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Battling Town push champs all the way
10:44am Thursday 14th February 2013 in Sport
Beeston St Anthony’s 4 Otley Town 2
Just occasionally a team from the league’s lower reaches will have ‘one of those days’ and surprise a team from the top echelon; Otley Town did it recently against league leaders Bardsey.
On that occasion it was a mudbath of a pitch, Bardsey were slightly below par and the Otley players were exceptional. However the usual outcome to such games, when both teams play to their potential on a decent playing surface, will normally see the best team come out on top and this is what happened at Beeston on Saturday.
Every Otley player could be commended for putting in a great effort, but at the end of the day current league champions Beeston were just a better team.
Otley got off to the worst possible start by conceding two eminently avoidable goals within the first 15n minutes.
In both cases Town defenders made basic mistakes which were instantly punished and that’s the difference when playing the top teams.
Town responded well to the setback and for the rest of the half gave as good as they got, playing some decent football and when they scored after 30 minutes it was no more than they deserved.
Simon Armstrong picked the ball up on the halfway line and with great skill went past a couple of defenders before playing a one-two that took him into the Beeston six- yard box.
His shot was blocked but Tristan Holdsworth was on hand to smash the loose ball home. For a few moments Beeston were out of their comfort zone and their play became scrappy and disjointed, however they possess a lethal forward line and from nothing they produced another clinical goal which gave them the comfort of a two -goal cushion at half time.
Otley’s management felt that at 3-1 they were not out of the game but it was vital that they did not concede another goal early in the second half.
Unfortunately some things do not go to script because within 60 seconds of the start of the second period Beeston went 4-1 up when their outstanding forward Lee Coleman shot home from the edge of the box, a strike of such precision that goalkeeper Graham Fawell had no chance whatsoever. This was a big setback for Town and at this point they easily could have capitulated.
Admirably, they again took the game to Beeston. Armstrong and Rob Carr began to get a hold of the ball in midfield and with Josh Waite, Scott Firth and Scott Cater interchanging up front Town were now beginning to pose some questions of the home defence.
A couple of half chances came their way before in the 70th minute.
Holdsworth was once again ‘johnny on the spot’ to fire home from close range.
Town more than held their own in the last 20 minutes but despite a tremendous effort could not find the goals to bring themselves back into the game and in fairness Beeston missed a couple of golden chances themselves during this period.
Notwithstanding defeat this was a commend- able team performance by Otley Town and they will need a similar attitude this coming Saturday when they travel to second-placed Leeds City for yet another tough league game. Kick off 2.30.
For Town there were many brave performers but centre backs James Davey and Jamie Simms were simply outstanding .