Phoenix Sports Youth 2 v 3 VCD Athletic Youth
1-0 Debenham(28), 2-0 Holland (35), 2-1 Akram (51), 2-2 Akram (72)
2-3 Baldwin (86).
Despite the recent wet weather the pitch was in excellent condition for this local derby between Phoenix Sports and VCD Athletic.
This game was the proverbial game of two halves with the home side leading 2-0 at half time but three second half goals from their near neighbours saw them take the points and the local bragging rights.
With the slick condition of the playing surface both sides resorted to taking pot shots from distance and both keepers had to be alert to this danger.
On four minutes the hosts went close to opening the scoring when Frankie Holland squared the ball across to the edge of the box where Jake Thornton’s fierce drive had visiting keeper Harrison Carnell-Davis diving full length to his left as the shot flashed narrowly wide.
Minutes later VCD’s Liam Spellward hit a long range effort over before shortly afterwards his 25 yard free kick hit the Phoenix defensive wall and nearly wrong footed Phoenix keeper Harry Hepworth who had moved right but quickly adjusted his feet and saved well diving low to his left.
On 19 minutes Phoenix’s Holland tried a long range shot that Carnell-Davis held moving to his right before another long range free kick for the visitors from Spellward forced Hepworth into a save catching the ball high to his right.
Phoenix then made the breakthrough on 28 minutes when Holland’s low free kick from wide right was turned home by Ryan Debenham low to the left of Carnell-Davis.
Phoenix then made it two on 35 minutes when a long ball forward from Thornton eluded Alfie Scully and fell to Holland who raced through on goal and slotted home low to the left of Carnell-Davis.
The visitors almost hit back immediately as Stacey Petrou made space well on the edge of the box but his low shot was saved by Hepworth diving to his right.
Minutes later Phoenix went close to increasing their lead when a long ball forward from Jimmy Grant released Holland in on goal but this time his rising drive was saved by Carnell-Davis diving high to his right and pushing the ball out to safety.
On the stroke of half time VCD had a half chance when James Ashley’s right wing cross was well brought down by Petrou on the edge of the box but his shot on the turn flew just wide of the target.
The visitors then reduced the arrears early in the second half with a rather scrappy goal when Ashley’s left wing corner was missed by Hepworth as the ball flew to the far post where it was knocked back into the crowded box where Jeshurvn Akram forced the ball home from close range.
VCD were then unlucky not to draw level on 55 minutes when Petrou’s 25 yard free kick flew over the Phoenix defensive wall beating a stretching Hepworth high to his right but clipped the bar before flying over.
Suddenly it was all VCD as they searched for an equaliser and they went close to scoring again when the skilful Ross Craig’s through ball found Petrou’s run into the box but his low drive was well saved by the finger tips of Hepworth diving to his left for a corner.
Petrou then forced Hepworth into another save when his back header from Ashley’s free kick saw him stretching high above his head to catch the ball. Harrison Baldwin then tested Hepworth with a long range shot that the home keeper held moving to his left before he made an even better save high to his right to palm over Craig’s powerful long range dipping shot.
However from the resulting corner again taken by Ashley from the left, the visitors drew level when the ball flew over to the far post where it was nodded back into the crowded box where again Akram was first to react to force the loose ball home from close range.
VCD having drawn level had their tails up and went in search of a winner but were unlucky to hit the bar again when almost straight from the re-start they won the ball back which was quickly played up to Baldwin on the edge of the box. He took a touch and then hit a rasping drive that beat a diving Hepworth high to his right but rattled the woodwork before flying out to safety.
Phoenix then had their first shot on target in the second half when Grant hit a long range shot that Carnell-Davis held moving to his left. Into the final minutes of the game both sides had chances to take the points.
On 81 minutes the lively Petrou made space well before hitting a 30 yard shot that Hepworth held moving to his left. The home sides Holland then tested Carnell-Davis with a long range effort that the VCD keeper pushed away diving to his left. VCD then went closing to taking the lead when another fine pass from Craig put Petrou in on goal but Hepworth was quickly off his line to make a good close range block.
VCD’s holding midfielder Thomas Cecil then forced Hepworth into another save when he dived to his right to parry his shot from the edge of the box.
However VCD’s pressure finally told on 86 minutes when another deft pass from Craig put Joe Carey away down the left and he pulled the ball back across goal where Baldwin slotted home from close range.
The last chance of the game fell to VCD’s Petrou when he had another low shot saved by the busy Hepworth.