Buntingford Cougars Whites 2 Fairlands Blacks 2
Cougars Whites earned a well deserved draw with Fairlands at The Bury on Saturday in a hugely entertaining match with numerous chances at both ends. The opening minutes were even with both sides working tirelessly to win possession in the middle of the park but both teams finding it difficult to hold on to possession for more than a couple of passes.
After ten minutes it was the visitors that started to trouble the goal but Callum Nye was alert in between the Cougars sticks and came off his line to dive bravely at the feet of the Stevenage based attackers and then saved at his near post. The hosts then stepped up a gear and the midfield pairing of Josh Ridings and Tom Carter started to trouble Fairlands Blacks with their determination and efforts.
As half time approached it looked as though honours would be even at the interval but Fairlands thought differently and a low shot from outside the area opened the scoring after bobbling over the unlucky Nye in goal.
The second half again started evenly but was a little more open and this enabled the likes of Sam Daly and Josh Lucas to dictate the play with their movement on and off the ball. This seemed to motivate the rest of the team and the relentless Kameron Weston earned himself a penalty after picking up the ball out on the right and thrust towards the goal where a late tackle tripped him in the box. The tenacious midfielder coolly picked up the ball and hit a powerful shot which the visitors guardian could only parry into the roof of the net.
Cougars defensive trio of George Hegarty, Brogan Fakhfakh and Ciaran Jenkins then started to contain the lively visitors and dictate play with some clever passing from the back and the match looked like it was heading for a draw before Tom Carter’s tackle caught a visitors midfielder resulting in a free kick from 25yards away. The Fairlands player drove the ball in direct from the free kick and the ball flew past the Cougars keeper to put Fairlands ahead.
Cougars then stepped up a gear in the last three minutes and deservedly scored an equalizer after some great work by Josh Ridings concluded with team mate Josh Ridings scoring from close range. Cougars had to defend a couple of late Fairlands corners but resisted well for the draw. The Man of the Match accolade was a difficult choice but went to Sam Daly for his tenacity and his never say die attitude which was an example to all.
After the match Cougars Coach Dean Howard commented “Our Cougars Whites displayed a lot of character today, after coming back from a goal down twice to get a draw and with every player contributing with huge amounts of effort and determination we are really pleased and very proud”.
Buntingford Cougars Blues 1 Fairlands Yellows 1
Cougars Blues ended up coming from a goal down as they hosted Fairlands Yellows in a game with lots to show Greg Dyke that grassroots football is full of skill, teamwork and positive attitudes as well as hugely enthusiastic Coaches and spectators.
The start of the match certainly woke everyone from their easy Sunday morning as the visitors from Stevenage from the kick off moved swiftly and skillfully to score after just eighteen seconds. The hosts then worked hard to contain a technically astute Fairlands and were somewhat fortunate as the Yellows hit the post twice with the Callum Nye in the Cougars goal well beaten on both occasions.
As the first half neared its end the play started to become a little more even as Cougars Nathan Anderson and Hayden Walley began to influence the encounter a little more however the home side were probably more relived to get a break than Fairlands.
After half time Buntingford decided that they would come to the party and showed a little more of what they are capable of. With Jimmy White and Jake Votariello winning duels all over the pitch the midfield team of Charlie Fountain and Jack Gurney really started to find gaps in the opposition defence and Cougars looked like they may get something from the game. Indeed it was a sign of things to come when Andersen hit a looped shot from outside of the box that hit the cross bar.
With five minutes remaining Cougars did even the match up when a good team move found George Godfrey who slotted home from the edge of the area for his second goal in consecutive weeks. The draw was a fair result after an entertaining game enjoyed by all players and spectators. Man of the match was awarded to Jake Votariello for some great tackling and superb distribution from the back.
Cougars U10s Manager Richard Daly said after the game “Our Blues were rudely awoken with a very fast goal today and have to learn that they must start concentrating as soon as they arrive in the warm up so they are not caught out like that again. However having said that the team recovered well and on the balance of play and number of chances deserved a draw today. There was lots of progress and player development evident today and that is what we want to see”.