Saints raise their game to defeat Tod

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St Columbas under 14s rose to the big occasion to inflict a 4-2 defeat on table toppers Todmorden Sports Centre - their first defeat of the season.

The first 15 minutes were all Saints with Cameron Andrew’s long throws and corner deliveries causing havoc in the Tod defence. It was from an Andrew delivery out wide that Saints had their first chance when midfielder Luke Sharman narrowly failed to connect with a header at the far post. Tod served notice of how good they are on the break with a couple of half chances.

However, it was Saints who took the lead when one of Andrews long specials was headed into his own net by a Todmorden defender. Tod quickly hit back when Saints allowed time for the attacker to turn in the area and fire home.

Tod were on top for a period before Saints regained the lead with a goal of real quality involving a great forward ball from Jordan Winter to release Josh Powers who did well to pull it back for Andrew who in turn squared to right midfielder Jordan Bloem who finished in style from eight yards out.

Saints started the second half where they had left off with strikers Andrew and Will Hitchen causing problems every time they had the ball. It was Andrew who continued his man of the match performance with a great cross for Powers who hit the ball against the bar before slotting home the rebound.

The joy was increased five minutes later when Hitchen found himself with space in the area and did well to finish past the keeper and a defender on the line.

Todmorden then had another period of dominance as their midfielders pressed to get back into the game. Great last ditch tackling from Adam Topping, Jamie Battye and Winter all kept them at bay and it needed safe hands from keeper Connor Bottomley and more good defending from Will Bland-Betts to keep them out.

Saints pressed themselves with George Haigh-Gill on his home debut releasing Andrew on another run. Subs Louis Smith and Andrew Frost gave fresh legs as did the returning Adam Knapton.

Todmorden grabbed a late consolation but there was no denying Saints the victory as they closed the gap at the top to three points with a further game to come between the teams in April.

Greetland Under 14 Stars returned to Goldfields for the first time in 2012 and swept Collegians aside, winning 6-0 to extend their lead at the top of the table to five points.

The home side had already passed up several chances before Jake Airey’s deep cross was turned in by Sean Gabbitas’ guided header. Within minutes the Stars extended their lead when Gabbitas’ cross was flicked on by Jacob Rust and Brad Main applied the finishing touch.

Main led the line well as a lone striker and deservedly doubled his tally to extend the Stars’ lead as the half wore down, moving onto Adam Bairstow’s hopeful pass and volleying into the far corner from range.

Collegians passed up their best opportunity when Luke Heaton saved a penalty and the Stars continued to control the game in the second half despite the visitors seeing more of the ball. Rushworth, Gabbitas and Main went close before Rushworth moved onto Jack Newsham’s direct kick and slid the ball under the advancing William Eaton.

Within a minute, the Stars extended their lead to five with another goal for Gabbitas, who chased down the visiting defence and won possession before rounding Eaton and slotting into the far corner.

Although the Stars lacked a clinical edge in the closing stages, the home side extended their lead when Airey picked up a loose ball before sending a sublime lob over Eaton from just over the half way line.

Collegians could have had a consolation but for Heaton’s strong save and last ditch defending from Sak Frangos and Newsham but the Stars held on to record another clean sheet.