Reserves return to winning ways

 

Portishead v Wrington Redhill Res

Weston and District Division 3

14 March 2015 3:00pm

After a series of below-par performances, the Reserves’ return to league action also coincided with a pleasing return to form as they came from behind to edge out a decent Portishead side who were never out of the contest until the final whistle. The game was played on the home side’s “first-team” pitch, and the decent playing conditions allowed both teams to try and play a passing style throughout.

For the second week running, Wrington were missing several players, but in contrast to the previous week’s lethargic display, the away side were full of energy and movement, exemplified by the excellent Jes Oliphant and Oliver Cozza, re-introduced by manager Julian Moss. The youngsters started together in attack and their willingness to run into the channels to receive the ball stretched the game and presented pockets of space for Nick Buck and Mick Edmunds in midfield. Edmunds whipped in a wonderful ball for Cozza only to volley into the grateful arms of the Town goalkeeper, in the visitors’ best chance of the first period.

The energy of the front two was infectious, and spread to wide-men Joe Moore and Paul Faulkner, who joined the attacks wherever possible. Facing Wrington’s pace, the home side were playing a dangerously high line, and Portishead were indebted to their linesman’s flag as Dan Burnett’s pinpoint header set Moore through on goal.

The home side were not without their own threat as the young side also showed plenty of pace in attack, although they were limited to half chances as the returning Nick Curtis added some much needed speed in defence. It was his slip towards the end of the first half, however, which allowed the Portishead forward through to square to his team-mate for a tap-in, with a strong hint of offside.

As the first period reached its conclusion, Wrington had James Vowles to thank for an excellent save to keep them in the game, as he reacted well to charge off his line to smother a dangerous attack.

Wrington started brightly in the second half, with Cozza and Edmunds exchanging positions to good effect – Edmunds holding the ball up well, and Cozza’s energy in the midfield helping Wrington to take an increasingly strong grip on the game as they chased an equaliser. Within 10 minutes of the restart, the ball fell to Cozza’s feet on the edge of the box, and he turned sharply to fire a fierce shot into the top left corner of the goal.

With confidence increasing, Wrington continued to press for a winner, and it arrived deservedly with 15 minutes remaining as Oliphant’s excellent footwork and tireless running inside the box saw his snap shot rebound to Moore to slide home ahead of his marker.

At the other end of the pitch, there was still time for Vowles to complete an excellent personal performance with a wonderful save at full stretch, and it was a shame that a good-tempered game finished in fractious fashion as frustration boiled over into a bad “stamp” tackle on Paul Burnett which went unpunished by the referee.

The Reserves will now need to push on and take confidence from this game into their 8 remaining fixtures as they continue their hunt for a third consecutive promotion.

FULL TIME Portishead 1-2 Wrington

Wrington: Vowles, P. Burnett, Curtis, Williams (C), Faulkner, Moore, Buck, D. Burnett, Edmunds, Oliphant, Cozza

MOTM: Oliphant