SALFORD SCHOOLS FA U15S V BOLTON SCHOOLS U15S FINAL
By kind permission of Hyde United FC.
A cold breeze blew across Ewan Fields, home of Hyde United’s 4G pitch at the start of this final game for Salford Schools Under 15s team.
Indeed a final it was, against a strong Bolton side in the Greater Manchester County Schools FA final.
After a disrupted season due to Covid 19, a strong run in the English Schools FA Trophy and a good showing in the North West league, Salford took to the field in confident mood.
It certainly was a confident start from the Salford youngsters who, for the first ten minutes or so, pinned Bolton back with some accurate and clever play from the back through the midfield and up to the forwards.
This early set back didn’t seem to deter the boys who saw a corner cleared and a free kick blocked in quick succession.
However, Bolton were battling to get back into the game and capitalise on their lead. A breaking run down the Salford right produced a great tackle from right back Tyler.
The Salford back line of Tyler, Pike, Lavelle and Inwood were giving nothing away and with Mann and Salford’s captain Scruton busy in midfield, Salford, the more creative of the two teams, probed and prodded away at the Bolton defence.
However the Bolton back line held firm despite the attentions of Hodgson and Koo. A shot by Mann just wide of the Bolton post was followed by a Scruton free kick from 30 yards out.
The shot was blocked and somehow stayed out with Koo trying in vain to force the ball over the line. In the final minutes of the half, Bolton fought back and won a rare corner which was headed over from close range. A good half for Salford soured by a goal against the run of play saw them go in at half time 1-0 down.
The break seemed to favour Bolton who brought a more positive attitude to their play. The first chance of the second half fell to them when the ball was given away in the Salford midfield.
The resulting shot at goal was deflected out for a corner which was saved by McCaffrey. A Salford change saw Hatch and Hodgson replaced by Williams and Adeoti.
The pace and intensity of the game increased slowly with both teams now giving their all to score the all important next goal. After a poor tackle on Koo, tempers initially and understandably flared but were quashed immediately and the game continued at pace.
It was Bolton who took the initiative and a good break forward saw McCaffrey called into action again, making a superb block to deny the Bolton forward who saw his follow up shot go over the bar. The pace of Williams seemed to unsettle the Bolton defence and a promising attack with Tyler and Koo was eventually broken up.
The final 15 minutes of the game provided a grandstand finale with both sides battling for the ball and providing the spectators a thrilling end. However, with the light fading and the all important next goal eluding both sides, the referee blew his whistle to signal the end of the game.
It was disappointment for a battling Salford team that gave everything, providing some neat football, especially in the first half but eventually succumbing to a goal early in the first half.
Both sides provided a good standard of football with Salford acquitting themselves well in their final game representing their city at this level.
Managers Pete Inwood and John Peters are justifiably proud of this set of lads and wish them all the very best as they progress forward with their football and careers.