Scorers: Hubbard, Harvey

Yet another preseason test served up by fixture secretary Mr Fabb, this time in the form of Old Owens, the Intermediate Division 1 Champions. Things did not get off to a good start, as Skipper Macca was made late by a combination of Woots, Simmo, Goal Nets, Corner Flags and Green Lanes Traffic, arriving ten minutes before kickoff. After a hurried warm up and a snatched word (New Gaffer Keith told us that he did not want much this season – ‘promotion and a good cup run is enough’ – Easy Peasy then!) we kicked off, and soon found ourselves 1 down when Edelman and Woots got in a tangle on a cross, which floated straight in.

After this we regrouped and began to impose ourselves on the game. The Gaffer was vocal in encouraging a short passing style, and the back 4 of Woots, Simmo, Jeats and Macca were quite successful in playing the ball out of the back. Dan Gunyon and Janno offered a good mix of guile and steel in the middle, keeping a very talented playmaker quiet.

Our attacking quartet of Karnell, Michael, Dan Wilding and Les Manu were extremely lively, with excellent movement. They caused Old Owens no end of problems, and we were rewarded with a goal when Les made a great tackle to regain possession, and fed in Michael who rifled an excellent shot across the Keeper and into the corner.

The rest of the half was a well fought contest – Karnell came close with a fizzing drive, and Owens had chances when they ran at our fullbacks (one area this relatively new back 4 has to work on is communication across the line – get this right and we will not go far wrong).

The second half saw the introduction of Ben Carter, Ian Soloman and Steve Saunders, who slipped in seamlessly. The second half was a great battle with both teams having chances – Edelman made a smart save at the feet of the striker and Ben scorched the Keepers hands with a stinging shot that he did well to tip over. With 10 minutes to go, Steve played a ball into the box that Karnell rifled in on the half volley. 2-1 AP – however, we could not hold on – a salutary warning before the season begins that we need to concentrate and see out games. 2 similar goals saw balls whipped in and headed home from close range.

So a 3-2 loss, but heads held high. We should take a lot of encouragement into the next game. Having seen the quality of players both in the team and in training, it will be an unenviable task for the 1’s and 2’s Gaffers to select just 28 players for the start of the league campaign.

Team: Edelman, McLoughlin, Simpson, Jeater, Wootten, Gunyon, Jannece, Hubbard, Harvey, Wilding, Manu, Soloman, Saunders, Carter.

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