PRE SEASON FRIENDLY
Att : 154
HAMPTON & RICHMOND – 0
SUTTON UNITED – 3 [Scarborough 32. Watkins 33. Marvell 72]
Note to other clubs. If you are installing an irrigation system on your playing surface, the chances of said surface being ready for use in mid July is unlikely. And giving 24 hours notice of the fact that your pitch is not ready is also a bit crap as well.
So, after another boring, football-less week, the weekend finally arrives and we’re off to the familiar surroundings of Hampton’s Beveree. On arrival, we immediately discover that Carl Emberson is on holiday and Stuart Castledine won’t feature due to a hamstring tweak in training on thursday.
Right, where’s the bar?
As per usual, just some details about the game as I can’t be arsed with a full blown effort!
8 mins – A hampton corner from the left is nodded on at the front post and drops around the edge of the 6 yard box. After a brief scramble, in which 2 half-shots are blocked, the ball is finally cleared.
11 min – The home side continue their bright start. A sweeping ball right to left finds a man in a bit too much space. He tries his luck from beyond the near post and forces Wilson to tip the ball away for a corner from in front of the post/bar angle. The resulting flag kick flies across the area, over Wilson, but is cleared from beyond the far upright.
31 min – After a quiet spell, a ball across field finds Brake in the centre. With space in front of him, he advances a few yards and drives in a shot that flies just oevr the bar.
32 min – GOAL 0-1. With our first sight of goal having just passed, a HUGE Jon McDonald throw-in from down by the corner flag on the left finds Scooby 8 yards out in front of his marker. He has the simple task of diverting the ball inside the far post with his head.
33 min – GOAL 0-2. 60 seconds after going ahead and with the Hampton defence still ‘discussing’ the goal, we catch them cold. A ball forwards is poorly cleared by the home ‘keeper, falling straight to Quinton 30-odd yards out and he clips it over the defence to Watkins on the left. The defenders appeals for offside against Cornwell on the right are waved away and Watkins clips the ball past the advancing ‘keeper from an angle to double the lead.
41 min – A U’s short corner is poorly executed and the home side break out in a swift counterattack down our left. A low ball across the box picks out a red shit at the far post, but Wilson does well to block the shot and with the help of Honey, smuggles the ball out for a corner.
A so-so first half. It took us a good half an hour to get going after a lively start from the hosts, playing only their first friendly of the season. Cornwell has again done himself no harm with a lively performance. Honey again has been solid as ever, McDonald looks like a decent acquisition and as for that throw of his, bloody hell!!
Still, the side is looking a hell of a lot more settled than last summer and that alone has got to be good news.
For the second half, JR gives Watkins a break and introduces Eddie Akuamouah to the attack.
50 min – Fierce, rising angled drive from the right is safelty held by Wilson in the centre of his goal.
53 min – A ball over the top of the Hampton defence sends Akuamouah away. He’s clear of the chasing defender as he enters the box only to be taken out at waist height with the ball a good yard in front of him. Staggeringly, the ref waves play on! I’d like to say I doubt we’ll see a clearer penalty all season, but knowing the dickhead officials we get, there’ll be a couple of other corkers before the 9 months are up.
59 min – More changes for Sutton. Douglas replaces Brake on the left and Dale Marvell takes Cornwell’s spot up front.
70 min – A 25 yard free-kick from our right flank is held at the second attempt by Wilson, just before a red shirt can nip in and gobble up the loose ball.
72 min – GOAL 0-3. Matt Gray breaks out from deep and surges upfield. He plays a super ball into space behind the Beavers defence to send Akumouah clear. He tries to skip round the ‘keeper, but their man ensures he does enough to prevent Ed finishing the chance off. But the U’s forward holds his nerve and simply squares the ball for the arriving Marvell to tuck away in the centre from inside the 6 yard box.
81 min – JR then reshuffles the side slightly and Jon McDonald is replaced with youth/reserve & former Bristol City academy man Sean Rivers, making his first appearance for the first team.
82 min – The young striker is soon involved, taking a pass down on the right, holding off his man well before turning and clipping a teasing ball across goal that just evades the lunging Marvell at the back post.
88 min – Low strike is deflected up into the air by Scarborough trying to make a block. But Wilson adjusts quickly and plucks the ball out of the air on his line.
89 min – Marvell gets possession out on the right and comes infield, ignoring the run of Gray out side him, he skips past 2 defenders and into the box. But with the goal at his mercy, he blazes a shot over the target from an angle, 8 yards out.
So all in all, a decent work out for the lads. Hampton were fairly lively for their first run out. Positives were the performances of Cornwell, McDonald and Marvell. Also, Sean Rivers looks more than worth another look for the firsts.
Looks like we’re getting there!
TEAM : Phil Wilson, Ryan Palmer, John Scarborough, Lewis Gonsalves, Jon McDonald, Matt Gray, Tony Quinton, Paul Honey, Nigel Brake, Craig Watkins, Luke Cornwell. SUBS : Eddie Akuamouah, Steve Douglas, Dale Marvell, Sean Rivers, Scott Corbett