Youngsport: Leckhampton Rovers Legends U-16s see off Southside U-16s
Southside Under-16s 1
Leckhampton Rovers Legends Under-16s 3
Southside took on Leckhampton for the third time this season in a top-of-the-table clash at a freezing Priors Playing Fields.
And once again it was Legends who ran out the eventual winners in another close game.
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Despite missing four of their normal starting XI, Southside began the match in determined fashion with the enforced new-look team working hard to soak up some early pressure from Leckhampton.
They were on the back foot from the first minute as Legends got off to a confident start with the wind behind them but restricted Leckhampton mainly to long range efforts and a couple of corners which failed to trouble the keeper.
After about 20 minutes, Southside started to gain a bit more confidence and found they were able to move the ball past their opponents on both flanks as James Oddy and Harry Evans started to orchestrate some intricate and effective passing in midfield.
They were also using the long ball to good effect giving striker George Atkinson the chance to run through the middle and allowing Tom Carter to beat his man on the right and distribute intelligently.
Atkinson almost opened the scoring with an clever early shot when the defence was pierced only for the Leckhampton keeper to make an instinctive block as he rushed from his line.
However, during this period, Southside managed to win a couple of corners and it was from the second of these that the deadlock was broken as the low delivery from Tom Witcomb was swept in by an unmarked Atkinson from six yards out.
Leckhampton were temporarily shaken at going behind but their response was almost immediate as they pushed forward looking for an equaliser.
Most of their attacks were down the left hand side as they exploited the Southside right, but the equaliser came through a mix-up in the centre of defence as neither Southside centre-half took charge allowing the Legends forward to nip in, seize on the loose ball then fire home from the edge of the area to bring the scores level at half-time.
The second half was a very even affair in terms of possession and chances.
Southside continued to try to play good football in all areas of the pitch while Leckhampton did their best to dominate the midfield areas and to find space out wide.
When it looked like Legends were going to break through more often than not it was a determined Harry Evans who was there to get a foot in to help out his defence.
Unfortunately it was a defensive lapse that gifted the next goal as Marcus Raymond found himself stretching just too far to make good contact with the ball and watch helplessly as it fell nicely to the on-rushing forward who lifted it over the keeper from the edge of the box to make it 2-1.
Leckhampton forced a series of corners, which were swung in from the right, but the Southside defence cut most of them out - often thanks to the head of George Moran at the near post.
There was also a scare when it looked like the goalkeeper had been rounded only for a last ditch dive by keeper Norwood, who proceeded to dribble to ball out beyond the penalty area like an acting centre-half - much to the consternation of the rest of the team.
Southside also continued to threaten, winning several corners of their own. Atkinson had a chance with a free-kick from the edge of the box and there was a long-range effort from Moran which went close as the home team looked to level things up.
However, in the end it was Legends who got the next goal as they capitalised on another slight hesitation in the Southside back line. Although at first the effort from the edge of the area looked to have been saved, Norwood could only parry the fierce shot as he dived slightly too soon and it had just enough power to cross the line.
Southside didn't give up though and there was still time for a couple more chances as they sought to get back into the game late on - the best falling to Tom Witcomb on the left who finally outwitted the full-back to find himself one-on-one with the keeper only to shoot tamely into his arms from close range.
Leckhampton held out in the end for a 3-1 victory to put themselves clear at the top of Division Two but they had to do it the hard way.