Leckhampton Legends U-16s 1 Southside U-16s 0
THIS top-of-the-table clash in Division Two of the Under-16s Cheltenham Youth League proved to be a tight affair.
In the end Leckhampton just edged it by a single goal to go level at the top with their opponents on 24 points each, but with a game in hand.
Southside started with the slope in their favour and had the better of the early exchanges, with George Moran and Patrick Marks in midfield particularly effective at breaking up play and then trying to play the ball wide.
There were a couple of opportunities for Tom Witcomb to make progress on the right flank and George Atkinson on the left, but Southside struggled to force the opposition goalkeeper into a meaningful save and were reduced to long-range efforts mainly from the left boot of George Britton.
Leckhampton got more into the game as the half wore on and managed to win a free-kick a few yards outside the penalty area following a rather too rigorous challenge by Scott Adams.
Unfortunately for Southside the kick was floated in beyond the onrushing strikers and managed to evade the fingertips of goalkeeper Norwood and drop into the net just under the crossbar.
It was not long before Leckhampton had a chance to double their lead as a good run on the left evaded several Southside tackles before Connor Fry finally took more man than ball and conceded a penalty. The resulting spot-kick came back off the base of the post and was cleared to safety.
The second half was similar, with Leckhampton looking dangerous on the break and Southside finding it hard to create chances.
They came closest with a couple of well-struck corners from Britton, just evading the head of Tom Wassell, and also through the trickery of second-half substitute Harry Evans who adapted well to the increasingly muddy conditions and put the home defenders in trouble on several occasions.
The heavy pitch took its toll on both sets of players, particularly in midfield where it proved virtually impossible to move the ball quickly out of the mud.
Southside did their best to press for an equaliser late on but, despite their best efforts to maintain a winning sequence of seven consecutive league victories, had to concede defeat by the slimmest of margins.