EMCL: South Normanton Athletic 3 Radcliffe Olympic 1
By Brendan Richardson
Single Sweeting goal not enough
It was another harsh defeat for Olympic who, until they succumbed to a second penalty 5 minutes from time, were more than a match for high flying South Normanton.
On a superb surface, it was Olympic who started the stronger side, assisted by a nagging wind at their backs. They forced the issue and the home side struggled to get out of their own half at times but there was no real end product in terms of chances. Jack Smith grafted manfully up top on his own and the midfield trio of Perkins, Marley and Ryan Smith were picking up most loose balls. The home side slowly worked there way into the game, looking to get the ball into the dangerous Crosby but for the most part the game was played in midfield with neither side in the ascendancy.
As a result chances were few and far between. The best of the half came from Olympic with Marley's 18 yard volley expertly tipped over by Athletic's keeper. The home sides best effort saw a low shot almost catch out Dunn in the Olympic goal but he saved well low to his right as it remained goalless at the break.
Half Time: 0-0
Both sides came out with intent but again neither side could really claim to be on top. The home side's right winger was seeing plenty of the ball and looked dangerous but as in the first half there was no end product. It was going to take something decent to break down either defence and so it proved as Olympic broke the deadlock on the hour. Ryan Smith played an excellent ball inside the fullback to young teenager Euan Sweeting. He got in front of his marker and advanced on goal. He still had plenty to do but drew the keeper before calmly slotting home to continue his excellent goal scoring form.
The home side responded well, seeing more of the ball but the Olympic defence was standing firm. That was until they got a penalty awarded out of nothing really. A loose ball broke in the box and young Jake Morris who has been outstanding this season, showed a moment of inexperience by diving in. It was an easy call for the ref and Crosby made no mistake from the spot.
This time it was Olympic who responded and they almost took the lead but for some brilliant defensive work. Ryan Smith's flicked header was latched onto by that man Sweeting. His superb first touch took him past the keeper but his goal-bound shot was cleared off the line by the covering fullback.
The game looked to be heading for a draw, which would have been about right, when the home side got a second penalty in the 85th minute. Crosby turned Smallwood in the box and the defender dangled a leg giving the referee no choice once again. Crosby picked himself up and scored his second of the game to give the home side the points.
Full Time: 2-1
Team: Dunn, Durham (Brindley), Smallwood, Spencer, J Morris, Perkins, Marley (Eatough), R Smith, Yeomans (Grant), Sweeting, J Smith.