Thursday 5th October 2017 @ Maiden Castle, Durham
Cleveland started their league campaign against a very strong and quick Durham side. The match followed last week’s friendly against MFC U16 Academy and came quickly after Tuesday’s game against HUFC U16 Academy.
Callum McKinley (GK), Connor Prest, Max Bashir ©, Abdoulaye Kaba, Ethan Capes, Dave Webb, Cameron Painter, JJ Bartleff, Josh Scott, Brandon Morrison, Mitchel Noble.
Louis Smith (GK), Oliver Wilson, Elliot Mavi, Michael Davis
The game started with a high tempo from both teams as both looked to take charge of the game and get an early goal. Durham seemed to favour the long ball over the top trying to catch the Cleveland defence on the break. After 12 minutes both teams had had some half chances and Callum had made a good double save after a slight mix up at the back, but the first real chance fell to Cleveland when a Josh Scott shot from the right hand side of the 18 yard box flew inches past the left hand post.
The game followed the same pattern for the next 10 minutes with both teams having chances but neither side could find the final ball to covert a chance. However, in the 23rd minute of the game JJ Bartleff picked the ball up around 25 yards from goal and played a nice reverse lobbed pass into the path of Mitchel Noble who took a touch and then slotted the ball past the keeper to give Cleveland a lead, 1-0 (23 minutes)
The score changed in favour of the home side going into the final 10 minutes of the first half. Just as Cleveland looked settle with their 1-0 advantage a quick counter attack and a long ball over the top between the centre back and left back allowed the Durham winger to win the ball, squaring it across the box for the striker to have an easy tip in from 5 yards out, 1-1 (31 minutes). Durham took the lead in a similar fashion only 6 minutes later again a quick ball went over the top and some indecisive defending allowed the Durham striker to get between Abdoulaye and the outrushing Callum and head the ball over the top into the empty net, 2-1 (37 minutes).
The best chance of the first half came in the final few minutes when Cleveland pushed to go into the break all square. A Brandon Morrison shot hit the crossbar with the ball ricocheting out to the edge of the area where JJ Bartleff hit a sweet shot back through the crowd of players only to see his effort again strike the crossbar and the followed up effort saved by the goalkeeper.
Half Time: Durham 2-1 Cleveland
Second Half Line-up (Player going off):
Callum McKinley (GK), Connor Prest, Max Bashir ©, Abdoulaye Kaba, Michael Davis (Ethan Capes), Dave Webb, Elliot Mavi (Cameron Painter), JJ Bartleff, Josh Scott, Brandon Morrison, Mitchel Noble.
Louis Smith (GK), Oliver Wilson, Ethan Capes, Cameron Painter
The second half again started with high tempo with the Cleveland side looking to get the first goal and level the game up. The first 15 minutes of the game went by with very few chances for either side and both keepers were rarely troubled. In the 56th minute of the game, as Cleveland started to play good football and look the team more likely to score they were caught out by another quick counter attack by Durham, the ball was won by the Durham defence who played a quick ball over the top into the gap between midfield and defence and the ball was picked up by one of the home sides midfielders who capitalised on the space running a few yards before striking the ball from 25 yards out and beating Callum as the ball changed direction late in the air, 3-1 (56 minutes)
The Cleveland side maintained their spirit and kept fighting for a way back into the game. As the game progressed the Durham defence were put under a large amount of pressure and it seemed it was only a matter of time before the Cleveland side benefit from all the chances they were getting. With 16 minutes left to play the goal came for Cleveland with Elliot Mavi knocking the ball home from close range after a spell of free kicks and corners, 3-2 (64 minutes)
A break in play due to an injury to a Durham player allowed the Cleveland management to change the formation for the final 15 minutes with Mitchel coming off and replaced by Oliver Wilson as the side went to a 3-4-3. The management encouraging the side to go on and push for an equaliser and maybe even steal a winner. The lads pushed and give everything in their attempts to get the goal back. With 7 minutes to play Cameron Painter came back on in place of JJ Bartleff giving the Cleveland side a little more height in the front 3 with the hope of taking advantage of one final chance. However, due to the massive effort put in on a big pitch to try get back into the game the fatigue started to show and a final attack by Durham was too much for the Cleveland side to cope with and with minutes to play the home side all but secured the result, 4-2 (79 minutes)
That wasn’t the end of the action though, deep into added time Cameron Painter found himself in the box facing away from goal and as he felt a nudge on the back from a Durham defender he fell to the floor with the referee in no hesitation to point to the spot. Cameron picked himself up and placed the ball on the spot and calmly converted the penalty to drag the game back to a 1 goal deficit, 4-3 (80+2 minutes)
This goal again lifted the Cleveland side and they hoped for one final chance to level the game and take a point they looked to have deserved from their performance but this wasn’t to come as the referee blew the full time whistle and brought the game to an end.
Final score Durham 4-3 Cleveland.
Cleveland will play North Yorkshire in their next game on Tuesday 10th October at the North Riding FA headquarters at Stokesley. Kick off 7pm.