Southside pay hefty penalty for mistakes
Southside U18s 2 Bishop's Cleeve U18s 5
THE first league game of the season for Southside Under-18s ended in a scoreline that somewhat flattered the away side.
Southside started much the stronger of the two teams and enjoyed some good spells of possession in the first half.
The main threats on goal came via the trickery of Harry Evans on the left wing and the cultured left boot of George Britton, cutting in from the right flank.
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Southside were unlucky not to convert one of several corners – one of which glanced the crossbar – and there were several other half-chances which on another day might have gone their way, including a run from Tom Carter on the left where he chose to cross rather than go for goal himself and the ball was scrambled away to safety.
There was almost a goal from the unlikely source of Adam Harb as his long-range effort from right-back surprised the Cleeve keeper, who had to tip the ball over the bar from on the goal-line.
However the game was to turn just before half-time when the ball popped up in the Southside penalty area to hit the arm of defender Tom Wassell, and a penalty was awarded and scored.
A few minutes later the home defence was split through the middle and the Cleeve centre-forward rounded the keeper to give the visitors a 2-0 lead at the interval.
The second half began well for Southside when a speculative 30-yard effort from Britton was completely missed by the goalkeeper as he tried to clear with his feet.
However the two-goal margin was quickly restored as a strong run down the Cleeve right was too much for a rather slow home defence and the subsequent cross was scrambled in from close range.
The fourth and fifth goals for Cleeve were also gifted to them by Southside, the first when a soft through-ball was not dealt with by Wassell and the Cleeve forward ran on to score easily and the second when a long ball over the top found indecision from the home defence and keeper Norwood was left stranded as he watched the ball loop into the net to make it 5-1.
Southside continued to press forward though and created plenty more chances.
The corners swung in by Britton were always a threat, Connor Fry heading just wide and George Moran unable to direct his free header wide of the keeper.
Evans somehow managed to miss from a very tight angle just a yard from goal and Carter had an excellent effort disallowed for offside.
Evans had a couple of weaving runs into the box that deserved better, although in the end his frustration told as he was booked for a two-footed lunge when he lost possession just as he was about to shoot.
In the end the second Southside goal was a scrappy affair as another free-kick was bundled in by Fry from close range in the final few minutes.
If Southside had taken their chances and been more secure in defence then the scoreline could have looked very different, and they will also hope to be able to have some substitutes to call on in future matches as the 11 who took the field found their first 90-minute match pretty hard work in the sunshine.