The first friendly of the 2012/13 Season was a tough fixture against County League opposition in Reckitts Reserves. Reckitts are an established Saturday Club with the first team dominating every Humber Premier League season. So this was always going to be a tough test, but a good test.
The game started balanced, the experience and physicality of Reckitts enabled them to muscle their way forward, whilst some neat football from Barham managed to put them on the back foot. With three new players in key positions it was expected that there would be some moments where the play broke down due to communication.
Reckitts broke the deadlock after 14 minutes with some good football building up into a scrambled opportunity which Barham were unlucky not to clear off the line. This knocked a little confidence out of Barhams play and allowed Reckitts to dominate for a period. However as the half grew on Barham started to build the pressure and create some good opportunities, one which allowed Yaw Kwakye to break clear though with the goal at his mercy the ball skewed high and wide.
Close to half time when Barham had been pressing up the field Reckitts broke out quickly and caught the Barham defence in a rare moment of disorganisation and with a strong finish Reckitt lead 2-0 at the break.
A much more composed performance in the second half saw Barham push Reckitts back deep in their own half, limiting them to long balls that were cleared confidently by the Barham defence. Arron Winsor the new Barham keeper controlled his six yard area exceptionally well with a safe pair of hands at all times. Typically strong performances from Jordan Clark and Lloyd Varney made Reckitts work hard for their few opportunities. Tom Irwin was joined by Luke Skelton, and the partnership looks a strong one. Harry Ingham took up the defensive role in the midfield and marshalled his area with confidence and composure allowing Ivor Robson and Ryan Marrow the time to attack and create problems for the Reckitt defence.
Wide play from Alex Brewin, Yaw Kwakye, and Arren Inglis linked the midfield well with the attack, Jack Morrill worked hard at the top end and worked back well to help the midfield. Farren Almeida contributed strongly on the left hand side, carving out a number of opportunities, especially one for Ryan Marrow who having received a clinical pass from Almeida just couldn’t find the finishing touch to put Barham onto the score sheet.
However the hard work and endeavour shown by Barham was having an effect on the Reckitt defence and after a string of corners Almeida scored from a large deflection from a Reckitts defender. Suddenly it was game on.
The equaliser came from easily the best piece of football in the match. Starting at the back with Brewin, a number of one touch quick passes with superb movement allowed Brewin to get on the end of a move he started, only to be upended in the box earning Barham a penalty. Ivor Robson confidently struck the equaliser and Barham were deservedly level with their high profile opponents.
Both teams were starting to tire, and Reckitts looked determined to win the game, but time after time Barham cleared their lines and looked to open up at the other end. Then with barely seconds to go a lucky turn from a Reckitts attacker allowed them to snatch a winner. Barham deserved to hang on but it wasn’t to be. However a huge amount of praise must be given to each and every Barham player for a performance that was to be proud of. Baring in mind their lofty opponents and with new players to gel into the team, there is a huge indication of how the new season should go, however there is no room for complacency and we must continue to work towards fulfilling our potential.
In eighteen years of football that was easily the performance of all performances by a team of sixteen years olds playing against men.
Well done everyone.