The Recreation ground looked in superb condition on the long awaited opening day of the season and player/manager Leigh White’s team were more than ready for the season ahead. A tough pre-season programme was worth it based on this overall showing and if chances were converted early on then the score line would not be as close at it finished.
The opening exchanges saw Wrington Redhill looking to find their passing rhythm whilst Nailsea and Tickenham were relying on long diagonal balls forward for the nippy front pair of Ollie Hogg and Matt Pilgrim to get onto. On one such occasion Matt Hill was quick to get to a through ball to avert the danger. Skipper Ethan Johnson and Dan Ferguson soon got to grips with this danger and full backs Ryan Pugh and Si Hewish started to get further along their flanks and getting the ball more into their opponents half.
Leigh White and Sam Parkinson got a grip on the midfield and their power and poise was feeding the wide men of Joe Creese whose speedy runs were a constant thorn to the Nailsea defence and resulted in a number of free kicks against them. Rory Thomas on the left was working his way forward and putting in some telling crosses.
In the corresponding fixture back in November 2019 in the Covid-19 curtailed season George Fake made his long awaited league debut for the Club and caused many problems for the visitors defence and a leaner and fitter Fake was at it again in this opening game of the season. With Reece Ferguson – Obamwonyi showing great skills the only thing missing was finding the net. White, Parkinson and Creese combined to feed Ferguson-Obamwonyi and his shot was diverted for a corner. Fake met a cross from Creese and his headed effort was again blocked and the same pair saw further efforts thwarted by the busy defence.
Approaching the half hour mark the breakthrough goal came when Fake got onto a Thomas cross and looped his header over the advancing keeper before rounding him and bundling the ball over the line with his midriff for a deserved 1-0 lead. Another Thomas, Pugh, White, Fake passing movement found Creese who fired just wide. Thomas then had a great run down the left and his shot somehow missed the target. Si Hewish was sliced down and had to be replaced by Matt Walsh who slotted in very well and carried on in the same vein as Hewish.
Nailsea and Tickenham were restricted to free kicks and corners that were dealt with By Hill and his defence and the first half closed with the 1-0 lead in tact.
It was much of the same after the interval and at times the home side producing some free flowing football although Hill had to be lively in taking the ball off the head of Jared Ford from a cross into the penalty area. Parkinson went close from a Dan Ferguson free kick soon followed by White clearing a free kick off the line from Mike Wallington returning as a visitor to his former Club. Despite lots of possession more goals never came and following Pugh and White being replaced by Ethan Williams and Chris Bradley the same pattern continued to the final whistle.
A well deserved victory and the team looks forward to next week’s home fixture against Welton Rovers reserves.
The central midfield pair of White and Parkinson were strong contenders for Man of the Match but the Supporters’ choice went to skipper Ethan Johnson
Goalkeeper: Matt Hill
Defence: Simon Hewish, Dan Ferguson, Ethan Johnson’ Ryan Pugh
Midfield: Joe Creese, Sam Harvey (Parkinson), Leigh White, Rory Thomas
Forwards: George Fake, Reece Ferguson-Obamwonyl
Subs: Matt Walsh (for Si Hewish), Ethan Williams (for Ryan Pugh), Chris Bradley (for Leigh White)
Wrington Redhill FC