ONCE more, low overnight temperatures threatened the RCD fixture list but, thankfully, the pitches at Drighlington’s Adwalton Moor ground were in remarkably good condition – and it paid off for them with a 1-0 victory over Lepton Highlanders in the Under 13 Division II.
Lepton were quickest off the mark and the home side could consider themselves very lucky not to concede a couple of early goals but, twice, Oliver Ingham shot straight into the arms of keeper Callum Taylor.
Drighlington gradually began to get a grip of the game but, despite some very intricate passing and moving, they were unable to trouble the Highlanders goal as Jack Tinter, Oliver Roberts, Jay Schofield and Lewis Peters set up an impressive defensive barrier.
With neither side able to make any kind of breakthrough, the first half ended without score.
The second half started much as the first, but it wasn’t to be Oliver Ingham’s day as he was undone once again when keeper Taylor pulled off a fine save to deny the Highlanders striker.
A speculative 30-yard Jack Brown shot looked like ending the deadlock as it dipped just enough to go under the bar, but Taylor was alert to the danger and gathered the ball safely.
What proved to be the game’s only goal arrived 10 minutes into the second half when another Drighlington drive through the middle ended when Lewis Oddy drove the ball through a crowded penalty area into the bottom corner, giving unsighted keeper Ben Shufflebotham no chance.
The home side were unlucky not to double their advantage moments later when Joe Lawrence and Joe Crabtree set up the best move of the game, but they could only watch as Oddy’s snapshot flew just wide of the target.
By now, the early-morning frost had melted into the ground leaving heavy conditions for the rest of the game and Drighlington’s passing was no longer paying dividends, allowing Lepton’s powerful side to take control.
They forced the home side into some serious defending as a determined Callum Shipman and Louie Hall worked hard to get their side back on level terms.
Another Highlanders chance came and went when Oliver Ingham was denied by another fine Taylor save, and the Drighlington keeper was again called into action moments later to deny Joe Crossley.
Despite their efforts, the visitors were unable to find the net as Louie Hamilton, Ewan Scott, Joe Crabtree and Harry Oakland held their ground well to earn their side a narrowly deserved three points.