A valiant Hurst Green Youth left Greater Manchester frustrated as a crazy 20 minute period at the start of the second half proved costly for the lads from the Ribble Valley.
The first half was thoroughly entertaining fayre as the Green lads battled tenaciously against their unbeaten opponents. Ramsbottom opened the scoring after 20 minutes following a quick throw-in which appeared to catch the Green defence off guard. However, the Green lads rallied superbly and levelled within five minutes as Tom Jacques outmuscled three Ramsbottom defenders to score a wonderful solo goal for the visitors.
As expected the equaliser galvanised the Green lads and for the remainder of the half they were more than a match for their hosts. Indeed, five minutes before half time the Green almost took the lead as a fine left wing cross from Ben Aspery was superbly met by Jacques at the near post, but unfortunately for the Green the ball ricocheted back off the crossbar.
The opening 20 minutes of the second half was in stark contrast to the first 45 minutes as for some unknown reason, the Green stood off their opponents allowing Ramsbottom far too much time and space. Unsurprisingly, the hosts needed no second invitation as four goals hit the back of the Green net without reply. However, keeper Ben Armer pulled off a couple of fine saves to help keep the score down.
For the remaining 25 minutes the Green rallied superbly and once again displayed a tremendous team spirit, epitomised by the non-stop running of Will Reed and Cory Longton in midfield. The introduction of Ollie Shipston and Dec Barnes further inspired the Green lads and some skilful play by Shipston earned himself a deserved goal. A towering header from centre half Sam Waddington helped give the score line some respectability and in the last five minutes the Green were unfortunate
not to get a couple more goals as both Waddington and Shipston went close.
Man of the match- Max Hutchinson.