Both goalkeepers earned plenty of praise as Thornton Cleveleys Whites won an exciting enounter in the Blackpool and District Youth League at Burn Naze.
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The home side’s ‘Kipper’ Ray was in outstanding form to pull off a series of saves to keep Thornton’s noses in front, while Theo Mayhill put his hand up to go in goal for Poulton with their regular number one unavailable.
Thornton weren’t at full-strength either, losing three players to injury ahead of kick-off, but still made a bright start to go two goals up.
Keegan Jones moved back from midfield to shore up the defence as Thornton held out for their first win over Poulton.
However, that was only after a nerve-jangling final 10 minutes after the visitors had closed the gap to 3-2.
The teams were well matched from the start, though Thornton moved into a two-goal lead courtesy of long clearances by keeper Ray.
Jake Evans latched on to the first and ran clear to score. Then Jadyn Walsh burst clear for the second before half-time.
Any thoughts of a comfortable second half for Thornton soon disappeared as Nico Cobb pulled one back from the penalty spot.
However, the two-goal margin was restored when right-back Ethan Thompson made it 3-1.
But Poulton were far from finished and Kyle Rogers reduced the deficit to a single goal again.
That was when he raced on to a through-ball, turned sharply and rifled home an unstoppable shot.
Poulton couldn’t have pressed any harder for an equaliser in the closing stages but Thornton’s outstanding keeper and determined defence ensured they held out.
Keegan Jones also excelled as a makeshift centre-back and goalscorer Walsh ran his heart out on the left.
Poulton manager Parrish Cobb was far from downhearted and said: “It was a good game played in a very good spirit.
“We had them on the ropes and their keeper was outstanding, but we switched off at times and they got their tails up.
“They are all good teams in this legue, so every game will be tight and you will have to give 100 per cent each week to get a result, which is what you want really.”
Winning Whites manager Garry Ray said: “This was a good game and I was panicking in the final 10 minutes but we held out. The lads worked their socks off with a lot of players having to change position.”
Thornton keeper Ray’s outstanding saves and impressive distribution saw him named man of the match by both managers, while his Poulton counterpart Theo Mayhill was their star man after bravely volunteering his services as emergency goalkeeper.