Evening games are always a tricky affair and the pitch also played a big part in tonight’s match against Wollaton, who’ve struggled to live in the top division this season.
Raddcliffe were keeping the ball well and controlling possession in the opening exchanges but were a little wasteful in front of goal with a host of chances snatched at or driven off target. The best chance of the game so far then fell to Wollaton when their tricky striker held the ball well and ran through the back line to get away a shot that was well charged down by Tom Martindale to deny them the opener.
Radcliffe just couldn't seem to make their masses of possession count and the build up was getting slower and more pedestrian as the game went on. Finally, a bit of skill and a smart shot from Fin Jackson rebounded to Will Quilter in the packed area and his left foot drive was powerful enough to get through the bodies and nestle in the net for 0-1 (30).
Radcliffe had a few more chances before the break but nothing that the keeper couldn’t deal with and just the one goal separated the two sides even though possession told a different story.
A tough team talk focussing on energy, drive and playing to the pitch conditions over and we were out for the second half. Radcliffe were immediately a bit more vocal and pinned Wollaton deep in their own territory. Again, chances were spurned and the post also came to the keeper’s rescue but the tempo was much better and it was only a matter of time.
George Arrowsmith managed to get the ball down th right channel and his driven shot clipped Fin Jackson and diverted past a stranded keeper, much to the remonstrations of the Wollaton back line, for 0-2 (48).
Again, Wollaton had a chance to pull one back when a long ball caught the Radcliffe line too high and, but for a heavy first touch, their striker would have been one on one with Harvey Woodward.
Radcliffe's football was good now and Wollaton were starting to get frustrated with their lack of possession. Nathan Stocks was rewarded for his great play with a quality assist when George Arrowsmith never gave up on his through ball and managed to nick it just in front of the keeper and stab home for 0-3 (73).
Tails up, Radcliffe were now dominant and a quick brace from Jack Willis capped his great performance. The first a good drive into th box and shot past the keeper from Will Quilter’s cross for 0-4 (76). The second just a minute later from an Ollie Jones-Wilkinson ball that he smartly diverted into the corner with his head for 0-5 (77).
From the resulting goal kick the Wollaton team seemed to give up completely and the keeper didn’t even leave his line from a deflected pass. Thank you very much said George Arrowsmith who tapped home for 0-6 (77).
The game then descended into a bit of a farce as the Wollaton manager had a major strop and left the sidelines, collecting the corner flags as he went, shouting at his team all the while...
Totally unfair on the poor lads who’d tried for 77 minutes. The referee had seen enough and blew early for full time to bring the game to a premature end.
6-0 and it could (and probably should) have been more but the boys take another 3 points and that’s what matters.
My man of the match tonight goes to Tom Martindale who, noticing that the pressure was less on the back line than usual, pressed really high and played almost a second winger role with some quality distribution and defending when needed.