Northumberland Schools U16s went nap in Cumbria on the opening weekend of the Northern Counties Championship.
The early exchanges were scrappy with both teams struggling to find any pattern of play or to settle into an early rhythm and both goalkeepers were rarely tested.
Northumberland forced a number of corners but despite excellent delivery from Leif Davis (Astley HS), they could not capitalise.
But it was from a set-piece that Northumberland struck the first blow.
A long throw by Dan Bell (Cramlington LV) was flicked on by Owen Gourley (Kings School) and the ball fell at the feet of Jerry Mumuini (Heaton Manor) who put Northumberland one up.
Mumuini became a constant menace to the Cumbria back line, working good chances for himself, but a great tackle by the Cumbria centre half saved a certain goal.
Great wing play from Aaron Kooistra (St Thomas More) provided Mumuini with a headed chance which failed to hit the target.
Midway through the half Cumbria had their best opportunity when the centre forward turned neatly 20 yards from goal and let fly with an effort that was heading into the corner of the net, until Will Hogarth (Ponteland HS) pulled off a stunning save.
This sparked Northumberland into life and a great ball from Jake Jensen (Ponteland HS) played in Will Pritchard (KEVI) who struck an excellent left foot shot across the goalkeeper to put Northumberland two up.
Northumberland sensed more goals before half-time and the third arrived when a great ball out of defence by Jake Cairns (George Stephenson) found Mumuini, whose pace took him past the defender and into the box but a desperate last ditch tackle saw the defender fouling him and a penalty was awarded. Mumuini rammed home the spot kick to give Northumberland a three-goal cushion heading into the break.
Northumberland started the second half in more assured style, pressing early on and showing a more crisp passing style.
Once again a long throw into the Cumbria box caused all kinds of problems and Mumuini, desperate to complete his hat-trick, could not convert the loose ball after a mammoth goal mouth scramble.
The interval substitutions seemed to make Northumberland even more of a threat as they passed the ball well and were direct in their approach.
Joe Conway (Whitley Bay HS) was particularly impressive early on and struck an effort that flew just wide of the target.
Despite Northumberland doing most of the pressing, Cumbria’s defence stood firm and defended well.
Cumbria did force the odd long range shot on the counter attack but Northumberland goalkeeper Ben Sidney-Wilmot (Kings) dealt with them comfortably.
Northumberland made their pressure count midway through the half when Gourley neatly beat his man and smashed an unstoppable shot into the top corner of the net, giving the Cumbria goalkeeper no chance.
Northumberland were beginning to create chances more and more as the half continued; great play again by Davis on the left gave Conway the chance to make it five but he lacked the composure to do so.
The fifth arrived when neat play in midfield by Jamie Beckwith (Ponteland HS) put in Adam Kourouma (Heaton Manor) who supplied an excellent curling finish to cap an excellent morning’s work for Northumberland.
Davis collected a well-deserved man of the match award and next up for Northumberland is a home fixture with North Yorkshire on Saturday, November 14.