Positive Point for Paddock
A positive performance from Stretford Paddock earns them a point against a high-flying Upton with many close opportunities allowing Paddock to push on after a series of disappointing results.
A positive start from Paddock in the very early stages of the game saw Ryan Katumba test the keeper from long range with a ferocious strike that he was unable to keep a hold of but no one was their to capitalise. An interesting decision from the referee saw Omar Sinclair sin binned very early into the game to the dismay of the Paddock bench, for an incident before an Upton corner kick. The resulting corner led to an incredible reflex save from Martin Flanagan in goal.
More chances for Paddock followed despite the disadvantage in numbers as De Andrade burst through on goal and forced a good save out of the goalkeeper. A great run from Ronaldo Brown saw Ryan Katumba have another shot on goal, which was sliced wide of the post, but a positive piece of play just before Sinclair was allowed back after his sin bin had been completed. A great strike from the Upton midfielder almost caught out Flanagan as it whistled past the post and with moments later heroic defending from Burke stopped a great chance for the visiting side to take the lead.
Several tame chances followed for both teams, but a MacFarlane header whistled past the post after a flick on from an Omar Sinclair long throw in, which proved to be Paddock’s best opportunity to take the lead in a very evenly contested first half. A brilliant opportunity for Upton presented itself to their forward who rounded Flanagan after a defence splitting through ball, before missing an empty net much to the relief of the entire Paddock side. Just before the end of the first half another long-range strike from Upton ferociously struck the bar with Flanagan rooted to the spot.
An even first half with both teams having equal opportunities saw Paddock go into the break feeling confident after a positive opening 45 minutes.
Half Time: Stretford Paddock 0-0 Upton JFC
Both teams began the second half with good passages of play with the best chance coming through an Upton one-on-one which was well saved by Martin Flanagan in the Paddock net. A few half-hearted opportunities for both teams followed with no goalkeeper being really tested within a tight affair. More chances for the opposition followed but with Flanagan always on top it allowed for Paddock to remain in the game with the score still level heading into the final 20 minutes.
With just over ten minutes remaining, Paddock had the best chance of the game after a spectacular cross from Burke found Ryan Katumba only a few yards out which was leathered into the crossbar following on from a period of positive play from Paddock. A few late chances arose but none caused any real trouble to either defence as the game fizzled out after a period of relentless Paddock pressure. A somewhat uneventful and cagey second half without many clear cut chances saw man of the match awarded to Martin Flanagan after saving Paddock on a few occasions and an all round dominant performance.
An agonisingly close opportunity for Stretford Paddock to capitalise against the top of the table was squandered but a performance to be proud of was the case as the game ended a stalemate.
Full Time: Stretford Paddock 0-0 Upton JFC
Stretford Paddock XI: Martin Flanagan, Richard Adjei, Michael Burke, James Oatt (C), Thomas Macfarlane, Zacharias Bell, Joao De Andrade, Omar Sinclair, Ryan Katumba, Nosa Iyamu, Ronaldo Brown
Subs: Paulo Dos Santos, Nasser Shakoor, William Hobson, Dean Makunike, Kayode Adewale