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SWANAGE TOWN AND HERSTON U13s vs WAREHAM RANGERS U13s: 4-3 (League Division 2, 7th January 2016)

posted 11 Feb 2016, 08:06 by Simon McCabe
Wareham Come Out Second Best in Seven Goal Thriller

First-placed Wareham travelled to second-placed Swanage this weekend but it was the home side who came out on top in the Purbeck derby.

In contrast to their last sluggish performance against Parkstone, the visitors got off to a flying start, Joe winning the ball in midfield and setting up Christian to muscle his way through to make it 0-1 with a right-footed shot.  Wareham played some neat passing football for the next 20 minutes, winning several corners, and doubling their advantage when the Swanage keeper could only palm Dannon's lofted shot onto the bar, with Christian following up the rebound for a poacher's goal to make it 0-2.  Shortly after, he was denied a hat-trick by the Swanage keeper's boot as a low shot looked certain to creep in at the corner.

Wareham's back-line of Alfie, Gabe, Ethan and Luke held solid and while Swanage looked dangerous around the edge of the visitor's box, they struggled to get into it.  That all changed in the 30th minute when a Swanage counter-attack from a Wareham corner provided a chance for the home side to get one back which they duly took.  I was still writing '2-1 on the stroke of half-time' into my notebook when, in the added minutes which left the visiting fans wondering if they had passed through a new time zone en route to the coastal town, Swanage scored again to make it 2-2.

The home side maintained their momentum when the second half kicked off, scoring a third shortly after the restart.  Things looked grim for Wareham but they rallied and, in the move of the match, Luke's powering run from defence and pass to Dannon saw the midfielder cut inside and set up Christian for a hat-trick and the equaliser.  Luke, Samuel and Dannon had run themseves into the Swanage mud, and made way for George, Callum and Josh.  Despite the fresh legs, Wareham were unable to get out of their own half during a period of sustained Swanage pressure.  With only a few minutes remaining, the visitors were caught trying to play out from the back, Swanage's talented number 6 pinching the ball and running through to chip James for the winning goal.

While Swanage have a game in hand, Wareham's handsome goal difference at least keeps them top of the table as we approach the business end of the season.

Assistant Manager Kev Keates commented "Little did I know when my boot fell apart in the warm up, that it was a sign of things to come as one our most impressive twenty minutes of the season was followed by easily the worst fifty.  We were cruising at 2-0 up and I was getting quite excited about the prospect of giving our local rivals a good hiding but as soon as we conceded you could see the confidence drain out of our lads and it was almost as if they resigned themselves to what was to follow.  By the end, Swanage ran out deserved winners and should probably have won by more as we seemed incapable of keeping the ball despite doing it so well in the early stages.  With the season having followed exactly the same pattern as last year, we really need to work on mental toughness and being able to respond to adversity if we're to overcome this sense of deja vu in the final three games."

Peter Moore