BIRCHENCLIFFE’S Under 15 side are on the rise after notching a 5-1 win at Battyeford.
The Under 15 Division 4B clash was one of the few to survive the frozen conditions and the home side also had a cold start being slow off the mark and found themselves chasing the game from the fifth minute.
Birchencliffe’s Sean O’Brien opened the scoring, rounding two defenders to fire a shot into the bottom corner.
The goal sparked Battyeford into action and for a spell the game lurched from end to end but, despite a series of goal attempts, neither side were able to find the target.
George Spencer, Ali Hassan, Tom Senior and Daniel Hampson worked hard to keep the Birchencliffe attack at bay, but the home defence were finally undone when Kyle Forde headed home a Ciaran Clarke corner to double the visitors’ lead.
Battyeford struggled to keep pace with their opponents for the rest of the half and found themselves even further behind when Tearnan Pearson’s right wing cross pass found Laszlo Morgan who powered the ball into the net from 15 yards.
Battyeford had keeper Jack Heywood to thank for a series of excellent saves to stop Birchencliffe going even further in front in the second half.
A moment of silliness then resulted in Sean O’Brien being sent off as referee Chris Eaton decided not to put up with the Birchencliffe forward’s repeated complaints about his decisions.
Ismail Rehman was unlucky not to add another goal for Birchencliffe within minutes of the restart, with keeper Heywood pulling off another fine stop before Rehman was again denied by an excellent block from George Spencer.
However, with the visitors now down to 10 men, Battyeford began to take control.
A Senior corner was headed just wide by Nathan Denham-Bosah and Sonny Blyth was clear on goal from Daniel Hampson’s left wing cross, but the Battyeford striker’s first touch let him down and the chance was gone.
Luke Brown, who was now winning every tackle, and he was unlucky when, after beating two defenders, he hit a shot which flew inches wide of the far post.
Moments later Blyth’s run from the halfway line ended in more disappointment for the home side when his shot went over the bar.
Despite Battyeford’s threat, James Cunningham, Pearson and Kallum Farrer held firm in the Birchencliffe defence as Battyeford’s search for goals intensified.
The home side inevitably left themselves open to the counter attack and when Clarke’s pass split the home defence, Dale Nearey was on hand to slot the ball past the helpless Heywood.
The home keeper was called into action again to deny Nearey with a one-on-one save moments later.
Any lingering doubts about the result were finally settled when Tom Wilson fired home a fifth goal for Birchencliffe.
Battyeford managed a consolation five minutes from the end when Senior’s cross found an unmarked Blyth at the far post who calmly rounded keeper William Eaton to slot home a deserved goal for the home side.