Victory for Bottesford Under 16s in the Notts Youth League
Bottesford Under 16s moved up into fourth spot in Division Four of the Notts Youth League with a one-goal success at Priory Celtic on Saturday
The team had travelled to Kimberley following a short break from league matches and hoping a series of friendlies against higher-ranked sides would pay dividends.
The pitch was long and narrow and, while flat, the surface would have benefited from a good trim and the long grass would inevitably make it very difficult for either team to string passes together.
Priory Celtic set up with a high back line and certainly had plenty of the ball at the outset.
Bottesford coped well with the pressure while the team figured a game plan on a challenging playing surface.
With clear cut chances few and far between, it was the home side who latched onto a central through ball with their striker forcing the chasing Mylo Richardson into a last ditch sliding tackle.
The tall centre-half timed the intervention well, slowing the attack and getting enough of the ball to allow Bottesford's goalkeeper Will Thornton to close the striker down.
The keeper looked beaten as the player rounded him on the edge of the box, only for Thornton’s outstretched body to bravely dive to his left at the opponent’s feet, confidently grasping the ball cleanly in both hands, thwarting what would be the best chance of the half.
After enduring a period of pressure, Bottesford‘s confidence grew and they managed to force their first corner.
A Riley Dickinson in-swinger found the head of the leaping Richardson and the ball fell into the path of team captain Josh Harris who didn't need asking twice to firmly strike home and take the away side into a one goal half-time lead.
The only other notable first-half chance saw Dickinson blaze wide of the left upright after showing electrifying pace.
Bottesford looked organised and upbeat at the back, a rejuvenated Jacob Morgan epitomised that, the skilful right back leaping up over an attacker to compete aerially, heading the ball assuringly back upfield.
Equally, Jack Duffin on the left side of a back three offered further discipline and solidarity.
Unfortunately Duffin’s morning was ended due to an ongoing leg injury, which saw Harry Baxter revert to full-back after injecting his typical high energy to the midfield.
Baxter was another who was only just passed fit to play but typically showed warrior like traits.
There was no doubt that all the players put in a shift, Tom Thornton on the left flank was particularly busy, along with the vibrant Liam Polzin, both players causing panic in the opposition's final third.
To compliment that graft, Joseph Yellup offered craft and creativity and was always keen to get the passing game going.
With the game becoming stretched, more players found themselves in shooting positions.
Newcomer Ethan McArdle fired over from range and then put in a pin-point cross from the right where the marauding Polzin saw his header fall into the hands of the well positioned keeper.
Bottesford continued to press for a second, Will Lawton and Alex Baldwin both linking up play and showing silky dribbling despite tough conditions, along with Jacob Hawes who also offered impetus after coming on with fresh legs in an attempt to see the game out.
The home side continued their search for an equaliser, but a resolute Bottesford were not going to give the lead up easily, coping with everything Priory threw at them.
Whilst at the other end, the away team continued to threaten with further strikes from Tom Thornton and Dickinson.
The referee's whistle was met with much joy from the traveling support after a welcome three points following a long journey and a superb clean sheet to boot - without doubt that key save in the first half proving very valuable.
Should any player be keen to join this side playing on a Saturday then contact the coach on 07788 235407.