Home friendly match played on 26 July 2015.
Kicked off at 10:30 AM

Casuals and Pelham started the 2015/16 season with a home pre-season friendly win over league newcomers Birchanger Reserves FC. Although the opponents were a new side, they mainly contained ex heath rovers players from two/three seasons ago. In the end the match ended 4-2 to the home side and although in parts it was a fairly even contest, on a whole Pelham looked the more dominant of the two sides seeing more of the ball, having the better of plays/moves and creating the better of the chances. In wet and windy conditions, Pelham started the game with only 10 men and knew with it being the first game back and fitness levels not being what they were a few months back they were going to have to sustain a fair amount of pressure. However at kick off the home side looked the better of the two sides, even with a man less and held their shape well not allowing Birchanger Reserves to create much at all in the first 10 minutes. After not seeing too much of the ball for the first 10 minutes and frustrating their opponents, pelham soon got more of a foothold in the game and hit the away side on the counter. A couple of times they nearly broke through Dan Arran but just couldnt polish off the move. However even with a man down it was the home side who struck first, and after some good link up play from Liam Perry, Tim Shaw and Joe White, the latter took the ball on into the penalty area and was fowled by the onrushing defender who in turn conceded a penalty. After hitting a grand total of 35 goals last season, Tim Shaw stepped up to the spot and opened up his account for the season, slotting the ball into the left hand corner. Pelham held strong again after that with their organisation and shape and on the 20 minute mark were helped out by the arrival on their 11th man Sam Carter, who slotted in at right midfield, pushing Joe White up top with Dan Arran. A second goal came not long after Sams arrival and once again some more good football this time down the right with Sam Carter and Joe White linking up, saw Joe White whip a dangerous ball into the box, in which Dan Arran took a swipe at it on the volley and altough didnt get the connection he wanted, saw the ball loop over the keeper and hit the left hand stantion placing it in the top corner. With a two goal advantage Pelham were looking more and more dangerous and could have gone three up not long after Tim Shaw played a through ball to Joe White who ended up one on one with the away sides keeper, only for him to rush out and save well. It ended up being Birchanger Reserves striking next and with Pelham on top a combination of complacency and pre season form led to a ball being crossed from the left wing and the oppositions striker rising well to head home. It was the first opportunity the away side had to score, largely down to the back four being absolutely solid and organised, sticking their bodies on the line at any point needed. The rest of the half was played out fairly evenly matched and the home side went in to the break with a one goal advantage. The second half started as the first ended, with it being a fairly evenly contested game in large parts, but Pelham creating the better of the chances after the better of the build up play. Pelham again were looking sharper and a combination of early challenges from Joe White and Tim Shaw saw the ball break to Shaw who looked up, saw the keeper off his line and audastiously lob the keeper from the half way line, restoring Pelhams two goal lead. Again the pattern of play continued and there was some more great link up play between Timmy, Sam and Joe down the right hand side. However it was the away side who struck back next and after a poor corner from Dan Boyce went out long for a throw, the opposition took the throw quickly and capitilised on Pelham switching off, counter attacking fast and slotting home. Pelham thought they had restored their two goal advantage as Tim Shaw whipped In a dangerous free kick just outside the box finding the head of Doug Hazell who headed against the back of Liam Perry and deflected into the net, although the goal was dubiously ruled out for offside. Not long after that the away side broke through and the ever solid back line of Pelham during the game was nearly breached as Jack Bullen miss-timed a challenge just outside of the box, only for the ref to award a penalty despite the protests. However justice prevailed as the Birchanger Reserves striker hit the outside of the post and missed the spotkick. Pelhams two goal advantage was finally restored after that, after an unfortunate assist from Dan Arran (ball on balls) the ball fell to Joe White who carried on dribbling past two defenders and slotting low past the keeper. The last ten minutes were played out and the home side topped off a fantastic performace with a 4-2 victory. With a bare 11 for the first game back, fitness, organisation and concentration levels were to be tested and everyone came out on top. The whole of the back four was solid and organised, the midfield produced some great build up play and there were some tidy finishes from the forwards. First one down and now on to the next one. C

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