Report by Tom Poole, U9 Manager
The Under 9’s first away game of the season was against Bampton Town (the furthest South we ever traveled for a match), and Swifts were full of hope to come back after the preceding week. The starting line up was Ethan Brook in goal, Isaac Payne and Henry Harrington Turner in defence, Callum Keenan as a centre Midfielder, Henry Conduct on the right, Jude Rutland on the left with Noah Poole as a striker. This left Blake Howard, Archie Wright and Ethan Soper to make their appearances from the bench.
Upon kick-off it immediately became apparent that the two sides were evenly matched, the ball travelling end to end, attack followed by counter attack. Both sides were playing some attractive football with smart off the ball runs, accurate passing and good clean tackling in abundance.
Numerous Swifts attacks had a consistent theme of either Jude Rutland or Noah Poole bursting into the opposition half and then passing to the other to find a shooting opportunity - these attacks resulted in two good corners in the opening period, both fired in by Callum Keenan, although each time Swifts were unfortunately without a player at the back post to ready to fire them in.
Swifts defence and midfield performed their jobs admirably allowing only limited scoring opportunities to Bampton. Gone was the habit from the previous week of trying to dribble out of trouble and instead accurate strong passing was the order of the day. The tackling by Payne and Harrington Turner was excellent.
One Bampton attack however, proved just too strong and on the 15-minute mark they fired a powerful and accurate shot from the edge of the box into the corner of the goal. But heads did not go down. Straight away, Jude Rutland was again setting up Noah Poole for a shot, only just collected by the Bampton keeper, and then a minute later, Poole was crossing to Rutland for a shot fired in narrowly wide.
Then on 23 minutes, the partnership finally bore fruit, Jude Rutland worked his way into the corner, surrounded by 3 Bampton players, and still managed to twist and turn and find the gap to pass the ball into the centre of the box for Noah Poole to have only the keeper to beat and there was no missing this one.
For the second half, Swifts made some wide scale changes, which ultimately appeared to make Swifts lose their momentum. Isaac Payne took over in goal, Blake Howard and Noah Poole at the back as defenders, Ethan Soper in Midfield, Henry Harrington Turner on the right, Archie Wright on the left and Ethan Brook as a striker.
Bampton turned on the pressure and would have likely had another early goal, if not for some excellent defensive work from Blake Howard.
Swifts woke up with a series of passes leading to Henry Harrington Turner setting up Archie Wright for a run on a goal. Wright managed to beat the keeper - only for the ball strike the post and rebound away from danger.
As the second half wore on Bampton began to assert a dominance over Swifts, and weak clearance away from penalty area gave them the opportunity for an excellent strike across the goal and into the top corner, Isaac Payne with no chance of stopping.
It was still all to play for. It took until the 46th minute for the next serious goal opportunity for Bampton, when they had a player brought down for a foul just outside the penalty area. A powerful and accurate free kick found the back of the net, and Swifts now had it all to do with no time left to do it. Trying their hardest to get at least one goal back, Swifts only gave Bampton the chance to break free again and find themselves with a 3 on 1 attack in the box, a simple pass and well taken shot and the game was done.
Bampton were perhaps deserving winners although Swifts can not help but rue some missed opportunities. They will continue to work and improve, and will hopefully be back to their best next week, when they face Carterton Town at Greystones (September 28th).