Old Bradwell United – 3
Grendon Rangers – 0
Grendon Rangers held Old Bradwell United at bay for forty-five minutes at Abbey Road on Saturday but just three minutes after the break their resistance broke and from there the hosts took control to run out comfortable winners. United did in fact get the ball in the back of the Rangers net in the first half but it was disallowed, they dominated the game and the treble after the half-time oranges were no more than they deserved, Rangers manager Steven Jackman admitting afterwards his injury ravaged side were always going to be up against it against their high flying opponents, their win lifting them up to joint third place in the Spartan South Midlands Football League Division Two table. The away side were so short of players that Jackman drafted in two sixteen year olds for the fixture, one had to start the game whilst the other came on late in the game and both received glowing commendations from their manager after the game.
The game took a while to get going and it was eight minutes old before the first shot of note, a free kick to the home side was lofted up into the box and cleared but on the edge of the penalty arc Scott Valentine tried his luck but only got under the ball and lifted it high over James Cox in the Grendon goal. Their next move saw Ben Green fed behind the Rangers defensive line and his shot was tipped away by Cox who flung himself to his left to save despite a raised flag, Green then cut in from the left wing to evade a defender but could only drag his shot wide.
A Bradwell free kick curled into the back post saw a mass of bodies go up and as Stuart Leonard tried to clear, the ball cannoned off home defender Dan Smith allowing him to get a snap shot away but only up into the waiting gloves of Cox. The first chance for the visitor’s fell to centre half Mark O’Dell when a loose ball invited him to shoot from twenty yards but he could only drag wide, at the opposite end a knock over the top saw Ross Butler through on goal and his early effort saw a brilliant block by Cox using his feet and eventually cleared by a covering defender.
A sliced clearance then almost set United up for the opener, with players pushed up Jacob Hack was in behind but his attempted lob cleared the bar, then with eight minutes of the half left a free kick swung in saw a plethora of heads go up and as the ball nestled in the back of the net the assistant referee raised his flag for offside. The half ended with Grendon enjoying some possession, a free kick some twenty-five yards out saw Joe Walls drive over Liam Jahn in the home goal frame before a driving run from midfield by Will Young saw him aim for the bottom corner only for an out stretched boot to divert for a corner. H/T: 0-0
Before anyone had settled for the second half the hosts took the lead, good work down the left from Green saw the ball end up at the feet of Valentine just inside the box and his low drive took a deflection off a Grendon player to divert past Cox into the bottom corner, from here there was only one outcome. United sensed more goals and piled on the pressure, a cross from Aaron Bhasin out on the wing was met right in front of goal by Green but his glancing header didn’t have enough contact and bounced across the six-yard box and wide of the far post.
Another golden chance was spurned when Butler worked hard in the corner to pull back to Valentine who squared to Green in front of goal but he lifted over the top, a free kick floated in was attacked by another swarm of bodies but getting there first Jakk Pursey headed wide, the scoreline was finally doubled on sixty-six minutes when a set piece curled into the goal mouth eluded a number of players in front of goal and waiting his chance Dan Smith converted from close range.
It was three just four minutes later, a Bradwell attacked resulted in the ball going out and despite the protests from the home side the referee pointed for a goal kick, Cox sent long downfield but it was headed back and in behind Green was away from his marker to advance into the box and slot home. Grendon won a corner that Walls curled in and from underneath his own crossbar Jahn had to palm over to safety, at the other end a vicious drive from Darryl Smith from eighteen yards saw Cox having to leap in the air to push over, the corner cleared out to Pursey who thrashed over the bar, the last chance fell to Walls who tried to lob the keeper from twenty yards or so, but Jahn pedalled quickly enough to gather at full stretch. F/T: 3-0
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