YMCA B 2
NORRISTHORPE B 6
(Under 13 Division III)
NORRISTHORPE Under 13s moved three places further away from the relegation danger area with a comfortable, if hesitant, victory over YMCA at Laund Hill.
Liverpool’s Rafael Benitez could learn a thing or two about squad rotation from Norristhorpe, who swap forwards for defenders and midfielders with goalkeepers – during the game!
Although the Mirfield side started the brighter, it was YMCA who got the scoring under way when, against the run of play, Reece Smith drilled a powerful shot from the edge of the area into the bottom corner of the Norristhorpe net after 10 minutes.
The setback stunned the visitors who, once again, took the game to YMCA and were rewarded when Lewis Crank fired the equaliser just five minutes later.
With midfielders Lucas Dean, Tom Dunne and Jack Smith now getting an even share of the ball, YMCA were beginning to get a foothold in the game, but their efforts to drive forward left too many gaps which Norristhorpe were happy to exploit.
James Harrison (who later took a turn in goal) pounced on a loose pass to fire Norristhorpe into the lead after 20 minutes and YMCA found themselves even further behind a few minutes later when a right wing cross fell at the far post for an unmarked Harrison to score his second and Norristhorpe’s third for a 3-1 lead.
A free kick, awarded when keeper Michael Payne picked up a back pass, almost gave YMCA a lifeline but, with the ball bouncing around the six yard box and two goalline clearances, Norristhorpe managed to scramble the ball to safety.
As the first half drew to a close YMCA had their best spell of the game but, despite camping in the visitors’ penalty area with a series of four corners, two of which were cleared off the line, the home side were unable to turn their advantage into goals and the misses proved expensive when Patrick Flowers fired a fourth to give Norristhorpe a comfortable three goal half-time cushion.
YMCA continued to pile on the pressure as the second half got under way but, again they were unable to turn their advantage into goals when Joseph Fitzpatrick fired just wide from a Jonathan Krishnapillai cross.
A lifeline finally arrived for YMCA when keeper Michael Payne upended Jack Smith and the referee had no choice but to point to the spot but, the penalty became a saga in itself as Tom Dunne’s first effort flew over the bar only for the referee to order a re-take due to Norristhorpe encroachment.
Dunne’s second effort found the back of the net but was ruled out as the referee ordered another re-take.
Keeper Payne saved the third effort but Dunne was first to react and fired home the rebound to put YM back in it at 4-2 down. YMCA’s fightback was shortlived, however, as Norristhorpe began to take control again.
Another penalty all but finished off YMCA’s hopes when a clumsy Liam Jennings challenge sent James Horner tumbling and Horner converted the spot kick.
Norristhorpe’s final goal was scored by the player who started the game as goalkeeper.
Payne took full advantage of YMCA’s failure to clear a corner by stabbing the ball into the net from eight yards.
Norristhorpe deserved their win in this highly entertaining game but the score was slightly flattering as YMCA had their chances and, with a little more luck, might have at least got a share of the points.