It's so tough as Southside crash out at first hurdle
Southside U18s 0 Stoke Lane Athletic 9
AN OCCASIONALLY ill-tempered Bristol Combination League Cup first round game produced a convincing result for the away team but it might have been a very different story had Southside taken their early chances and in the end the game turned on a red card midway through the first half.
Not for the first time this season Southside were hampered by their rather threadbare squad.
This time around tere was the luxury of having a 12-man matchday squad, albeit the man on the sideline was the substitute goalkeeper.
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However, by the end of the game, at least five players were carrying injuries which made it very difficult for the team to respond once they went behind.
The first half started well for Southside and they took the game to the visitors, causing problems down both flanks and with the long ball over the top.
In the first 10 minutes there were four or five good opportunities for the home side to score; in particular George Britton blasted over from just a few yards out and Harry Evans also failed to beat the keeper when put through.
However, Stoke Lane weathered the early storm and the game turned midway through the half when one of the Stoke Lane midfielders tangled with Southside captain George Moran and lashed out after the ball had gone. He also aimed a head-butt at the Southside skipper right in front of the referee and was duly dismissed.
However, rather than hamper the away team, it seemed to galvanise them. A soft free-kick was given away just outside the box and keeper Ryan Medcraff watched helplessly as an excellent strike flew into the top corner.
More goals quickly followed, mainly from defensive lapses, as Southside were opened up through the middle, on the right and from corners.
By half-time they trailed 5-0.
The second-half was little better for Southside despite the efforts of Will Testeil up front and they persistence on the wing from Evans.
They came closest when first-half keeper Medcraff was moved outfield for the second 45 minutes and he connected brilliantly with a volley just outside the box and the ball thumped against the underside of the crossbar.
Unfortunately more wayward passing from Southside in midfield gave the 10 men far too much possession and Britton couldn'''t find his passing or shooting range.
At the other end, Stoke Lane squandered a number of chances as Southside heads dropped but they still managed four more goals.
Despite the defeat, some credit must go to Tom Carter with some intelligent positional play in the unfamiliar role of left-back and also to those players who were forced to battle on with injuries when under normal circumstances they would have been able to have been substituted.
So Southside are out of the League Cup and still looking for a first win of the season, but the good news is that they have at least two weeks off now to rest, regroup and recover before a very winnable return league game against Bishop's Cleeve in a few weeks' time.