U18s: Cumbria 0 Durham 5
Durham U18s got their defence of the Northern Counties Championship off to a great start with a well-deserved 5-0 victory at Cumbria.
Despite being slightly late due to traffic problems and having a minimal warm up before the game Durham started brightly and set about their task with enthusiasm and energy. They took the sting out of Cumbria by moving the ball through all areas of the pitch with pace and precision and they set an early warning of what was to come by creating some good chances to test James Dawson in the Cumbria goal. Durham got the reward for their early endeavour when front runner Andrei Ardelean got on the end of a deep cross from overlapping left back Callum Webster looping a header over Dawson to open the scoring with 10 minutes on the clock. Not to be outdone on the opposite flank, right back Tom Joyce made an impressive run forward cutting in from the touchline and powering a shot across Dawson only to be denied by the woodwork. Both full backs supplying some valuable width and support runs to pen back the Cumbrian forwards.
In near perfect playing conditions Durham goalkeeper Kieron Stoker was an onlooker at this stage and two minutes later Ardelean got his second before his strike partner Dan Maddison unselfishly squared the ball for him to claim his hat trick all within the first 20 minutes. Play maker Jay Redman made it 4-0 and the impressive Ardelean got his fourth and Durham’s fifth shortly before half time. Durham then began to rotate the solid midfield quartet of Luke Bailey, Jay Redman, Dan Mitchell and Aaron Duell to maintain team focus and composure and ensure that complacency did not creep in due to the emphatic scoreline.
As play resumed after the break Cumbria’s early physical exchanges sent the message that they intended to make a game of it despite being on the wrong end of the 5-0 scoreline. However, the pattern of the game remained the same with Dawson being the busier of the keepers and Durham’s replacement goalkeeper Iain Macleod showing he was up for the test by taking a corner high in the air with strength and purpose despite the crowded goalmouth. Durham continued to carve out chances but were disappointed not to add to their goal tally during what was a good start to the new inter-county season and three points that sets them up nicely for the games ahead. Players and management team can consider this was a job well done and there were signs that the U18s have a squad to work with to produce results as the season progresses.
- Kieran Stoker (Sunderland College)
- Tom Joyce (St Thomas More), Callum Webster (Carmel College), Nathan Kett (QE College, Darlington), Adam Little (St Bede’s RC, Lanchester)
- Luke Bailey (St John’s RC), Dan Mitchell (St Aidan’s Catholic Academy), Aaron Duell (Monkwearmouth), Jayven Redman (Sunderland College)
- Andrei Ardelean (New College, Durham), Dan Maddison (St Joseph’s Catholic Academy)
- Substitutes used: Iain Macleod (Gateshead College), Kyle Davidson (Carmel College), Billy Hall (St Bede’s RC, Lanchester), Joe Gibson (Sunderland College)
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