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Arnold Hill 2, Chilwell School 3

Our Y11 team, containing several Y10 students continued their impressive unbeaten run this season with a closely fought 3-2 victory over Arnold Hill Academy.

Without key defender Lewis Barker (who has recently signed as a scholar for Nottingham Forest) and a late withdrawal from Holmes with injury we were forced to travel to Arnold Hill with just eleven players.

Making his debut in goal was Y10 Jamie Nisbett, with Ellis being given the opportunity to play upfront alongside the classy powerhouse Langfield (also in Y10 and playing academy football for Burton Albion).

In the absence of Barker, Mr Lodge and Mr Littlewood swapped from their preferred 4-5-1 formation to a more fluid 3-5-2, with the imperious Ferguson ‘sweeping’ behind the combative duo of Allen and Gillies. Adam Price and Dale Nisbett being employed as attacking wing backs offensively but also with the responsibility to tuck in as full backs defensively.

Arnold Hill took the lead with a long range strike that caught Nisbett off his line and looped rather fortuitously into the net. Arnold Hill continued to dominate much of the first half with Ferguson making a goal saving tackle and Nisbett making several outstanding saves to keep us in the game.

With half time approaching, Adam Price drifted inside from the right flank and danced his way past several players, but with the goal at his mercy lifted his shot high over the crossbar. Langfield’s pace began to trouble the Arnold defence and he was unfortunate to be called offside on several occasions when put through on goal. With a close range strike being saved by the impressive Arnold keeper it seemed as if Chilwell would need something special to break through.

Cometh the hour, cometh the man in the shape of the indomitable Kneller, playing in a more advanced central midfield role. Allen, played a delightful ball over the advancing Arnold attack, to allow Kneller to burst through and lob the ball over the keeper from the edge of the area.

The second half unsurprisingly saw no change in personnel (as we had no substitutes) or formation. The boys were however encouraged to stay positive and have belief in their own ability as footballers.

Chilwell took the lead in somewhat strange but sublime circumstances. A shot from Adam Price appeared to have crossed the line, but was cleared by a defender to Lewis Jackson, about 35 yards out from goal. As some of our players appealed for the goal, Jackson rifled ‘a goal of the season’ contender into the top left corner of the net.

A truly wonderful strike by the ‘pass master’ Jackson was then rivalled by another glorious effort from Adam Price. Advancing forward on the right flank, he let fly with an absolutely belting effort that bent viscously into top corner.

To ensure a nervous ending, Arnold Hill piled men forward in the quest for a goal and were rewarded with another memorable strike from the left corner that gave Nisbett no chance.

At 3-2, the referee indicated that only 4 minutes were remaining. Fortunately, despite a few nervous moments the boys gallantly managed to hang on for another splendid victory.

A difficult choice, but my ‘man of the match’ was Lewis Jackson, for his tireless running, selfless defensive play and extraordinary goal.