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Fulford U16’s 0 - 4 Pocklington Predators U16’s

16 Mar 2014

Such is Under 16 football that, being the final year of youth football in the York Mitchell Soccer League, this time of year sees teams who have played each other for 7 years pit their wits against each other for one final time. Pocklington and Fulford have had great matches over the years and both management teams have an underlying respect for each other's approach to football.

It goes without saying that the winds produced their normal effort to take centre stage with a strong blusters which should have favoured Fulford, the home side, in the first half.  But, maybe through practise or a little bit of extra nouse of these conditions, it was the Predators who settled quickly into their football.  Town had the greater urgency from the off with Connor Wade covering back when required to support the strength of Liam Neal when in possession.  

Predators built patiently from the back,  assembling from Fraser Hansen, Matthew Terry and later George Pilkington in their full back positions, thorough a midfield where Huw Jones and Elliott Russell acted as fulcrums and onward through the pace of Wade and Joe Milner in wider channels.  Pocklington took the lead on the quarter hour when Jones picked up a loose ball in midfield and found Russell in space.  His cross field ball  found Pilkington whose effort was well saved; pouncing though was Milner who drove the ball low into the corner. 

Harry Crusher and Eric Hogan dealt with everything Fulford threw forward with the former tidy as ever behind the back-line and Hogan winning the aerial combats.  Neal's strength in midfield was too much for Fulford's answers and time and time again he picked up 50/50s to help build renewed attacks.  Town grew with confidence and the full backs moved forward with Hansen's cross narrowly evading the late arriving Wade.  The best move was to come through with Neal and Milner combining to prize open the Fulford defence.  The ball fell to Ben Potter who drove home and treated the away supporters to a Sturridgesque celebration.  Town went into the break two goals to the good.

It was Fulford who came out strongly in the second half and it was clear the next goal was critical.  As Town moved forward, Milner drove narrowly over from a free kick and Wade's overhead effort was well saved.  But this was end to end stuff and Hogan cleared a dangerous Fulford attack down their left hand side.  Both Milner and Wade had further chances to extend the lead and when Wade was found by Neal his neat step inside and crisp drive bought that all important 3rd goal.  

Wade bagged his brace shortly after, managing to get on the end of a ball which hung in the wind and resulted in a scramble. To their credit Fulford still pushed forward and Sam Flinton responded with arguably the highest quality point in the match reacting sharply to get down low to his left with an outstanding save. 

The match ended with a 4-0 victory to Pocklington as both managers shook hands for a final time at this level.

Jim Hansen

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