Categories: General
      Date: 11/01/17
     Title: U18s: Durham 1 Northumberland 2

Durham lose to a last minute goal

Durham U18s are left depending on other results to fall favourably their way after a narrow 2-1 defeat v Northumberland in a game where all people who witnessed this game were left wondering how Durham ended up on the losing side – and hand the Derek Watson Trophy back to Northumberland.

On a still night, perfect for football, both sides took a while to settle into any rhythm in a scrappy opening fifteen minutes and it was Kieran Stoker in the Durham goal who was forced into the first save, diving low to his right to palm a shot away for a corner as Northumberland tried to get the early dominance. This was the only period that statement could be made as Durham played their way into the game and forced the Northumberland side back to make an even contest - gradually increasing their dominance as the game progressed. The game was well contested all over the pitch which led to half chances at either end but Callum Harley in the Northumberland goal was in inspired form, making good saves from Andrei Ardelean, Dan Maddison and Jayven Redman in successive attacks. Northumberland midfielder Jack Cooper kept his team motivated at this stage and they took advantage of confusion in the Durham defence when Northumberland centre back Craig Burdis stabbed the ball home from close range and they held the 1-0 scoreline until half time.

Durham stepped their game up in dramatic fashion in the second half and went on to dominate the game throughout the whole 45 minutes. Comfortable and confident in defence, solid and creative in midfield and energetic and mobile up front it only seemed a matter of time until Durham got themselves back in the game. The moment seemed to arrive when Redman was felled unceremoniously in the penalty area only for the referee to wave the appeals away. Dan Mitchell struck the bar with a header from a corner and the ball bounced to safety. Jak Hanson was introduced into the Durham front line and had an immediate impact with his strong running and tricky footwork and Northumberland were reduced to counter-attacks at this stage and Durham forced another free kick from which a second penalty claim was awarded and just when it seemed that this was the breakthrough that Durham needed Harley pulled out another top class save from the spot kick.

Durham put this disappointment behind them and kept applying the pressure and got their reward when Redman turned his defender in the penalty area to find the bottom corner and even the score. Billy Hall and Kyle Davidson were also brought into the game as Durham felt they could now go on to win it and they continued to press. However, as often happens in football there was a cruel twist of fate as they fell for a sucker punch when a Northumberland counter attack led to them scoring a dramatic winner in the final minutes to deliver a bitter and undeserved blow to the Durham players. It was a game that Durham deserved a point and to share the Derek Watson Trophy at the very least.

If the Durham players can repeat a spirited display as was witnessed in this second half they will go into their quarter final of the ESFA National Trophy against either Greater Manchester with confidence. This game takes place at Maiden Castle on Saturday 14 January with a 2pm kick off.