Junior Football: Sam Smith hat trick gives Rastrick victory over Elland in RCD League Under 12 Second Division
RASTRICK Under 12s stabilised themselves in mid-table of Division II with a 3-1 home win against Elland, thanks to a hat trick from Sam Smith.
Elland looked dangerous from the off at Carr Green, with some neat inter-play and Rastrick found themselves pinned back.
But Elland’s eagerness to drive forward left them badly exposed at the back and Rastrick took full advantage.
After holding off 10 minutes of pressure, a Rastrick clearance fell to Sam Smith who, from the halfway line, carried the ball forward and past keeper Lucas Bowman to slide the ball into the net to give the home side an early lead.
Other than a few speedy Rastrick breakaways, Elland continued to enjoy the lion’s share of possession throughout the first half, but solid defending from the home side’s Lennon Shaw, Jake Denton, Bailey Downs and Dominic Watson was matched by Elland’s Lewis Singleton, Dominic Smith, Matthew Greidanus and Ben Bennett to leave the score unchanged at half time.
The second half started almost exactly the same as the first but as Elland, led by Lewis Storey and Liam Senior sought an equaliser, they were again caught out when another clearance found its way to Smith, who powered a low shot past onrushing keeper Bowman.
The hard working Senior set up what was almost the goal of the game when he ran 40 yards through a sea of defenders to put in a cross from the right edge of the penalty area, but Conner Hellens’ snapshot flew just the wrong side of a post.
The miss not only proved costly but signalled a period of Rastrick dominance led by Tom Meadowcroft and captain Oliver Ingram, which ended when Smith completed his hat trick.
Elland continued to pile on the pressure but, despite a series of corners, they were unable to unlock the solid Rastrick defence.
Tom Norcliffe and Darrin Williams pushed hard to try to get something out of the game for Elland but, even when a long range Senior effort looked destined for the bottom corner, keeper Conner Murphy produced a fine full-length fingertip save to turn the ball around the post for another corner.
The visitors’ efforts were finally rewarded when another Senior in-swinging corner deceived everyone to land in the net at the far post.
Around the field, Elland play some excellent passing football and were every bit as good as their opponents, but they will have to find a way of cracking defences if they are to pull away from the drop zone.
Meanwhile Rastrick, who were relegated from Division I last season, seem to have stabilised and are now sitting comfortably in mid table. They will be hoping to make a more determined assault on promotion next season.