Keswick Football Club’s Reds under-12 team travelled to play Penrith Eagles with a reduced squad of just 10 players due to a fixture clash and injuries, but were in buoyant mood having won a friendly against Cockermouth three days earlier.
From the kick-off, Keswick struggled to contain Penrith’s quick midfield trio and after only five minutes the Eagles took the lead after a goalkeeping error and slack defending resulted in an easy finish at the back post.
This had Keswick rocking and only stout defending and some good goalkeeping kept the home side at bay.
After the initial storm was weathered, Keswick got into the game. Oliver Roast and then Harry Wilson went close with good efforts, followed by a powerful header from Harry Park which flew wide of the post.
Keswick went further under the cosh just before half-time when Freddie Hilton took a heavy blow to his foot and had to be replaced.
After the break, the Reds took play to the Eagles and created a number of chances, with Park the driving force in the side.
Hilton bravely returned to the fray and, with 15 minutes to go, scored from the penalty spot after Park was felled in the box.
After playing for nearly an hour without rolling subs, Keswick began to tire.
Penrith started to create chances, but the crossbar came to the rescue for Keswick, as did some last-ditch defending and two great saves from Reds keeper Charlie Thomson, one from the last kick of the game, to keep the scoreline all square at 1-1.
After what was a great advert for grassroots youth football, a draw was probably a fair result.
However, Keswick Reds must learn that ability alone does not always win games, and the players must up their workrate for the whole match.
Keswick’s star players were Harry Park for his constant running and a never give up attitude — everything needed to be a captain; Freddie Hilton, who, despite being injured, used his football brain at set piece plays to make quick throw-ins and took his penalty well; and goalkeeper Charlie Thomson, whose kicking was outstanding.
He recovered from a shaky start to make a string of saves.