately the gamble failed to pay off and a mis–kick allowed Maidenhead to break through the Rotherfield ranks and put victory out of reach for this year.

Man of the match was Rowan Prince after a truly stupendous effort.

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