Six of The Best for Radcliffe
By Dave Martindale
Radcliffe enjoyed the smooth 3G surface and ignored the freezing temperatures to run out comfortable winners and a clean sheet to boot.
After about and hour of to-ing and fro-ing this morning due to frozen pitches, both managers agreed to a slightly earlier 12.45 KO to get this game underway on the 3G pitch at SNA.
A sharp wind and freezing temperatures seemed to spur on the lads to a very strong start and all the space meant Radcliffe could use the width and also exploit the acres of pitch behind the Southwell back line. With George Arrowsmith and Oliver Petchell bearing down on them, Southwell did well to keep the sheet clean for as long as they did.
Some really good goalkeeping and a big bunch of luck somehow kept them at bay but when it came, the first goal was really well worked, with a lovely flowing move finding Connor Bland on the right wing who drifted a great cross in for Morgan Roberts to head home from inside the 6 yard box; 1-0 (17).
A minute later, Oliver Petchell had the ball in the back of the net after a really strong run past the last defender and a great drive into the corner, only to have it ruled out for a foul...
No matter though, the next attack saw Jack Willis drop the ball in behind the right back for Connor Bland to run onto and his cross come shot arrowed into the far corner for a fabulous goal 2-0 (20).
The Radcliffe back line were in command whenever Southwell tried to attack and their balls down the channels were too strong for a 3G surface, running out of play on the bounce.
Radcliffe had a whole host of chances before the break but a very strong goalkeeping performance and some interesting decisions meant it was 2-0 at the break.
As the 2nd half started it was critical that we didn’t give Southwell any hope of reducing the deficit and kept the momentum and that’s exactly what happened. Southwell’s back line had struggled with Oliver Petchell’s strength throughout and when he made a deft turn in the box they brought him down for a penalty.
Oliver Petchell wasn’t letting anyone else have it and coolly thrashed the ball home for 3-0 (41).
Radcliffe were finding their men really well now and soon after Ollie Jones-Wilkinson made one of his trademark moves to create an inch of space and feed Oliver Petchell who was really in the mood now and that was 4-0 (43).
Oliver Petchell nearly had his hat-trick moments later with a sublime turn and shot on the edge that hammered back off the post - so close!
Wave after wave now and a bit of niggle came into the game. A few tasty challenges being allowed to go and Southwell tried to create a battle. Radcliffe have learned over the years that the football does the talking though and a neat bit of skill from Fin Jackson found Ollie Jones-Wilkinson who shifted and created a yard to drill the ball home for 5-0 (60).
Ollie Jones-Wilkinson turned creator soon after and Oliver Petchell was the happy recipient of a neat ball into the box. He still had a bit to do but there was never any doubt - 6-0 (64) and a well-deserved hat-trick to cap a great performance.
George Arrowsmith replaced him having been really unlucky on a few occasions in the game but his best chance came with a great through ball on the counter from a Southwell attack. He had the whole half to run down on the keeper but a combination of the surface and a good recovery challenge just denied him getting his shot off.
Southwell never gave up trying to break Radcliffe down and did have a few good chances in the game but this was a really strong defensive effort that gave a great platform to a clinical attacking performance.
Special mentions to Jack Willis, Morgan Roberts and Connor Bland today who all put in incredibly strong performances but I have to give my MOM award to Oliver Petchell. Both his hat-trick and his constant threat stood him out amongst a very good overall team performance.