New season new targets set and new players joining the Dell set up, today we faced Farmers Arms fc in our opening match of the 2016/17 season in our new home of Division 2 of the Houlihans Birkenhead league.
From the off we looked to get at them with Philly Lennon working hard to release new signing Stu Hardman down the right channel, it was Stu’s tremendous cross which just missed the head of a hungry looking Liam Rose.
Moments later the double team of Rose and Hardman once again combined as stu’s fine ball put Rose thru on goal but his shot was well wide of the goal.
We then became slightly frustrated and the Farmers started to grow into the game causing panic a couple of times with balls launched forward, but the defence of Miller, Easterbrook and new skipper O’Donnell kept a tight grip on proceedings.
Easterbrook as per was winning header after Header and whenever he was unable to the excellent O’Donnell swept up expertly, even firing a stunning 50 yard Crossfield ball forward to release Lennon on the right wing.
Our new addition in goal Jimmy Rainford, started well and one thing which was noticed straight away is his speed of which he releases the ball, the moment he collects he is immediately looking for a short throw or pass which started a number of bright openings for us in the game.
On 34 minutes the breakthrough came as an astute Hardman cross was met with a neat headed finish into the bottom corner by the bright Ryan Smith 1-0. Moments later we could have made it 2, Leslie who was another who had started brightly also had a headed chance but unfortunately was well wide of the goal.
Straight after that chance we should have made it 2 as Kevin Machin danced his way into the box and rifled an effort which the keeper did well to save pushing it out to his left it was met by Philly lennon who smashed an effort goal wards only to see their defender clear off the line, then to make it worse Hardmans follow up effort just glanced wide of the goal.
Chances came again as before the half time whistle Ryan Smith done superbly to win a great tackle and carried on advancing down the wing he collected the pass and fired across goal to a waiting Hardman who just missed by inches.
The second half started with an immediate bang as a free kick for a foul on Smith was cleared back out to Rose who rifled a sweet effort into the back of the net to settle any nerves 2-0.
On 60 minutes 2 changes were made to try and put more pressure on the opposition, Sean Phillips replaced Lennon and Danny Curran replaced Edge. Phillips straight into the mix with a great darting run down the right wing and Curran not to be outdone 2 crunching tackles in the middle of the park.
Hardman was having a great game and enjoying his debut for the club and it was his unselfish play which got us our 3rd goal and Rose his second of the night, a sharp turn in the final third was met with an exquisite through ball which the gleeful Rose pounced and finished expertly past the stranded keeper 3-0.
Then a rare lapse of concentration at the back, Miller was adjudged to have fouled their forward after letting him loose at the back and the ref harshly pointed to the spot……finishing well beyond Rainford in goal 3-1, Harsh on Miller as he had a terrific game at the back.
With 20 left on the clock and Farmers piling forward for the first time in the match, a change of formation was made reverting to 4,4,2 with Ste Harper replacing Ryan Smith, Sam Yates replacing Lee Miller and Tom Briggs replacing Kevin Machin to see out the game.
For the next 1`0 minutes we settled back down and in the 80th minute a great 30 yard ball in-between the lines from Danny Curran found Stu Hardman who finished superbly to seal the game 4-1.
That’s how it finished and a decent performance and a great 3 points to start us on our way.