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U18s: Durham 2 Merseyside 3

Durham beaten in Northern Counties semi-final

Posted by: allan

Durham’s season came to a crashing halt when they managed to lose a game they were well capable of winning and in doing so gave up a chance of playing in the final of the Northern Counties Championships.

They got off to a good enough start taking the game to Merseyside and creating several chances before Billy Hall played Cieran Jackson in to keep his cool by shaking off his defender and taking the ball round the Merseyside goalkeeper Luke Carr and stroking the ball home on 12 minutes. They continued in this vein and it seemed only a matter of time that they would continue to add to this total as Merseyside relied on a long ball to their quick and elusive no 9 Michael Kielty. This tactic was as much a safety ploy as a threat to the Durham goal. However, in a bizarre turn of fate Durham managed to shoot themselves in the foot by conceding a needless penalty on 18 minutes which Kielty converted to level the score and then concede a goal from sloppy play 5 minutes later, which included the Durham goalkeeper palming the ball into his own net. So they found themselves 2-1 down after having all the positive play.

Despite a strong bench Durham decided to keep the same team on the pitch as they were creating so many chances. This all changed when Kielty broke free to chase a long through ball into the penalty area and slot past Owen Brown to give Merseyside a two goal cushion on the 55 minutes. Durham brought attacking midfielders Fergus Hawes and Callum Foster into the game and they also continued to get past Merseyside defenders with ease without any of the Durham lads being able to apply the killer touch. Striker James Thompson came into the game as Durham pushed an extra man up front to chase the tie and Foster brought the score to 3-2 on 88 minutes but this goal was a little too late as the clock was against the Durham lads at this stage and the season concluded with a great disappointment as this squad had got better as the season went on and they were more than capable of finishing the season with a winning note in the final.

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