Charterhouse 2 Bradfield 1
Charterhouse will go into Exeat with a spring in their step after beating arch rivals Bradfield in an enthralling encounter on Thursday 12th October. The victory came just two days after a hard-fought draw with Repton and, if anything, Bradfield offered even more of a test.
Certainly they began the game in fine style passing the ball crisply and accurately and Charterhouse found themselves on the back foot immediately. Despite the Bradfield pressure, however, it was Charterhouse who had the first chance of the game when they won a corner in the sixth minute. Tim Downes’s header was cleared off the line – with a suspicion of handball – and then Ed Strang hooked the rebound against the bar. The ball finally fell to Fraser Payne who had space fifteen yards out but his crisp shot was well saved by the Bradfield goalkeeper.
Encouraged by their success, Charterhouse began to take a firmer grip on the game and created a couple of chances down the right-hand side. Robert Carnegie-Brown’s shot was rushed and drifted harmlessly behind, but minutes later Downes fired from similar range and the Bradfield goalkeeper made an excellent save diving to his right.
As half-time approached, it looked as though the teams would go into the break even, but then the ball fell to Jack Ryder-Smith in midfield. He poked it over the top of the somewhat square Bradfield defence and Louis Speelmans out-paced the defenders and slotted the ball coolly home from twelve yards.
A different Bradfield team emerged after the break, determined to match their hosts in energy and endeavour and thereby allow their skill to prevail. The policy certainly worked for ten minutes or so and the Charterhouse goal was under siege. Oli Plummer made one sharp save from a close range shot but could do nothing about the goal. A beautifully flighted ball cleared Dom Bolt at left back and landed at the feet of the visiting right-winger. Before Bolt had time to recover, the winger had rounded him and fired the ball home.
At this point it looked as though there would only be one winner, but Charterhouse rode out the storm and then began to press again themselves. Carnegie-Brown had another chance similar to his opening in the first half and made a much better fist of it this time only to see his shot deflected to safety. Then, two minutes later, almost on the hour mark, Ryder-Smith tried a speculative shot from 25 yards. It was comfortably blocked by a defender by Speelmans robbed him of the ball and eased the ball into the far corner of the net. The last twenty minutes of the game saw renewed pressure from the visitors, but Charterhouse defended stoutly and Plummer was only called on to make a save once.
This was Charterhouse’s best performance of a very good first half of Quarter. Nor should its value be underestimated: Bradfield had already beaten St Bede’s and Repton, drawn with Millfield and been disappointed with only getting a draw at Shrewsbury. Not surprisingly this was their first defeat and, given the quality of their side, may prove to be their only one. For Charterhouse, the disappointing performances of the earlier part of the season are long behind them and they can look forward to the challenges of November with real confidence.