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RINGWOOD TOWN YOUTH U13s vs WAREHAM RANGERS U13s: 1-6 (League Division 2, 6th March 2016)

posted 9 Mar 2016, 08:03 by Simon McCabe

Wareham make their Mothers’ Day

Wareham Rangers’ season seemed to be fizzling out with three defeats in their last three games, but it came back to life today with an impressive 1-6 away win at Ringwood Town Youth.  Wareham arrived a player short, leaving visiting fans fearing a Mother’s Day massacre, but their doubts were misplaced as the ten men showed more fight and finishing flair than the eleven beaten by Parkstone, Swanage and Bridport in recent games.

The victory was all the more impressive as Wareham had to come back from a goal down after Ringwood broke the deadlock of the first 30 minutes with a sharply taken breakaway goal.  At this point, it looked like it might be a familiar story for Wareham - creating chances but failing to convert them, and ultimately being punished for their profligacy.  This time, however, Wareham responded to adversity superbly.  Just five minutes after going behind, Callum passed to Christian on the half-way line and the striker's Cruyff turn, run and shot for the equaliser left the Ringwood defence wondering what had hit them.  Four minutes later, just seconds before half-time, he did the same again with a self-made goal which saw Wareham go in 1-2 up at the change of ends.

Ringwood continued to play some good football, and looked more likely to score in the opening 10 minutes of the second half, but Wareham's defence held firm.  Gabe, out of position between the sticks in the absence of James, made several brilliant saves at crucial times in the game.  Dannon, George and Luke defended solidly and always looked to play the ball out neatly from the back.  Alfie had an outstanding game in the centre of defence - as the visiting fans chanted: 'He's never beaten, he's Alfie Leaton.'  This solid back-line, which was well protected by Joe and Samuel winning more battles in midfield than they lost, and aided by energetic tracking back from Callum and Harry, ensured that Wareham maintained their one goal lead.  They went on to extend it when Christian broke free again. His shot hit the post, but Callum was quickest to react and followed up brilliantly to snatch a well-deserved goal.

Wareham's fourth goal was a work of art: Alfie and Dannon were under pressure in their own final third, but exchanged passes calmly to play their way out of danger and release Joe on the half-way line.  Harry's run down the wing drew the attention of the Ringwood defence, creating the space for Joe to put Christian through.  From here, the striker was never going to miss his second chance to secure a hat-trick.  Even at 1-4 up, the visiting fans could not relax, conscious that the ten men could easily tire as the game went on.  But they under-estimated Wareham's spirit as well as their stamina, and the visitors went on to score twice more.  Joe followed Callum's example, pouncing on the rebound after a shot from Harry hit the woodwork to slot home with 10 minutes to go, and Christian completed a performance of great strength and clinical finishing with his fourth goal, a right-footed shot which beat the Ringwood keeper 5 minutes from time.

Ringwood continued to play some neat football but by this time Wareham's dominance was complete, a fact summed up in the way the home team's final attack of the match ended with Alfie contemptuously shrugging off a Ringwood attacker to shepherd the ball safely into touch for a goal kick.

This was a spirited performance from the ten men, to which every player contributed hugely.  They rediscovered some of the ruthlessness which saw them rise to the top of the table earlier in the season and hopefully they can do so again in their final game at Gillingham later this month.

Assistant Manager Kev Keates commented ‘What a fantastic performance from the lads today.  It wasn't ideal preparation to turn up and find we only had 10 players but thanks to the excellent attitude and commitment they all showed, it ended up being one of the more positive displays of the whole season and something we can really take a lot of pride and belief from.  Most importantly of all, it made the earache caused by spending Mother’s Days watching football all the more bearable, well done boys!!!‘

Peter Moore