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WAREHAM RANGERS U13s v SWANAGE TOWN & HERSTON U13s: 1-1 (League Division 2, 8 November 2015)

posted 10 Nov 2015, 14:00 by Simon McCabe   [ updated 10 Nov 2015, 14:02 ]

Honours Even in the Purbeck Derby

This top-of-the-table fixture became something of a grudge match last season, to the extent that there was even talk of ‘afters’ in the Purbeck School playground on Monday morning.  Both sets of players have obviously matured since then, and not just in terms of their football.  From a perfectly observed minute’s silence for Remembrance Sunday before kick-off through to the handshakes at the final whistle, this was a keenly but fairly fought battle, characterised by good football between evenly matched sides, a fact which was ultimately reflected in the result.

Swanage made their intent clear from the outset, forcing a save from James shortly after the kick-off.  Wareham responded by going up the other end and winning a corner, Joe produced a shot on target which called the Swanage keeper into action.  Swanage then enjoyed a good spell, Kyle producing a great recovery tackle to prevent what looked like a certain goal.  After successive Swanage corners, however, Wareham’s defence succumbed to sustained pressure when a looping header found its way into the home side’s net in the 10th minute.

Wareham came back strongly, winning a corner of their own which they were unable to convert, followed by good shots by Joe and Christian which both went close.  While great saves from both keepers kept the score at 0-1, and while the partnerships formed by Samuel and Joe on the right, and Harry and Christian on the left combined well, unusually Wareham seemed to lack a cutting edge with several shots lacking the power and accuracy to level the scores.  The defence of Ethan, Alfie, Gabe and Luke held firm, however, to keep the home side in the match at half-time.

Callum, George and Josh brought on fresh legs at half-time and the manager’s pep talk at the break seemed to do the trick as Wareham came out fighting, winning a corner shortly after the restart.  At the start of the half Joe, Dannon, Kyle and Josh showed some nice touches and battling spirit in midfield, though Swanage started to reassert themselves with a succession of shots and corners which James and the Wareham defence did very well to keep out.

Having ridden the storm, Wareham knew that time was running out to equalise – and they did just that with just over 10 minutes to go when, after some great work by Dannon, Joe’s left footed shot just had just enough power to trickle in under the Swanage keeper’s outstretched arm.  Both sides had chances to win it in the closing minutes but after a game of such high quality and sustained effort on both sides, for either one to have done so would have been harsh on the other.  Both teams will be pleased to have retained their unbeaten records this season, though it is Wareham, with two more points and a game in hand over their local rivals, who top the Division 2 table at this early stage. 

Manger Darren Mears commented “Very testing conditions today produced a top of the table derby match that won't live long in the memory.  The swirling wind made it difficult for both teams to build any sort of momentum but it was good to see our lads improve their efforts in the second half to force the draw.  For long spells of the game we seemed to over complicate things and lost our identity, the free flowing and quick passing game of recent weeks was missing.  If I am honest, a point is all we deserved”.

Pete Moore