Western Counties Floodlit Youth League: Chard Under 18s 0, Wellington Under 18s 1
Our U18s put in their best performance of the season as they defeated previously unbeaten rivals Chard away on Tuesday night (January 30).
The Tangerines hadn’t played for almost a month since their exit from the cup at the hands of Bishops Lydeard.
In front of a good travelling support, they were keen to put in another strong performance against a Chard team who had won every match this season.
The game started evenly with both sides testing out each other. Wellington were playing up the infamous Chard hill in the first half and knew to expect an aerial onslaught.
Both sides had half chances, but neither keeper was forced into any difficult saves.
Wellington defended confidently against a lively Chard frontline and also tested the home defence as they grew into the game.
Wellington seemed to be on the wrong end of some tight decisions, but one decision went their way just before half-time. The ref awarded a free-kick fully 35 years from goal and leading scorer Freddie Margetts stepped forward to smash a brilliant shot in off the post to give them an important lead.
That was the last meaningful action of the first half and the away team went in leading 1-0.
Wellington knew Chard would come out on the attack, seeking an equaliser, and that was how the second half started.
A few injuries broke up play and both teams had some good chances, one with Margetts stinging the Chard goalie from range.
Wellington nearly doubled the lead when good team play saw Margetts through on goal in a one-on-one with the keeper. He put in an excellent chip which looked destined for goal but sadly drifted inches wide of the post.
Chard cranked up the pressure and the Wellington defence had to be on their toes to keep them at bay.
The back three of Ben Fowler, new signing Josh Morse and Dylan Groves all made excellent blocks as the clock crept down to 90 minutes.
They were ably supported by the hardworking midfield of Ned Ogilvie, Jack Slatter and Ryan Corbett, all of whom ran their hearts out to keep Chard at bay.
The wing backs, James Clarke and 16-year-old, Alfie Doidge, making an excellent debut, always covered their men and supported the forwards while Luke Augustine provided great speed and skill up front, providing a great foil for Margetts.
There were a few worrying moments towards the end and manager Joe Conway used all fours subs to freshen up the side as they saw out the remaining minutes.
The team, management and supporters were delighted when the referee blew the final whistle and Wellington had secured an important win against a very good Chard team.
One of the Chard management team, ex-Wellington player and manager Mike Hawes, complimented them by saying he hadn’t seen a team play for each other like that for a very long time.
This was another encouraging performance from the squad, putting them clear at the top of the table, and they will be looking to keep their excellent league form going when they visit Winscombe on Tuesday with a 7.30pm kick off.
Team: Sam Harcombe, Dylan Groves, Ben Fowler, Josh Morse, Ned Ogilvie, James Clarke, Luke Augustine, Alfie Doidge, Jack Slatter, Ryan Corbett, Freddie Margetts Subs: Iggi Bergelis, Jimmy Groves, James Clarke, Sam Snook (all used).
Travel sponsors: Fox Electrical and Court Fields School.
Below: The winning goal from Freddie Margetts.