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Needham gets the job done for the battling Swallows

With four games left in this season’s Second Division of the Meadowhall and Bud Evans Sports Sheffield and District League, Swallownest Swallows Under-18’s continue to look up, not down, after yesterday’s battling 3-2 win at Sheffield FC Red. 

The guys have been taking turns at reporting on each game for the Swallownest FC Website and the Bootiful Game, and this time it is the turn of Rhys Ellis to replace boots with keyboard for another excellent match review. Take it away, Rhys.  

Needham gets the job done for the battling Swallows.

As perfect days go for playing football, Swallownest’s game away at Sheffield FC was one of them. In a massive clash, between a high flying Swallownest in 8th and their opponents in 9th this, like every other game was a must win. Swallownest were forced to start with 11 men as their very own Eric Cantona chip madness Samir decided he’d turn up at half time – because why not, writes Rhys Ellis. 

Due to this shortage of players, there was a new centre back partnership to be formed. Swall’s very own Archie Goddard was to be paired with part time waiter, part time footballer Rhys Ellis who had been handed a rare day off work for this tough encounter. This partnership however, has worked before at school level; Sheffield FC unaware of the Maldini/Nesta-like partnership to come. 

The game started off with Swall the brightest. It was the midfield pair of Ryan Coyle and Josh Birks who sprung to life, spraying balls left, right and centre like a prime Steven Gerrard and Xabi Alonso. Surprisingly, with the away side having much of the ball, it was Swall who came closest to scoring in the opening few minutes, with a beauty of a ball played through by none other than Ryan Coyle, setting off Corey Kelleher to race onto the ball down the wing and force a corner for the away side. 

Corners proved to be a real threat for Swall, as due to the narrow pitch, both takers in Jack Wood and Ryan Coyle had plenty to aim at when they drilled their crosses in. It was the mighty Swall who struck first with a move they had been working on prior to the game. Corey Delap, with his mega thrown in, managed to find Jack in the box who crossed the ball after a turn, in to Josiah, with the striker making no mistake and continuing Swall’s and his prolific form. 

Around 10 mins later, Swall struck again. Billy Parker, or should I say, Alison Becker pulled out a beauty of a ball from his own box to set Josiah running once again. Josiah, as cool as ice, slotted the ball into back of the onion bag making the score 2-0 to the away side.

If you listened hard enough, you could hear Swall-Siro rocking as the goal went in. 

Swallownest could’ve had three. Josiah after a brilliant assist from Billy Parker for the 2nd time in the match, took the ball within his stride before being fouled by the opposition goalkeeper. The resulting penalty, unfortunately, was missed and this could have crushed Sheffield FC’s confidence if converted. It was important for Swallownest to keep focused and keep their heads; Sheffield FC are no push over’s and after a few quality pieces of defending from Josh Flower and George West and the rest of the team.

Half time followed; Sheffield FC 0 Swallownest 2.

The second-half started, with Swallownest having to deal with a huge amount of pressure put on by the home side; and Billy Parker – for reasons unknown to anyone playing – decided he would switch sports and bring out his rugby side. The Swall goalkeeper making a rugby tackle, that England probably needed some more of in the six nations earlier this month, injured the Sheffield FC striker and conceded a penalty. 

This was when Swallownest really had to dig deep and work hard. The wind proved to be a problem for both teams throughout the game, and with Swall looking to retain their two-goal cushion it did not help at all. Swall’s very own Jack Wood spent what seemed to be half an hour placing the ball on the ground for a free kick. Several minutes followed, with hard work been put in by the whole team. The home side had the momentum and had won a corner. The corner was whipped in, with a goal harshly awarded after some clear obstruction within the box; Sheffield FC thought they had salvaged a point with 5 mins to play plus added time. Swall didn’t let this phase them, and Corey Delap was at the centre of it all. 

After a tactical substitution, one that turned out to be comparable to the likes of a Jose Mourinho or a Pep Guardiola, Corey was subbed on to take a throw in for the dying moments of the game. This pegged Sheffield FC right back into their own box, with the home side struggling to clear the ball far enough to trouble Swall’s back line. It was this loose ball that was collected by Sergio Ramos, I mean Rhys Ellis who calmly sprayed the ball out wide to his centre back partner Archie Goddard. Archie, with what seemed to be eyes in the back of his head, played a sublime through ball to Alex Needham, who brought out his inner Lionel Messi and stepped past the oncoming defenders with ease, slotting past the keeper and securing the vital 3 points for Swallownest to take back to the Swall-Siro. Absolute scenes. 

It was one of those moments where, if you listened carefully you could hear Martin Tyler screaming, “I swear you’ll never see anything like this again,” as the Swall boys celebrated at the final whistle. 

Final score Sheffield FC 2-3 Swallownest.

Next up for the Under 18’s is a home clash with Phoenix FC at Rotherham Road on Sunday, 30th March, kick off 11 .00 am 

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