DOVERIDGE under-10 lost 3-1 at high-flying Whittington Wildcats in their Burton & District Junior League Under-10 Division Two clash.
Despite bossing the first half, Doveridge were made to pay after goalkeeper Jamie Broad went off injured and several chances were missed while they were on top.
Whittington stay third in the table after the win, while Doveridge – who can take many positives out of the game – remain seventh.
Doveridge started very brightly with the front four of Aidan Fletcher, Max Williams, Joe Watts and Billy Eley bossing the play and not allowing the Wildcats any possession.
The Wildcats defence was then cut like a knife by Williams’ great through ball to Eley, whose powerful shot hammered against the post.
At the back, keeper Jamie Broad, Alfie Clowes, Jack Hooker-Myles and Charlie Hughes were in dominant mood, cutting out any attacks.
Hughes in particular was making fine tackles and cool passes out of defence.
Clowes, who was also having an excellent game at the back, then played the ball to Fletcher, who took one touch and found Williams.
He beat his man to find Eley, who made no mistake this time and made it 1-0 to Doveridge.
The Doves carried on controlling the midfield with great ease and precision.
Every pass was finding feet and Eley and Williams went close again.
But on the stroke of half-time a speculative shot by the Wildcats hit an outstretched leg, sending Broad the wrong way to make it 1-1.
This was harsh on the Doves as they had bossed the whole half.
Matters were to get worse when keeper Broad was forced off with a back injury.
Midfielder Watts, who had had an excellent first half, was given the gloves for the first time this season.
This change in formation seemed to knock the young Doves confidence and Whittington took control of the second half.
Doveridge’s tidy passing began to desert them and the Wildcats were soon in front, a powerful shot giving Watts no chance.
Fletcher and Williams worked extremely hard to find an equaliser and it almost came from the boot of Williams.
After a succession of fouls on him he was finally awarded a free kick. He curled in a superb shot only to see it hit the bar.
He was then given another chance. Hughes found Fletcher threaded the ball to Williams only to see his low shot tipped round the post by the Wildcats keeper.
Eley and Clowes tried their best to get that equaliser but could only shoot wide.
But then the killer blow came as the Doves began to tire.
A mistake at the back let them in to make it 3-1.
The final whistle blew and it was truly a game of two halves.
The Doves had dominated the first half and were vey unlucky to go it at 1-1 at the break.
Everything went against them – injuries, woodwork and decisions.
Man of the match went to Charlie Hughes, who once again played a blinder at the back.