Shock defeat for Crookham Rovers Youth!
With Crookham Rovers Youth already crowned as league and Hants cup champions, the team had nothing to play for other than a proud unbeaten record in the league. in their league game away to Hampton. Unfortunately for Rovers they were up against a fiercely competitive side, who had a clear game plan to unsettle Rovers and to their credit, Hampton played it to perfection.
Rovers did take the lead mid-way through the first half, when Scott Armsworth picked the ball up in the Hampton half, rode two challenges and fired a magnificent left-footed shot into the top corner from 20 yards, 1-0 Rovers. Hampton then started to really test the Rovers defence by playing a high line, pushing bodies forward and not allowing Rovers time on the ball. For the first time this season Rovers did not look as organised as normal at the back and that is full credit to Hampton whose game plan was starting to take effect. Hampton soon deservingly levelled the score, when Rovers lost possession in their own half and got outnumbered at the back, 1-1. Rovers conceded a corner in stoppage time of the first half and almost conceded again, when the ball broke loose in the Crookham box, panic set in and they struggled to clear their lines resulting in two goal line clearances from Ryan Suckling and Jack Selby respectively, then a great reflex save from keeper Alex Rolph kept the score at 1-1.
Half time: Hampton 1-1 Rovers
Rovers came out in the second half still attempting to play the attractive game that you would normally associate them with. However a combination of a bobbly pitch and a good pressing game from Hampton prevented Rovers from finding a way through. Frustration was starting to show and the game was swinging in the favour of Hampton. You felt the next goal was crucial and whoever scored it would go on to win the match. Hampton were starting to pour bodies forward and once again outnumbered Rovers to score a second with a crisp finish from the impressive Hampton striker from just inside the area, 2-1 Hampton. Rovers looked stunned to be behind and looked to push for the equaliser. The ball was being moved well by Rovers and were clearly the better footballing team, but Hampton were getting the ball forward as quickly as possible with Rovers gambling by pushing for an equaliser. Rovers were then caught out on the break, when once again the Hampton striker made no mistake to wrap up the game from close range, 3-1 Hampton.
Final score: Hampton 3-1 Crookham Rovers Youth
A frustrating game and result for Rovers today, but one the team can really learn from. Although the team were trying to play great football, it goes to show that there is no substitute for sheer hard work and determination. All credit to Hampton for executing their game plan very well and running out deserved winners. The biggest positive the team can take from this game was that not for the first time this season, the referee came over at the end and said Rovers played the best football he has seen from an under 15 team all season!