Tough Conditions AND Tough Opposition But Radcliffe Dig In For 3-0 Win
By Dave Martindale
Radcliffe played the conditions better and never let the opposition tactics phase them today to dig out a very good result and 3 more points in the bag
A really sharp shower just before KO and a heavy pitch welcomed Radcliffe against Nottingham Education FC, always a tricky side to play with their strength and size.
The morning KO didn’t help either with most of the team normally tucked up in bed on a Saturday at 10.30. Just to finish it all off, the strong wind in the faces of the Radcliffe team set things up for a battle.
The lads started well though and Connor Bland had an early chance to beat his man down the right and deliver a great, flat cross for George Arrowsmith to latch onto at the back stick and guide it against the post and into the net for 0-1 (5).
Radcliffe couldn’t have asked for a better start and the confidence that came from the goal surged through the team. Wave after wave of attack followed with Education FC finding it difficult to get out of their half.
A couple more lovely crosses from Connor Bland but neither could be exploited like the first. Oliver Jones-Wilkinson had a lovely effort from the left channel after a good run and pass from Fin Jackson set him up but it careered back off the bar, inches from a second.
As the half wore on there seemed to be a pattern emerging, Radcliffe attacking well but just as they got a chance to break on goal o play a killer pass an opposition player managed to grab their shirt and hamper the effort.
No team goes a whole game without chances and Education FC soon had their best with a wind-assisted speculative effort from 40 yards hammering back off the bar and to safety.
With time running out and Radcliffe having spurned more chances to double their lead, Education FC had one more great opportunity to level but their striker scuffed the ball wide.
A really physical 40 mins with the ref letting most things go finally came to an end and Radcliffe could, and probably should, have been out of sight.
The second half Radcliffe had the wind at their backs but typically it had dropped considerably during the break and wasn’t quite as much a factor.
Radcliffe continued to play their football and the referee had finally found his whistle to try and cut out all the ‘handsy’ behaviour from the opposition. This gave the lads the chance to create a little more and it was only a matter of time before George Arrowsmith found himself free at the back post with the keeper stranded...somehow his effort clipped the outside of the post and went wide rather than bulging the net.
An inevitable yellow card was finally shown for the opposition no 8 who’d been asking for the booking the whole of the first half and this seemed to calm the pulling and pushing a little at last.
Soon after, George Arrowsmith was able to make amends, latching onto a Harvey kick and showing a great bit of skill and determination to dribble past the back line and around the keeper and tap home for 0-2 (54).
This seemed to settle the whole team and the remainder of the half was relatively comfortable. The back four had been immense on a day where tricky conditions make defending a real lottery and Jack Willis had filled in perfectly for the absent Ethan.
With time almost done, Ollie Petchell drove at goal and Connor Bland managed to get a flick off his head to beat the keeper for 0-3 (79). A deserved reward for his man of the match performance, particularly in the first half where he showed how dangerous he is down that right flank.
The clean-sheet was hard fought, as was the win on a tricky day against a very strong team. It was particularly pleasing to see the attitude of the squad, not getting wound up and concentrating on their own game.
Up to fourth in the table now and on a great run of results...two games left to enjoy and see where we can end up.