Late spot-kick agony for battling juniors

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AFTER last week’s comprehensive victory, Fishburn Park’s under 12s approached a difficult tie against last year’s league winners with confidence, despite playing away from home.

Early rain made the surface a little slippy, the ball zipping off the wet surface and making ball control more difficult but both teams soon settled.

This confidence was justified as Fishburn took the lead after three minutes when a driving run by Callum Halley was halted by a clumsy tackle and from the free-kick, Owen Grant curled the ball into the top corner.

The lead was, however, short-lived as Scholes Park forced a corner and with the ball bouncing around in the box, their centre forward beat the defence to the ball to stab it home from short range.

In an entertaining game, both sidea attacked and could have taken the lead, Jack Kelly clearing the ball off the line for Fishburn, while Chris Hurworth hit a rocket of a shot just over the Scholes Park bar.

The home side took advantage of indecisiveness in the defence to snatch the lead slightly against the run of play.

A tactical change by stand-in manager David Gale tightened up Fishburn’s defence and it was for the remainder of the half that Fishburn enjoyed most of the play.

A second free-kick by Grant saw the home keeper spill the ball, Jamie Entwhistle following up to level the scores but it could have been so much more.

Striker Jack Gale rattled the crossbar with a bullet header, before the woodwork again helped Scholes Park as Grant was this time the unlucky player, Halley also forcing an excellent save by the keeper.

Playing with the slope in the second half, Fishburn were confident they could go on and win and just two minutes into the half, a deft pass down the line by Will Richardson allowing Halley to cut in and coolly slot the ball home to give them the lead.

Fishburn continued to play good football but could not create any further clear chances, while the defence held firm against a determined but flagging Scholes Park.

However, as often happens, the game turned on one momentary lack of concentration. A nothing ball into Fishburn’s box was about to be easily dealt with by the keeper when the referee, who had an excellent game throughout, spotted a push by one of the Fishburn players and awarded a penalty.

Despite the best efforts of keeper Purvis, the penalty was put away to level the score.

Scholes Park were now at their best and attacked with added gusto and although the defence did their best, it came as no surprise when second penalty took the game away from Fishburn with five minutes remaining.

A hopeful through ball saw the Scholes Park striker tripped just inside box who then picked himself up to score.

Fishburn tried to get back into the game but despite late pressure, couldn’t get the ball over the line.

Man of the match: Callum Halley – always hard-working and a constant threat capped by a fine goal.

Scholes Park U12s 4 Fishburn Park U12s 3