Quarry Rovers 1 – Broughton & North Newington 2
Sunday 12th December 2016
Oh, the bitter pill of defeat snatched from the jaws of a draw! The day dawned bright after the persistent rain of yesterday, and the pitch seemed in remarkably good condition, although it looked as though it was going to cut up after a while. Haider was the only absence from the squad which meant Coach Alex a full bench of substitutes for a real six-pointer between the league’s two bottom teams – Broughton had only managed one draw in the league.
Fittingly, overall this was a scrappy game with few chances and lots of mistakes from both teams, with neither able to dominate or play fluent football for any length of time. The referee also had to keep a lid on a game with plenty of niggle and needle, with numerous free kicks awarded for trips, pulls, pushes and poor challenges. Maybe Quarry had become better at springing the offside trap, or maybe Broughton were simply careless, but the offside count went in to double figures and both linesmen had busy games.
To be honest nothing much happened in the first half: Ollie had to be alert early on to deflect a shot wide; and Sultan had to nip in and nick the ball just as the trigger was about to be pulled; both sides had a number of corners which were cleared away; George and Xander had a go from distance and Xander poked one just wide. To be fair, Quarry had the majority of the possession and territory, but didn’t do enough with it. Broughton on the break had more shots but missed the target. The sucker-punch, and a really soft goal, came five minutes before half time – a long Broughton ball, everyone stopped for the offside decision which never came, the winger pulled it back into the middle to be buried at the inside post. The lesson – play on until the whistle blows!
After half time, it was pretty much more of the same: Quarry put in plenty of effort and had lots of possession, but struggled to bring the Broughton keeper in to action; Broughton on the other hand showed plenty of attacking intent and would have scored from a really slick move apart from the offside part. It was probably against the run of play when a free kick was awarded to Quarry probably 10 yards outside the Broughton box. The distance didn’t deter George from having a pop and he floated a beautiful curler which cleared the goalie into the far top corner to bring the score back to 1-1.
From then on the game was pretty much 50-50 with both sides going for the win, leaving defences exposed on the counter attack. Unfortunately it was Broughton who finally put the ball in the back of the net, and defensively it was a really poor one. Chances to tackle and clear were spurned repeatedly and eventually a Broughton player was allowed to get a shot in from the right channel, Ollie saved low to his right but the ball bounced up nicely on to the head of an unmarked Broughton player who gratefully nodded home just before the Ref blew for full time.
This wasn’t a great game from a quality point of view, but the Quarry boys played with passion and commitment and it must have been heartbreaking to have their first point nicked off them right at the death. What it should show is that there are teams in this division that Quarry can compete with and could beat on another day.