The U18’s finally managed to play their first league fixture since the 8th December and their first home fixture since 1st December against Eastbourne Town on Sunday.
The team selection showed a couple of changes both in players and positions with Jordan Burstow making his debut and Thomas Turner playing in midfield with Max Stevens at left back.
We narrowly lost the first match against Town but were hoping for a better result this time and the instructions were to play to our strengths and gain control to push for goals.
Well this changed within 16 seconds from the start of the match when, because of defensive frailties, we managed to present Town with an early goal. This stunned everyone and it then became a test of character for the team which responded well creating a chance for Shaun Tait from a corner taken by Harry Millar.
Slowly but surely the team got into it’s stride and further chances were created, firstly from Jordan whose shot was well saved then a shot from Harry which went just over.
The equalizer came in the 23rd minute when Harry harried the defenders nicking the ball and passing it into the goal. The game was evenly matched at this point and Max Stevens sent a great shot across goal but it went wide.
Again we managed to go behind by allowing a player to plough through midfield and score, 2-1 down and the situation could have got a lot worse just before half time. Town were awarded a penalty but Luke Vidler in goal made a great save to keep us in the match.
The team talk at half time was a forceful one with the management not happy about several aspects of the performance with the team reminded what was expected and required to turn the game around. This obviously worked because we were challenging much more for the ball creating more chances although several were missed and some saved.
Town did create some chances themselves and it took a great tip over from Luke to prevent them going further ahead. However our persistence was rewarded when Daniel Green scored our equaliser in the 80th minute. He started the move himself by winning the ball on our 18 yard line and moving forward, releasing the ball for team mates to continue the move. A free kick was won and taken by Harry who sent the ball into the penalty area where Daniel tapped the ball into the net. 2-2.
The game was finely poised with both teams pushing for the winner. Town broke just before the end and only a great tackle by Kieron Austin saved the day.
Substitutes were Jonno Bennett for Joss Slowey, Jay Thornton for Jordon Burstow and William Herriott for Frazer Johnstone.
A draw was not what we were hoping for but after the shaky start we had at least got a point.
MOM: Daniel Green for his overall defensive display and of course his goal.
Luke Vidler, Thomas Turner, Fenton Boaks (c), Shaun Tait, Daniel Green, Kieron Austin, Harry Millar, Frazer Johnstone (William Herriott), Joss Slowey (Jonno Bennett), Jordan Burstow (Jay Thornton), Max Stevens.