Saturday, 19 March 2016

Notts County 2 v Bradford City 1 - FLYA (NE)

Saturday 19th March 2016
Football League Youth Alliance (NE)
at Eagle Valley, Arnold Town FC
Notts County (0) 2
Bradford City (1) 1
Admission 'nowt. Big n' strong coffee & bacon cob £3
Notts County:
Curtis Hall, Luther Wildin (C), Kenan Layton, Ben Browne, Jordan Richards, Harry Bugg, Sam Osbourne, Jack McMillan, Remaye Campbell, Alan Gibbons, Alex Howes
Subs - Ryan Ebanks, Joe Searson-Smithard, Louis Robinson, Edwin Towers, George McCartney
A myriad selection of games for developing youngsters of all ages was taking place at Arnold's Town's Eagle Valley complex, when I pulled in off of the A60 at 10.30am, parked up facing the training pitch that the young Magpies would be entertaining Bradford City on this morning and piled into the clubhouse for shelter from the biting cold wind and sustenance. Arnold Town FC were doing a roaring trade.
My plan had been to slip in among the parents and die hard 'Pies' who turn out for these games, all incognito and hush, hush.
Fat chance, before I'd swallowed my second mouthful of coffee, one of the Bradford players mums had already clocked me and asked if Mansfield Town Under 18's didn't have a game this morning, while one of County's coaching staff stood with me for the first twenty minutes, as we discussed the pros and cons of development football at various levels in the region.
My own 100% genuine reason for being here had very little to do with having a recce, or doing an analytic once over on the coefficients of various key players in both teams, who by way of a massive coincidence will be facing the Stags over the next few weeks. I was just here to watch a game of football, between two sides who had impressed me no end when they had played against Mansfield's lads earlier this season.
Of course, I scrawled down a few notes, but that is just force of habit these days and a fool proof way of prompting my memory, because my ever diminishing attention span isn't much help to that end, as I rapidly decline into a state of old age and decrepitude.
And as a consequence very little that I wrote down, will be of the slightest consequence to either of the people who still read THE66POW.
Bradford City opened the scoring the 3rd minute, with an angled close range shot (apologies I am losing my touch and didn't manage to get a copy of the visitors line up) but a predominantly younger than usual County side, who had already played two Under 18 games this week and were giving some of their younger players a run out, swept the Bantams away at times on a bone hard and dusty pitch... and it beggared belief that City held onto their slender lead until the break.
Both teams had chances to have made it 3-3 inside the opening five minutes, but as the opening half panned out, County squandered a succession of chances, as the ball misbehaved in the strong wind they were attacking into.
Ooh look! I can see my car from here.
After the break, Notts finally turned some of their pressure into goals and Jack McIntosh was involved in both of them, nestling the ball just inside the upright with a precision shot on 54 minutes and delivering the corner that Bradford struggle to deal with that gave Remaye Campbell the chance to put the Pies ahead after 65 minutes.
It had been coming to be fair.
The visitors applied a fair amount of pressure in the closing minutes, but County held out for the three points and their keeper Curtis Hall demonstrated that he is a dab hand at running the clock down in these situations.
Sam Osborne looked like a real live wire in midfield for the home side, getting forward down both flanks when the opportunity arose and you can see why Wolves (and a couple of others) had a talent scout at Arnold watching Luther Wildin, County's captain, as the firm tackling midfielder put a great shift in out of position at right back.
FT: Notts County U18 2 v Bradford City U18 1
I'm looking forward to seeing both sides when they travel to face Mansfield Town U18 in the near future.