Wrington Reserves 3. V Portishead United A. 1 – Hospital Cup Quarter Final.
Wrington Reserves welcomed back Louis Rouvais (Pictured) into the starting line up and he has obviously been paying attention on his trips to Old Trafford as he led the line with aplomb. Carrying a little more timber than Zlatan, he brought out all the control and power to terrorise the Portishead defence.
Similarly at the back, Phil Williams started in the absence of Curtis and appreciated the arm chair sweeping role he has been getting with Briggs, Holland and now Marsh doing all the tackling in front of them. Williams hardly broke sweat but used all his experience to organise what has become a very solid defensive unit. In perfect conditions, Wrington passed the ball far better this week and with Selman working hard on the left and Moore on the right, started to dictate the game.
The front three also showed more energy and hounded the Portishead defence at every opportunity. A hurried defensive clearance fell to Rouvais who released Tommy Johnson to run at the defence. In the form that he is in it was no surprise when his shot nestled in the top corner from a shot Danny McMullen would have been proud of, to give the home side the lead. Wrington looked in control so it was a shock when the visitors drew level. An attack broke down and with the midfield out of position a break by Bendall-Weeks delivered the perfect far post cross which was slotted in giving Sharman in goal no chance. Wrington responded with Rouvais and Johnson to the fore and again the pair worked an opportunity for Johnson to slot his second and 15th of the season. Wrington were now winning all the 50/50 tackles with Caulfield and Lenny running the midfield. Clements released Rouvais whose near post shot squeezed in past the keeper which was just as well with Johnson free six yards out begging for his hat trick.
At half time, Williams was replaced by the returning Dan Burnett and his first action was being sold short by a back pass and his despairing tackle meant that Sharman had to produce the first of many fine saves to keep the lead intact. The second half then settled and Wrington pressed with Johnson raiding down the left and when his shot was parried it fell to Clements who calmly picked his spot and then blasted the ball straight ….at the keeper. However, Portishead deserve great credit and started to dominate as they pushed men forward. Wrington came under a bombardment of corners and long throw ins for the last 20 minutes. James Marshall replaced Louvais and Wrington were hanging on. Coach Williams will be pleased with the shape, game management and battling spirit of Briggs and Caulfield in particular, along with the keeping of Sharman that saw the game out with no further score.
The Committee nominated Clements, Williams and Lenny for Man of the Match in vindication of their youth policy but in reality it could have been given to anyone. In the end Rouvais edged out Briggs for the award after a vote which controversially saw his girlfriend vote against him.