BRAISHFIELD U18 won 3-2 away at Downton last weekend, summoning a win from a game that early on they looked decidedly second best.

On a foggy damp start to the morning, Braishfield play resembled the weather and they were very slow out of the blocks and were thankful to keeper Henry Brown who saved brilliantly one v one down to his left in the first minute.

The pattern was set and for the first ten minutes the home team dominated possession being first to every challenge keeping the back line of Harvey Crawford, Charley Cromer, Charlie Taylor and captain Jack Miles extremely busy with a few last-ditch tackles needed to maintain parity.

Then as is the way with Braishfield they gradually got a foothold in midfield and Jake Mortimer and Josh Aldridge started to get on the ball to play in the front runners Joe Lovell and Oli Wilson. Just as they thought they had ridden out the Downton storm and were going to get some traction in the game the home team’s luck changed, and they hit Braishfield with a two-goal salvo.

After another great save from Brown had been tipped around the post, the resultant corner was not defended well and after some pinball in the box, the ball was forced over the line from close range. After all the great defending this goal felt very untidy. To make matters worse Downton, now with their tails up again, drove down the left and their striker after a couple of missed tackles, drove the ball high into the roof of the net.

Braishfield needed some luck or inspiration before half time and thankfully it duly arrived when Alex Cavanett won the ball in midfield and fed to Aldridge who played in overlapping full back Crawford who crossed first time and after a great first touch, this gave Lovell the chance to draw the keeper, jink around him and slot the ball into an empty net.

The second half started with the game now totally different and Braishfield were in the ascendancy. Mortimer and Andy Jerram in midfield were winning all the second balls and feeding wide men Wilson and substitute Joe Wright on the flanks at regular intervals and the home defence were struggling to deal this. It only took five minutes into the half for the game to be level. Mortimer steered an arcing ball out to Wright who crossed low to Lovell and with a clever touch he played in Wilson who made no mistake from six yards.

The game then got a bit physical and Downton were soon down to 10 men for a straight red card challenge on the influential Mortimer. Funnily this galvanised Downton for a brief spell but Braishfield soon got on top again and after 78 minutes they got in front for the first and vital time. Keeper Brown spotted Lovell one v one up front and his long kick was gambled on by Lovell who outmuscled the defender and neatly finished from close range.

Unfortunately for Braishfield, With ten minutes remaining, the numbers were evened up when debutant Cavanett succumbed to a second yellow card. Despite this setback and a few late Downton flurries, Braishfield continued to play strongly and held out for a valuable victory. Credit must be given to the team who have made a habit this season of “finding a way to win”, which will hopefully stand him in good stead this season. Next week Braishfield are at home to Laverstock & Ford with a 10am kick-off at Hunts Farm.