Sun 22
Under 15's
3
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4
League
Launton FC
L Pretorius (19'), A Itah (31'), C Davies (53')
U15: Chipping Norton Swifts 3-4 Launton FC

U15: Chipping Norton Swifts 3-4 Launton FC

By Chipping Norton Swifts FC
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Swifts U15's 100% start to the season was ended, by a late Launton comeback in a highly charged, physical game at Greystones.


Swifts were without Alex Ford for the game through illness, so were once again without a substitute, and forced into one change from the side who beat Grendon the previous week, with Lewis Pretorius slotting straight into the vacant wide spot to start the game. Otherwise the team was unchanged; Kian Cozier in goal, with a back four in front of him of Harry Thomas, Owen Hancock, Charlie Rose and Freddie Jeffrey. In midfield, Jerome Davies acted as the anchor in defensive midfield, with Ben Hughes and Rex Chiles ahead of him. Lewis Pretorius and Cole Davies were the wingers, with Ajay Itah up front.

The opening stages saw Swifts start well - with their first opportunity coming after 6 minutes - Lewis Pretorius held up the ball in the penalty area from a Harry Thomas throw in, before being tackled as he looked to turn - the loose ball fell to Jerome Davies, who strode forward and struck an effort towards goal, which flicked away off the crossbar. Jerome then saw a free kick sail over, with Chippy by far the stronger looking side.

Swifts gained several chances and were utterly dominant in the first 20 minutes - they gained a lot of joy through Lewis Pretorius down the right hand side, with Launton eventually needing to double or even triple up on him when in possession.

Eventually Swifts gained their much deserved opening goal - some brilliant defending from Owen Hancock saw him get his body between his opponent and the ball, and winning a free kick in the process. The kick was sent long by Kian Cozier, and flicked on by Rex Chiles. Lewis Pretorius read the bounce and raced in on goal, winning the 50/50 with the last defender to get clear, before rolling under the goalkeeper for his 3rd in 3 games.

Launton were shell-shocked at this point - and after finally going a goal down, were firmly on the back foot, and unable to keep the ball. Swifts were all over them - shots from Ben Hughes, Rex Chiles and Jerome Davies were all blocked well by the defence - before Launton’s first foray forward in the game saw them force a good save out of Kian Cozier - a cross from the right went through the legs of both Freddie Jeffrey and Owen Hancock, and fall to the winger all of 6 yards from goal. His shot was straight at the feet of Cozier, but it still needed to be saved, as it was flicked wide of the far post.

But Swifts were ultimately the architects of their own downfall - after being superb for 25 minutes, they needlessly threw people forward to try and double the lead, and were caught out. A long ball down the left wasn’t properly cleared, with the number 16 running clear. Harry Thomas did superbly to recover and get back across, but this only served to deflect the shot into the near corner, away from Kian Cozier.

At this point the half became an end-to-end affair, with both teams getting chances. Swifts took their first real opening though, re-taking the lead after 31 minutes - a Freddie Jeffrey cross caused all sorts of indecision at the back, with Launton unable to clear - a goalmouth scramble inside the 6 yard box was eventually bundled home by Ajay Itah, who got his 9th of the Season. He then got in behind again, but such is his confidence at the moment, he hit the side netting from a tight angle, when he perhaps could have squared across goal.

Launton then came agonisingly close to equalising just before the break - a through ball into their number 14 saw him one-on-one with an onrushing Kian Cozier - only to scoop his shot off the post - with the rebound somehow evading the number 8 who had darted forward to try and get to the loose ball - eventually Swifts scrambled it clear; and went into the break ahead.

HALF TIME: SWIFTS 2-1 LAUNTON

The Second half became much, much more of a feisty affair, with plenty of nasty challenges, some harsh words from both sides, and plenty of complaints to the referee over decisions, with the game being such a battle. It was end-to-end, with plenty of drama until the very end.

The first meaningful moment of the half saw Launton draw level once again after just 3 minutes of play - a clumsy free kick was given away by Swifts on the left hand side, which was swung in, and seemingly misjudged by Kian Cozier, as it flew over his head and into the far corner of the net.

But Swifts fought back with a free kick of their own after 53 minutes. Lewis Pretorius was fouled for the umpteenth time by his marker on the right for a free kick, which he swung in himself - it fell at the back post onto the head of Cole Davies, who drilled a header low into the near corner, leaving the 'keeper with no chance, to give Swifts the lead for the third time in the game with his third goal of the season.

The game was quiet in terms of chances for the following 15 minutes of the game, the only opening falling to Cole Davies again - he cut inside after receiving a pass from Ben Hughes, only to see his shot from the edge of the box skim just wide of the far post, with the goalkeeper flying across goal looking worried, and well beaten.

There was to be a twist. 71 minutes had been played, just 9 left on the clock, when Owen Hancock did brilliantly to win a ball high up the pitch, and drive forward - Ajay Itah span and made a run but in trying to get the ball under control to then find him, Hancock lost possession, and with a long punt forward, the visitors immediately took advantage of the space that was left open - the number 14 using his pace to get clear, and finish on the rebound, after his first effort was initially saved by Kian Cozier.

Swifts were once again the architects of their own downfall, and made the same mistake for the second time in the game - despite being pegged back, they were on course for a very decent point against a strong and combative side, but instead threw bodies forward for a winner - and were caught again. This time it was the killer blow, with no time left to recover (although they almost did with a shot from Ben Hughes that needed to be palmed away by the keeper) - one long ball over the top beat the high line and the number 14 sealed his hat-trick, with an almost identical goal.

Frustrating for Swifts, who did more than enough to get something out of the game, whether that was just a point, or all three. Their first 25 minutes was as good as any performance they've ever put in, and they will need to channel that going into future games. There is a break in league action for a few weeks now, with other sides in cup action (Swifts have a first round bye in both competitions), but they will be back next week to face Moreton Rangers in a friendly (September 28th).

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Match details

Match date

Sun 22, Sep 2019

Kickoff

14:00