Match Report
Radley College 3rd XI vs  Reading Blue Coat School
On: Saturday, 16 Mar 2024
Venue: Away

This was a tough test against a physical side. We were delayed on arrival because of roadworks, which contributed to a sleepy start – an early rare defensive error was punished, 0-1 down. However, despite another opportunity for Reading, we soon got our passing game going and started created chances of our own. Lawrence Coke and Ben Campion soon got a grip of midfield and Charlie Appleton was causing problems down the right wing. After about 15 minutes, Zizou* Campion danced through a crowded midfield with the bull glued to his feet, eventually drawing a foul on the edge of the area. He fired in the resulting free kick with expert and pinpoint accuracy, 1-1. The first half seemed rather disjointed. Reading simply hoofed the ball upfield, which did cause our centre backs some problems. But we managed to hang on, with the help of some brave goalkeeping from George Pilkington, diving at attackers' feet! We were the only side looking to play passing football and soon good chances started coming. Charlie Appleton burst into the penalty area and squared but somehow we didn't manage to hit the target in the resulting goalmouth scramble. Reading were resorting to very physical tactics and one of them earned a yellow card which could have been red for his late tackle on Mac Ngernanek, who was making an excellent debut, up from the 4ths. In the second-half both teams raised their game. The pattern was set: long balls from Reading much better defence from Radley (especially Waller and Deram) now we weren’t letting the balls drop and patient build up play from Radley. We went close several times: the best opportunity was Coke feeding Appleton whose first time cross was swept just wide of the right hand post by Campion with the keeper stranded. However, a number of corners produced chances, notably one excellent Nokes header, which unfortunately went straight to the keeper. However, Reading were looking pretty dangerous on the break. They forced corners and in one incident had an open goal from 1 metre which led to the bull being launched into outer space, Sputnik-style. An extraordinary miss! On another break, Pilkington raced out but the forward skipped past him and hit firmly towards goal….. where Max Deram had sprinted back to miraculously clear off the line! In the end, one of their corners was played short and a cross was chipped to the far post where it was headed in. More pressure from us for the remaining 8 minutes, but sadly despite a massive team effort we couldn’t create a clear enough chance to equalise.

Overall, this was a match which our whole-hearted team performance could have won. But the difference was in finishing chances: small margins!

*Zinedine Zidane, a legend of the game 1996-2006