Performance of The Season Sees Radcliffe Run Out 4-1 Winners
By Dave Martindale
Radcliffe played the conditions better and put in a top class performance to grab a great win against an impressive Beeston side.
Radcliffe lost the toss and had to contend with low sun and gale force winds in their faces from the off today, making for a very nervous start. Beeston are a massive side and have clearly been working on their set pieces with a wicked long throw causing trouble again and again.
To be fair to Radcliffe, some great defensive headers and impeccable handling from Harvey Woodward despite the swirling wind cleared the lines well. Unfortunately though Radcliffe couldn’t keep everything out and, even with a magnificent point blank save from Harvey Woodward from another of those treacherous long throws, the Beeston striker was first to the ball and tucked home for 0-1 (14).
Was it going to be a case of keep the scoreline as low as possible until the turnaround and we had the wind? Absolutely not. A quick break along the ground from the kick-off and the ball into Oliver Petchell’s feet saw him shift and create a yard of space. The desperate attempt to stop the shot from the defender was mistimed and a penalty rightly awarded. There was no way Oliver Petchell was going to let anyone else take it and he drilled it low and past the keeper into the net for 1-1 (15).
The perfect response and great timing. It didn’t change the pattern of play too much though and it was still up to the back line again and again to frustrate Beeston’s wave after wave of attack. Jacob Sadler had settled into a rhythm against Beeston’s pacy striker, forcing him to try and find space in the centre rather tan down the channels. Will Halstead and Ethan Fallon have struck up such a great understanding in the centre though and time and again one stepped up and got a foot in or the other swept up behind to clear the danger. To finish off the quartet, Tom Martindale was snuffing out anything down the right hand side with that ever reliable last ditch toe in to dispossess.
Harvey Woodward was having a great game too, the wind not fazing him and his decision making and handling were of a different class. Radcliffe were getting their best chances to attack down the flanks and it was a breakaway again that saw Joshua Jones-Wilkinson deliver a lovely ball for, guess who, Oliver Petchell to smash home a second 2-1 (23).
In fact, even though Beeston had the wind at their backs, they kept kicking the ball too long and the frustration was showing now on the pitch and on the sidelines. Connor Bland was having a game to remember too, consistently running the channels and also winning more than his fair share of tackles too. It’s sometimes easy to overlook the centre because they’re so consistent but Jack Willis and Fin Jackson were also immense.
I’d have taken 2-1 at half time and been happy to get back out with the wind at our backs but there was still time for more - with virtually the last kick of the half Oliver Jones-Wilkinson’s cheeky through ball was nipped home past the keeper by his brother Joshua Jones-Wilkinson for 3-1 (40).
The half-time talk was such an easy one to give, basically keep calm and carry on...use the wind to our benefit more than Beeston had and this was there for the taking.
Radcliffe did just that and were now purring with some great link-up play from the midfield and strikers creating a number of chances. The Beeston keeper was struggling with the wind much more than Harvey Woodward had, showing how well he’d coped and George Arrowsmith was unlucky with a great run across the back line leading to a great chance that was just ballooned over the bar.
Radcliffe wrapped things up though soon after and Oliver Petchell managed his second hat-trick in as many games with a lovely goal, created by Morgan Roberts from the left wing 4-1 (58).
There was quite a bit of time left in this game but a clinical display of defensive football from Radcliffe meant that Beeston were frustrated and simply couldn’t create anything of note.
Unfortunately, the clinical display wasn’t quite matched up front with a few spurned chances blasted high over the bar and a great effort from Joshua Jones-Wilkinson from wide on the right crashing back unluckily off the bar with the keeper well beaten.
None of that mattered though. The hard work had been done and the game was in the bag with a marvellous 4-1 result.
This was a game that could easily have been very close but Radcliffe had other ideas with a textbook display of how to manage the conditions and some great spirit all over the pitch.
It’s hard not to reward a performance like Oliver Petchell’s with a MOM award but I’m going to give it to Connor Bland for his all-round play today. Constantly fighting to win the ball back and some great, creative play down the right he epitomised the whole team spirit today.
Up to fourth in the table for now and three more games to see if we can consolidate - very proud.