Street show Sodbury the way
Chipping Sodbury 0 - 3 Street
Chipping Sodbury 0 - 3 Street
League leaders Street were the visitors for Chipping Sodbury Town’s first December fixture and following disappointing recent league results the Sods were looking for an improvement.
Injuries and suspensions had played a significant role in the home sides recent form but a Gloucestershire FA Challenge Trophy win against Hellenic Premier League opponents Lydney Town AFC earlier in the week had given Sodbury hope.
An end to end game against Lydney which would have been settled in 90 minutes but for some heroic defending and several key saves by Sam Burgess resulted in a 0-0 full time score. Lydney have been very successful in previous penalty shootouts however some poorly taken spot kicks that missed the target and a fine save by Burgess gave Sodbury a 4-1 win.
At the start of play Street sat 21 points ahead of Sodbury in the Toolsation Western League having won 13 and lost only two previous matches. By contrast the home side had enjoyed an early season mid table position but their run of poor autumn results left them nearer the bottom.
It was clear from the early exchanges that Street are a confident and well drilled side. It was also clear that the pitch had suffered from the Tuesday night extra time cup match and the goal areas in particular were difficult to clear with defenders struggling to come to terms with the sticky conditions.
Street opened with excellent sweeping moves using their wingers and often relied on balls out from defence targeting the wingmen as the half progressed. In response Sodbury struggled to gain a footing or to match the pace of their visitors. The Street back three were dominant and the two Sodbury forwards couldn’t match their physical presence and failed to create a single effort on goal.
For all their controlled passing and wing speed Street also failed to create many clear-cut chances and it was an own goal on 24 minutes that separated the teams at half time. A cross from the right wing by Josh Wadham appeared to pose little threat as it arrived at waist height in the Sodbury penalty area and the three defenders should really have cleared with only one attacker present. The unfortunate Shaun Keets was unsighted and the ball bounced off his thigh leaving Burgess stranded.
As the half progressed Street took full control forcing nine corners and but for some fine goalkeeping they would have been out of sight at the break. On 31 minutes Burgess saved after the Street forward Steve Murray was put clean through and just before the break he tipped a 20 yard shot from Murray over the cross bar.
Whatever was said at half time the home side came out and attacked from the off, forcing their first corner of the game after just two minutes of the restart. For a few minutes it looked like Sodbury might offer more of a contest in the second half but the game was all but over after just 52 minutes when Street’s Dave O’Hare slotted home from close range after Burgess had made a great save from a shot by Herrod but could not hold on to the ball.
Just two minutes later Street won a penalty when Theo Coombs was booked for bringing down Murray inside the box. Coombs was lucky to stay on the pitch and only the referee could explain why he failed to apply the letter of the law when Street had a clear goal scoring opportunity. Sam Burgess dived to his right to pull of a fine save, his second spot kick save in consecutive games.
Sodbury continued to push the ball forward to their two front men but the away teams centre back duo of Ross McErlain and Ben Amghar remained solid and enjoyed aerial superiority. The Sods Theo Coombs once again proved an immovable force at the back and he worked tirelessly to repel the visitors but he could not stop O’Hare from adding his second after 79 minutes with a stooping header following a cross from the impressive Lewis Tasker. At 0-3 there was no way back for Sodbury.
Photo credit to B.East Photography