Report by U9 Manager, Tom Poole
Keen to secure a good result following a series of unfortunate defeats in the past few weeks, Swifts started their squad of 10 for the day with Ethan Brook continuing in Goal, Isaac Payne & Callum Keenan in defence, Blake Howard as a central midfielder, with Ned Jackman on the right, Jude Rutland on the left and Noah Poole as a striker. From the substitutes bench; Archie Wright, Henry Harrington Turner and Henry Conduct would prove useful options.
Swifts started the match strongly, putting pressure onto their opponents from the off - and within the first minute, won themselves a corner. To the delight of the coaches, a newly worked training-ground corner routine worked like a dream, with a strong cross from Callum Keenan reaching Ned Jackman whose resulting shot was parried away by the Bloxham keeper - before Noah Poole clinically finished off the rebound to give Swifts an early goal.
The goal changed very little, and Swifts were soon on the attack again, with a Jude Rutland cross powerfully hit by Noah Poole, and well saved by the opposition keeper. A Ned Jackman lay-off then saw a Jude Rutland shot also saved. Pressure was kept up with Ned Jackman runs gaining first a free kick on the edge of the box, followed by a penalty being awarded to Swifts. The Bloxham keeper did well in saving Ned Jackman’s penalty, and the follow up from Noah Poole possibly went over the line - but no goal was given.
A series of great long balls from defender Isaac Payne, and a good Noah Poole cross in the following minutes led to further goal attempts by Swifts - although Bloxham defended well and had now found their feet, making dangerous attacks of their own. Callum Keenan and Blake Howard were both called upon to hold the line, both making good tackles, and not allowing Bloxham any time on the ball in midfield.
Ned Jackman made an excellent tackle to break up another Bloxham attack, and a minute later Isaac Payne managed to catch up with a breakaway Bloxham striker to make a great last-ditch tackle to save Swifts blushes. The next Bloxham attack saw Ned Jackman again covering the defence with another tackle - although this time Swifts used the ball well and accurate passing up field led to a Jude Rutland run on the counter, and a well taken goal.
Swifts now did all they could to extend their lead before half time - but credit must be given to the Bloxham defence. A game of pin-pall commenced within the Bloxham penalty area with at least 10 shots fired in from Callum Keenan, Noah Poole, Henry Harrington Turner, Jude Rutland and Ned Jackman – all somehow blocked.
Swifts switched up the Line-up for the beginning of the second half - Ethan Brook remained in goal, with Isaac Payne now partnered by Henry Conduct in defence. Ned Jackman slid across into centre midfield, with Henry Harrington Turner on the right, Archie Wright on the left and Jude Rutland as striker.
Swifts started the second half at speed - and immediately after the restart, some great midfield passing led to a saved Jude Rutland shot. Within another minute, Ned Jackman found himself free on the right and fired in a superb long range shot from outside the box to successfully beat the keeper in the opposite corner of the net.
From the Bloxham kick-off, Swifts immediately won back the ball - Jude Rutland ran free and blasted in a shot to hit the back of goal. Only two minutes after that, in a breathless opening few minutes - a run down the left by Archie Wright and a cross into the box led to another Jude Rutland goal, and Swifts had scored 3 in the opening 5 minutes of the second half.
Bloxham did recover and slowed down the deluge of Swifts attempts – but could do nothing as Jude Rutland, already with a hat-trick, made a telling pass to Henry Harrington Turner - who managed to beat the keeper to make another goal for Swifts.
Chippy were flying high and had put everything into the match so far, but with tired legs showing, Bloxham were not going to quietly accept the result. Henry Conduct and Isaac Payne covered the defence well but the pressure was telling and Bloxham won a series of corners. A good Bloxham attack in numbers managed to get through the Swifts defence, and Ethan Brook was called on to make a series of excellent saves, his concentration hadn’t dipped despite most of the action being at the other end – He is proving more and more every week to be an excellent addition to the squad.
Swifts nearly had one further goal following a good dribble and cross from Archie Wright, although this time Bloxham managed to defend well and clear the ball away.
In the final minutes of the game, two Bloxham attackers managed to break free again and get behind the Swifts defenders - with the resulting shot well taken into the corner of the goal. Ethan Brook managed to get a touch once again, but this time around, not quite enough to deflect it away from danger. A well-deserved consolation goal for Bloxham.
Swifts played with determination and teamwork that they need to keep hold of going into future games. Well taken goals by the Swifts attackers may grab the headlines, but it was the hard working and most disciplined defence of Isaac Payne, Callum Keenan, Henry Conduct, Blake Howard and Ethan Brook that probably won the day, and kept the score line so one sided.