Reality check for Reserves

Sporting Weston vs Wrington Redhill Reserves

Weston and District Division 2

12 September 2015 3:00pm

Wrington Reserves began life in Division 2 with a chastening defeat away to Sporting Weston. Confidence was high in the team following a third successive promotion, but on this evidence Wrington will need to learn fast to cope with the demands of the higher league – where a failure to take chances is costly, and mistakes are more clinically punished.

In truth, the scoreline could easily been reversed had Wrington taken any of a host of chances when they were on top in the game at the start of the second half. The away side hit the woodwork twice through Kyle Selman and Nick Curtis, Joe Moore had a second-half goal ruled out for offside, and debutant Michak O’Connor headed a glorious opportunity over the bar from close range.

The first half was an even, if largely uneventful spectacle, as both teams tried to settle into a rhythm. Manager Julian Moss handed a debut to young goalkeeper Jacob Burnett, who received a cruel early lesson in decision-making, as he dwelled on a pass-back, allowing the Weston forward to close him down and rebound the clearance into the net. Wrington responded well, and deservedly levelled through O’Connor with a smart turn and finish, moments after the Weston keeper had pulled off a remarkable double save.

Wrington adapted their shape, having started with a back four, pushing Chris Holland into midfield and reverting to a more familiar back three, made up of Callum Briggs, captain Phil Williams and Players’ Player of the year 2013/14 & 2014/15 Curtis. The change in formation prompted an immediate improvement, with Holland in particular providing some energy to the play.

Against the run of play, Weston scored a second despite a strong suggestion of offside, and a soft third goal followed and effectively ended the game as a contest. Despite pulling off some excellent saves in the second period, Burnett was unable to do anything about a fine fourth goal from the Weston skipper, which put a gloss on the performance.

A concern for Reserves will be the inability to name a single substitute on the bench, with all three Wrington teams playing on a Saturday at the same time for the first occasion. Unable to match Weston in refreshing some tired early-season legs, the away side were relieved to hear the final whistle.

Despite the defeat, there were positives for Moss to take from the game. O’Connor was lively throughout, and showed good strength in holding up the ball and bringing midfield runners into the game. In goal, Burnett also showed some excellent signs for the future.

FULL TIME Weston 4-1 Wrington

Wrington: J. Burnett, C. Briggs, N. Curtis, C. Holland, P. Williams (C), J. Moore, P. Hartnup, M. Edmunds, P. Burnett, K. Selman, M O’Connor

MOTM: C. Holland