U15 N.U.T. Trophy: Nottingham 2-2 Poole
Monday 05 March 2007By ESFA Office
After an even and pulsating semi-final on a very heavy pitch, Nottingham and Poole and East Dorset must meet again next week to decide which of them goes through to their first ever final of the ESFA U15 Inter Association Trophy, sponsored by the National Union of Teachers.
After a night of torrential rain, the main pitch at the University of Nottingham was waterlogged and the game was played on the only pitch which was playable. Despite a difficult journey on Friday night, Poole and East Dorset obviously found their hotel a comfortable one and for the first 15 minutes they were far quicker to the ball than the local side. Ben Reeves put them ahead after only four minutes when a long ball brushed the head of defender Mario Lopez and Reeves took advantage with a shot which was deflected by another defender past Luca Rocco into the net.
The visitors missed a number of chances although the home centre backs, Lopez and Giancarlo Rocco can also be given credit for some fine saving tackles. Nottingham gradually established a foothold in the game though they created only one real chance in the first half when Lamah Griggs left foot shot went past the post.
The game opened up in the second half with Nottingham looking far more dangerous and they drew level only ten minutes after the break with a superb set-piece goal, courtesy of their two outstanding players on the day. Matthew Wilkinson chipped a free-kick into the penalty box and Craig Clay made a superbly timed run which took him clear of the Poole and East Dorset defence to head in past Scott Wilson.
Four minutes later, Nottingham took the lead when Connor Hardy latched on to a loose ball at the left edge of the area and hit a blistering drive low into the bottom corner past Wilson. Nottingham now looked on top but indecision from two players in defence who could not clear a swirling ball allowed one of visitors? outstanding players, Luke Burbidge, to swivel in the area and place his shot to the left of Rocco to make the score 2-2.
A few minutes later, Burbidge nearly put Poole and East Dorset ahead with an effort similar to that of his goal which this time hit the bottom of the post, while at the other end, Griggs hit the bar for Nottingham. The home side nearly went ahead again when Hardy?s cross from the left was not held by Wilsonbut in the resulting scramble, Griggs and Tyrell Shannon-Lewis could not force the ball in as Wilson lay injured.
Both sides then had chances to win the game in the last ten minutes. First, a Wilkinson shot from 22 yards brought a brilliant save from Wilson and then Griggs just failed to climb high enough to head in the resulting corner. At the other end, a header by Matt Oldring from a corner just went wide while Dan McPhillimy shot high over from inside the penalty area.
Poole and East Dorset nearly surprised Rocco with a shot straight from the kick off for the first period of extra time and then another cross from Hardy was scrambled clear by the visitors. Lopez was outstanding in Nottingham?s defence and he made a timely saving tackle as Poole broke clear on goal. There were many tired legs in the second period of extra time but a good save by Rocco and a rather tame shot from Dale Stevenson for Nottingham were the only real incidents
Nottingham Giancluca Rocco, Julian McBride, Danile Orme, Giancarlo Rocco, Mario Lopez, Craig Clay, Luke Smithson, Matthew Wilkinson, Lamah Griggs, Dale Stevenson, Connor Hardy, Haydn Bowles, Lorone Francis, Emmet Edwards, Mikhail Cole, Tyrell Shannon-Lewis
Poole and East Dorset Scott Wilson, Patrick James, Aaron Bleach, Matt Oldring, Matt Gardiner, Sam Ball, Matt Kemble, Luke Burbidge, Tom Webb, Ashley Ayley, Ben Reeves, Alex Roberts, Dan McPhillimy, Sean Rowles-Smith, Charlie Tubbs, Grant Sharp
Referee: Kerry Walker (Burton-on-Trent) Assistant Referees: Keith Golding (Worksop) and Steve Abson (Leicester)
- 05th :: U15 N.U.T. Trophy: Nottingham 2-2 Poole