U14 Titans edged out in County Cup thriller

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Titans travelled to Craven League Division 1 outfit Farsley Celtic Colts for what looked like a difficult County Cup tie. On a beautiful sunny afternoon it was the home side that struck first after a fairly even opening 10 minutes. Defender Jack had to be replaced in the first few minutes for the second time this season after an awkward fall saw him land on his head. The TItans defence were struggling to cope with the Celtic tactic of playing the ball through for their nippy forward to run on to, and were undone time after time as the home side raced into a 5-0 lead. Titans were still in the game though and Matty hit a terrific long-range shot that had the keeper well beaten, but it cannoned back off the post. However Titans did manage to pull one back before the break when Paul crashed the ball home after a Jamie long throw bounced over a defender.

With the score 5-1 at the break Titans believed they could still get back into the game and a rousing half time talk sent them back out looking to reduce the deficit. When Matty fired just wide it looked as though the Titans were determined to turn things round, and shortly after he won a corner after some persistent play. When the ball was half-cleared by a Celtic defender it fell to Paul, who hit a shot from fully 25 yards that beat the keeper to make it 5-2. Titans now seemed to get the bit between their teeth and take the game to Farsley. When Matty raced into the penalty area it seemed that the defender had managed to push him too wide, but he still managed to get a shot away that everyone thought had gone behind. But from the tightest of angles it squeezed inside the post and into the back of the net to make it 5-3. Titans were now growing in confidence and there were sterling performances all over the pitch. At the back, Charlie had got the measure of the nippy striker and started to cut off the attacks that had done the damage in the first half. Jamie S was solid as usual, and Matt was winning lots of balls and setting up a succession of Titans attacks. Jamie G belied his lack of experience by putting in some strong tackles and winning most of his aerial battles. Lily put in a storming performance in midfield as Titans started to run the show, and with Mikey growing in confidence and Liam making a couple of effective cameo appearances it looked as though an unlikely comeback could be on the cards. That seemed even more possible when Matty hit a ball across the keeper and into the far corner of the net to reduce the deficit to a single goal at 5-4. The Celtic players were clearly rattled and were startting to argue amongst themselves. However they always posed a threat and managed to extend their lead with a terrific strike that keeper Luke could do nothing about. Titans heads refused to drop though and they renewed their assault on the Celtic goal. Paul struck a shot just past the post, and the keeper was luckily in just the right place when a great shot from Callum flew straight into his arms. Paul then hit another shot that fizzed past the post, but Celtic weathered the onslaught and raced up the other end to score against the run of play – 7-4. Still Titans pressed the Celtic defence and Matty got them back into it with a cool, deft side-foot past the advancing keeper, followed shortly afterwards by a strike from inside the 6-yard box to pull it back to 7-6. Celtic scored another breakaway goal to make it 8-6 and with the clock ticking down it looked as though that would be the killer goal. Then Paul was brought down as he raced into the box and when the ref pointed to the spot Matty stepped up to take the penalty. However he blazed the ball over the bar, and that proved to be the final real action of the game as the ref blew the whistle shortly afterwards to the relief of the Celtic players, who knew they had been in a game. Final score 8-6.

This was a terrific team performance by the Titans – particularly in the second half, and hopefully it will kickstart their season again after some recent confidence-draining defeats.

Man of the Match was Jamie S for yet another outstanding performance in the centre of defence.