U14 BETA LEAGUE: Layton Blues 2 Foxhall 3
On a day which saw many Blackpool and District Youth League fixtures fall victim to waterlogged pitches, our thanks to Layton Blues and Foxhall for stepping in at the last minute as our match of the week and for staging such an excellent contest.
The visitors opened up a 3-0 lead but Layton battled bravely to stage a thrilling comeback despite deteriorating conditions.
Both managers agreed that Layton made the brighter start but it was Foxhall who opened the scoring courtesy of an unfortunate own goal.
And this was all that separated the sides at the end of a close first half in which the wind was more of an issue than the rain. However, the rain became torrential in the second half but there was no let-up in the action.
Foxhall showed their quality after the break as their midfield came to the fore. However, they couldn’t beat the keeper until midway through the half, when left-back Ethan McEvoy intercepted and sent Harrison Stott clear. The striker lobbed the keeper from over 30 yards, his splendid effort dipping under the bar. Stott was the creator of the third soon afterwards, chasing a long ball down the left, keeping it in play and crossing low for the onrushing Luigi Chiappe to slow home.
Stott’s vital contribution justified the decision of manager Andy Dunning to bring him back into the action, having earlier substituted him.
But credit to the Blues for battling back as the weather worsened, Denes Ballo scoring twice to set up a thrilling finale. The striker’s first saw him use his pace to latch take a through-ball in his stride and beat the keeper with a cool finish.
Then Ballo was on hand to fire home a rebound after Dan Howe’s shot was parried.
Layton boss Dave Smith said: “We went to three at the back second half and really went for it. We battered on the door in the final few minutes but couldn’t get the equaliser,”
Despite the conditions, it’s clear to see that Smith’s side are much improved. He added: “The records suggest we were the worst team in Blackpool last year. But this season we are competing with the best teams in the league and are in the mix.”
And right in the mix is where Foxhall are too, having won all eight league games to date.
Manager Andy Dunning said: “If we maintain our consistency and keep going forward we’ll be there or thereabouts.”
All the Foxhall players had poppies on their shirts in support of the British Legion.