|STARTING XI:||1. BEN DARLINGTON 2. JOSH MAZZARELLA 3. KYLE DAVIES 4. DYF SMITH 5. RYAN MERRILL 6. HARRY BOWEN 7. JOSH GRIFFITHS 8. OWEN ROBERTS 9. LUKE PETERS 10. BEN RICHARDS 11. TOM EDWARDS|
|SUBSTITUTES:||12. KYLE JARVIS|
A lot of anticipation awaited the new season for the young Reserve squad. The hard work & results in preseason are all to prepare you for the season opener.
We faced an experienced New Brighton Villa side, and had bare numbers due to holidays & other commitments.
The first half we tried to get into our passing stride and at times showed the type of football we can play, although we rarely challenged the New Brighton Goalkeeper. The pleasing aspect of our performance was the way the lads stood up to the physical challenge from set pieces. We went close in the first half when Tom Edwards flashed a cross in front of goal, which the on rushing striker couldn’t connect with, before Joe Griffiths seen a close range flick from a corner saved well by the New Brighton Keeper. The back five of Ben Darlington, Josh Mazzarella, Ryan Merrill, Dyf Smith & Kyle Davies coped well with the long ball, with Ben Darlington coming out to head clear. The first half came to a close at 0-0
Second half we struggled to find any footing in the game, and New Brighton put us under waves of constant pressure. Again the team coped well on corners and rebuked the superior height advantage of the opponents. New Brighton took the lead through a penalty on 55 minutes after their striker was judged to have been fouled by Kyle Davies. New Brighton sustained the pressure and Ben Darlington pulled off two excellent saves which were crucial in keeping us in the game.
The last 15 minutes I think our fitness levels showed as we crept back in to the game, with the New Brighton players using their experience to try and slow the game down. Just when it looked like were going to open our account with a loss Ben Richards, who had been carrying a cold and struggled to get into the game during the second half, picked the ball up on 88 minutes from a throw in drove into the Villa box before dispatching a left foot curler beyond the keeper, and with the aid of the post drawing us level. With 5/6 minutes injury time I thought we had at least one more chance in us and when Kyle Davies was brought down in the box myself, players & supporters were 100% convinced we should have had the penalty. It wasn’t to be as the game ended one all.
Credit to the lads, they dug in when I’m sure there was some nerves and before the game. We start the season with a draw and look forward to travelling to Lex XI on Wednesday night.