Dan Does the Double
On another bright sunny September Saturday Slazenger’s development team travelled to Harrogate, with a warning that the week pervious the same team had destroyed Airedale 13 – 0.
With young Harry Buttery back in net, his back four lined up with Matthew and Paul Chilton, Nick Calderly and Mayank Gupta. Harrogate gave an early warning putting together six passes and scoring within the first minute of the game. Slazengers hardly had time to reset their positions when Harrogate were at them again, the midfield pair of Geoff Birkett and Harry Gunning were under the cosh again and pegged back to the sixteen yard line. Ben Stevenson and Peter Gunning on the wings just couldn’t see a way to get the ball through to Dan Atkinson and Alex King.
Matthew and Nick were composed on the ball but Slazenger’s hit outs were weak affairs and Harrogate found their short range and quickly pounced on balls in quick succession and drove their advantage home scoring two more in quick succession.
Alex and Dan made some inroads into the Harrogate half although their attacks and runs were counteracted by a solid back three from Harrogate. After a ten minute frenetic period which exhausted many Slaz players and saw the midfield defend so deep that invited another goal from Harrogate Slazenger’s position looked precarious at best. A small chink of light appeared as Harry Gunning burst forward and rolled to the left post with two oncoming defenders the small midfielder swung a precise tomahawk shot that hit the top right of the goal against the run of play, but giving a tired team some hope.
The second half started with the captain’s word stinging the player’s ears. The press and hassling of players was to be a top priority for the second half and the team came out fighting. Harrogate were pressed back from the off and the pressure told with the play being in the top half of the field and counter attacks were confidently dealt with by Nick, Paul and Matthew.
A few heart stopping moments from two short corners were confidently dealt with by Matthew Smith and as Slaz managed to counter Dan Atkinson got on the end of a long ball from Geoff and passed to Peter who did a swift one two and Dan scored a second goal for Slaz. The ball travelled to both end of the pitch but Slaz were defiantly up for the game now and after a response and goal from Harrogate Slaz returned the favour with another route one ball to Dan Atkinson who rounded the keeper and battled a defender to gain another goal for his double.
Final score 5-3