Radcliffe faced Leicester City U23s on Tuesday night in their last friendly before the season opener against South Shields on the 17th of August.
The game had a lively start when inside the first 2 minutes of the game there was an altercation in the box before a Radcliffe corner, with Leicester’s number 9 (Ali Regba) apparently spitting in a Radcliffe player’s face. This led to a lot of squaring up in the box and a red card apiece with Regba sent off and number 10 for Radcliffe (Danny Mitchley) also shown a straight red, after quite a lengthy delay the game was continued.
Radcliffe’s style of play was quite admirable as it was clear they were trying to build out from the back with the goalkeeper often distributing it short. It did lead to a few instances in which the ball either went straight out for a throw-in or when the ball was played back to the keeper putting them under immediate pressure. Its key to remember this was a preseason game.
Leicester mostly relied on long balls over the top or into space for their pacey wingers or front men to run on to, which did cause Radcliffe some problems. However, their goalkeeper, Ollie Martin was in inspired form making several key saves to deny Leicester early goals.
Radcliffe then went on to score first after a good cross led to Rick Smith planting a header in at the far post. Leicester then continued to have the better of the chances and their breakthrough came at the end of extra time in the first half. Tyrese Shade for Leicester took a confused the keeper with his touch before calmly slotting home into an empty net.
That was how the first half ended and the scores remained after Radcliffe dug in well in the second half, showing some excellent resilience to not only hold on for a draw but also continue to push for a result. They look like they will be an entertaining side to watch in the NPL Premier Division this season.
Photo Credit: Radcliffe FC