The reserves welcomed Winscombe “A” to a picture perfect Recreation Ground for their first home game of the new season – the fencing around the perimeter and the magnificent playing surface itself a credit to the hard work that goes into the preparation behind the scenes at the club.
Manager Julian Moss welcomed back captain Phil Williams from suspension to strengthen the Wrington defence, and also handed starts to debutant Phil Hartnup and Tom Brewster in an otherwise unchanged team from the winning side which started against Banwell the previous weekend.
Despite Winscombe’s poor start to the embryonic season, losing 7-0 to Westend, Wrington were under no illusions of the challenge the visiting side would pose, particularly with a fixtureless weekend for Winscombe’s second team. This was demonstrated when the away side took an early lead from their first meaningful passage of play when a long goal kick was misjudged by Mick Edmunds, and a flat-footed Dan Burnett allowed the Winscombe striker to run onto the bouncing ball and beat the advancing Louis Rouvrais, who had little chance.
A second mistake from Burnett almost proved costly moments later, this time the stand-in keeper Rouvrais stood up tall to save well from a similar situation.
Shocked into action, Wrington grew into the game and began to create chances – Hartnup getting particular joy from taking up deep positions, joining Joe Moore in central midfield for his first Wrington game, and playing some incisive balls through to Wrington’s front pairing.
Moore spurned two good chances to put Wrington back on level terms – heading narrowly wide from Hartnup’s near-post set piece and then guiding a shot past the outside of the post, having been played in by Tom Johnson, who picked up where he left off in the first game of the season, terrorising the Winscombe defence and drawing a series of fouls which were perhaps fortunate to remain unpunished by the referee.
On 43 minutes, Wrington got the equaliser their play had deserved, Edmunds finding time and space to play a delightful diagonal ball from deep to the lively Kyle Selman, who controlled well before slotting home.
HT – Wrington 1-1 Winscombe
Manager Moss was forced into making a substitution at half time, striker Brewster having sustained a leg injury. This prompted a re-shuffle of formation with Edmunds moving upfront and Briggs joining the defence.
Wrington started the second half as they had ended the first, and two more one-on-one changes went begging, Chris Vowles and Nick Curtis failing to convert two good chances, the latter after a promising foray forward from the hirsute centre-back.
Wrington will have taken real pride in the quality of their second goal when it arrived on 55 minutes. A patient build up saw Moore and Hartnup exchanging passes in midfield, before the latter worked the ball wide to Johnson. A one-two from the midfield pair earned Johnson a yard of space on the touchline, and he used it to deliver a wonderful cross, which was met by Selman, arriving late at the far post with a cool finish.
Wrington only had to wait 3 minutes for their third, although it bore none of the beauty of their second – an intelligent quick free kick by Edmunds on the edge of the Winscombe box saw first Hartnup and then Vowles attempt crosses. At the second attempt, the ball looped high into the middle of the penalty area, where the disorientated Winscombe centre back leapt highest to direct a precision downward header past his own helpless keeper.
By now Wrington were looking comfortable, although Winscombe began to come back into the game following two Wrington substitutions. The tiring Hartnup was replaced by Gough who finished the game well in centre-midfield, but it will be the injury to Edmunds which will be a concern to manager Moss, following a crunching collision with the brave Winscombe goalkeeper following another bouncing through ball, which left Edmunds prone with fears of a broken rib.
Edmunds was replaced by James Marshall who held the ball up well and should have done better with an early chance to put the game safe, tamely chipping another one-on-one chance into the keeper’s hands having cleverly beaten the offside trap.
In the end, despite their late possession, a Winscombe free-kick fired narrowly over the crossbar was all the Wrington defence really had to deal with as they closed out the game to continue their winning run.
FULL TIME Wrington 3-1 Winscombe
Wrington: Rouvrais, Williams (C), D. Burnett, Curtis, Edmunds (Marshall), Selman, Moore, Hartnup (Gough), Johnson, Brewster (Briggs), Vowles.