Draw not enough for Hunts title bid

Midland Counties U16 Youth Championship Leicester & Rutland 1 Huntingdonshire 1 HUNTS needed to win this fixture to retain any chance of winning the championship so this must be regarded as a disappointing result. Only a point separated the two sides and

Midland Counties U16 Youth Championship

Leicester & Rutland 1 Huntingdonshire 1

HUNTS needed to win this fixture to retain any chance of winning the championship so this must be regarded as a disappointing result.

Only a point separated the two sides and they looked evenly-matched throughout this game with the final result being a fair reflection of how evenly the match was balanced.

It was an untidy start to the match as the sides sized each other up and after one effort by Michael Makami for Leicester that cleared the bar, Hunts spurned a great chance to take the lead when the unmarked Jake Balkwill headed a Simon Isaac corner onto the roof of the net.

Hunts then had a slice of luck as Joe Wignall cleverly set up Hogan Smith. His low shot beat Sam Palmer but rebounded to safety from the foot of a post.

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Makami used his pace well to get past his marker and send Nick Hatch clear but a great tackle by Brett Cooper saved the day for the visitors.

Leicester seemed to be enjoying the best of the exchanges late in the first half but Hunts broke away for Barrett Steward to test home goalkeeper Denham Hinds with a rising shot.

The visitors came out from the break looking more positive and confident with Wayne Childerley on as a substitute for Steward and he was quickly involved in the move that won Hunts a corner taken by skipper Simon Isaac.

His cross seemed to be totally misjudged by the home goalkeeper and was dug out of the net by a defender but the assistant referee flagged that the ball had crossed the line and Huntingdonshire were deservedly ahead five minutes into the second half.

However, the joy was short lived as only nine minutes later Hunts were caught square at the back. Oliver English crossed for substitute Daniel Hepworth, who was left unmarked, to plant his low shot into the net.

From that point onwards either side could have gone on to win as they both created good chances. Smith saw a shot rebound from the crossbar while at the other end Joe Furness had two efforts from outside the box well saved by Hinds.

A series of substitutions saw both sides adopt a more attacking approach and it was the visitors who came closest to snatching the win in injury time.

Isaac won the ball and set up Ben Yeomans but his close range shot was blocked by the goalkeeper who had left his line.

With Oxfordshire winning in Staffordshire it looks as though this draw may have prevented both sides from taking the title.

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