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U16 Boys: Greater Manchester 1 Durham 3

Durham progress into Northern Counties final

Posted by: allan

A battling performance by the Durham team earned them a fine victory over Greater Manchester and a place in the NCSFA U16 Boys Inter-county final for the fourteenth time.

Although it was a fine, sunny day a strong northerly wind blew down the pitch and Greater Manchester took advantage of this in the first half.

Both sides created openings in the first half, but the defences of both teams remained strong and, so, it remained goalless at half time.

At half time Greater Manchester made two changes. The introduction of the substitutes had the right effect as the home side pressed for the opening goal. This duly arrived in the 54th minute. The attack began down the Greater Manchester right. The ball was crossed and arrived at the far post where Ben Woods was on hand to fire the ball home.

Durham did not let this setback affect their play. They nearly equalised in the 64th minute but Dan Pringle’s attempt was narrowly wide of the target.

Two minutes later Durham were level. The ball was played out from defence by Jake Gair for Ellis Creighton to run onto. Ellis held off a defensive challenge, rounded the Greater Manchester keeper then calmly slid the ball into an empty goal.

With 9 minutes remaining Durham were ahead thanks to Dan Flude who managed to knock the ball home following a scramble in the goal area after Greater Manchester had failed to clear a corner.

As the clock ticked down Greater Manchester pressed for an equaliser but Durham were determined not to concede their lead and defended magnificently.

The game was into the 4th minute of added time when yet another late Greater Manchester attack was stopped. And Durham gained possession. The ball was quickly sent across field to Charlie Hindson who was just inside his own half. Because Greater Manchester were committed to attack, and their goalkeeper was well away from goal, Charlie wasted no time in shooting from the halfway line and scoring Durham’s third goal to give breathing space for the visitors.

Unfortunately, 3 minutes later, an excellent game ended on a sour note as a Greater Manchester player was shown a red card for a dangerous tackle.

Durham travel to Liverpool to play Merseyside in the final. This will be the third time the two counties have played each other in the final with the Merseysiders winning the previous two.

Durham’s last appearance in the final was in season 2014-15 and their last victory in the competition was season 1998-99.

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