Colaton Raleigh’s dreams shattered

Colaton Raleigh FC 3

Bow AAC 4

The match started with the pitch in surprisingly good condition, the frost and snow having thawed, following a welcome rise in temperature on Saturday morning.

Colaton Raleigh were without key defender Damien Armes who suffered injury on the icy roads earlier in the week. Bow play their football three divisions higher, but the first chance of the game went to Raleigh when right back Ben Farrington sent in a cross that was met by Adrian Parr, and his volley was beaten away brilliantly by Bow keeper Mark Tucker.

Raleigh need to talk more at the back, and this was emphasised even more when Bow were gifted two early Christmas presents, from individual errors which could have been easily prevented with more vocal assistance.

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With Colaton Raleigh 2-0 down and chasing the game, the midfield got tighter to their opposite numbers and the side had a much more solid look to it. Farrington and Mark Tett had chances.

The second half started with Raleigh looking determined to give a good account of themselves.

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Alex Richardson, in the Raleigh goal, made a good stop early on, then almost immediately, at the other end, Adrian Parr set up Pitter who headed his cross just wide. In the 51st minute, a penalty appeal was turned down, but this only spurred the team on and, two minutes later, when Adrian Parr was brought down in the area when through on goal, scored from the spot to reduce the arrears to 2-1.

With Colaton Raleigh pressing the Bow goal, a lightning counter-attack caught them out, 3-1.

Raleigh refused to lie down and were playing some brilliant, inventive football going forward. Following a period of sustained pressure, in which the Bow keeper pulled off two more outstanding saves, Adrian Parr pounced to score his second goal 2-3.

The chances kept coming, as first Pitter fired in a cross shot which beat the keeper, but drifted inches wide. Then Jordan Cooper's header from a Graham Hughes cross was finger tipped past the post.

Bow's resilient defence finally cracked, when Pitter curled in a glorious shot from 25 yards to level the scores 3-3.

With just a few minutes left, the game turned in a 30 second spell. Raleigh sliced through the Bow defence once more. Pitter reached the goal line and, with an open goal gaping, his pull back was just inches behind two onrushing forwards. The ball was immediately launched upfield and the Bow left winger drove in a cross which found the predatory Gavin Coles at the far post. He slotted home to complete his hat trick to restore Bow's lead and shatter Colaton Raleigh's dreams.

Pitter and his players, although devastated at the final whistle, can be proud of a brilliant performance. It is difficult to single out individuals in such a good team effort, but Adrian Parr, Jake Boyland and Jordan Cooper, were all magnificent.

This Saturday, Colaton Raleigh are home to Newton St Cyres, ko 2.15 pm.

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