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In the second pre-season game for the youth team, we have beaten Bury 5-4 in an entertaining Saturday morning contest.

Now we know last season was pretty poor fare by and large, but hey, that’s all behind us now and we look forward once more to the Alliance League season. If the games are to be as entertaining as this proved today, then it should be much more fun watching the side.

We had a mixture on first and second years starting the game, though they were predominantly the juniors, with a couple of trialists thrown in. One appeared to be the much mentioned ‘Johnny’ Velasco, while a Hispanic midfielder was also on show in the first half. The back five gave me first views of many with only James Clarke having been seen by me before.

Miles Fenton scored the first goal
Miles Fenton scored the first goal

The game started fast, with a great chance in the opening minute. Olatunde Bayode was slipped in centrally but his snap shot was reflexively saved by the Bury keeper, high to his right. If he had slipped it on the ground he may have had better luck. Soon after Tommy Wood connected with a Dwight McNeil cross from the left but it was his thigh that struck the ball and it flashed over. Down at the other end Bury had a half chance too and we’d had real openings in each of the first three minutes.

We took the lead around the 10 minute mark. Scott Wilson took a free kick on the half way line and hit it deep into the box. Velasco gathered, turned his man and passed him, then picked out Miles Fenton unmarked at the back post to allow the midfielder to slide it home.

We were on top and looking for more as the midfield trialist began a break on the edge of our box. He gave it to the jet heeled Bayode and it was worked over to the impressive looking McNeil, who saw his dipping shot just clear the bar. McNeil then turned provider as he got down the wing and laid it on a plate for Velasco, but he saw his effort brilliantly saved by lightning reactions. Unfortunately for McNeil it proved has last action as he was withdrawn with an injury and replaced by Tyler Shrimpton.

The game lulled for a period as Bury steadied themselves. Around half an hour in they got back on terms too, as they surged down the right wing and sent over a deep cross that found the left winger unmarked to head home. We didn’t let it knock us too much though and there was a notable lack of recriminations within the side – they just geed each other up and got back on it.

We won a free kick in a dangerous position and Shrimpton curled it just wide of the top right corner. The lead was retaken soon enough though as Wood picked up a loose ball and clipped it into the path of Velasco. He arrived at it before the onrushing keeper and dinked it neatly over him into the back of the net.

At half time we made one change with the midfielder being withdrawn and replaced by Samuel Layton. Hard to judge on 45 minutes but he looked quite composed so we wait to see if anything comes of that.

The half had a much more sedate start than the first half and it was 10 minutes in before we saw anything of note. We had the ball in the back of the net again, but the ref chalked off the goal, mainly due to the fact that it was in the hands of the keeper, who himself was on the floor with Fenton on top of him. A free kick was probably the right decision here.

On the hour mark we made a raft of changes. Off went Leighton Egan, Bayode, Fenton, Wood and Velasco, to be replaced by RJ Pingling, Nashé Chakwana, Mark Howarth, Billy Grogan and Tristan Jumeau. Perhaps Bury were trying to decide who was doing what after such a major rotation, but we took advantage to the max and Pingling combined with Chakwana well, with the latter managing to curl the ball in to the back of the net from a tight angle.

Bury redoubled their efforts and got to grips with our new set up. It created another lull in the game but then we stepped it up a gear as we got towards the last 15.

This new front two were looking really lively and Chakwana teed up Pingling, only to see the shot blocked for a corner. Egan returned to the pitch, replacing left back Waz Mpofu, while Fenton came back on for Wilson in the middle of defence.

Chakwana set up Pingling again, but the result was the same, with another corner won. The powerful forward wasn’t to be denied though and making a break he played a ball to Chakwana, but he was probably offside so didn’t go. There was hesitation around him and Pingling burst through and slotted home himself. 4-1 up and we looked like taking a comfortable win.

However, the reassembled defence started to creak and before we knew it we were only 4-3 up. The first was a deflected effort and then the second a clip over Marcel Wusiewicz when he probably hesitated on a through ball. It was ok though as time was running out wasn’t it…. Until a mistake from Fenton ended with him fouling the Bury forward in the box and conceding a penalty. They took it and Wusiewicz guessed correctly, diving to his right and parrying away. No-one reacted though and the Bury forward was first onto it, hammering home the equaliser.

You wouldn’t believe that we were heading for anything other than a win in the game considering the position we had been in. Fortunately our lads didn’t believe that either and as time ran away a fantastic ball into the box by Jumeau found Pingling and he smashed in at the far post after dropping his shoulder to make space.

A really entertaining game.

Team:- Marcel Wusiewicz, Leighton Egan (Billy Grogan), Waz Mpofu (Egan), James Clarke, Scott Wilson (Fenton), Miles Fenton (Mark Howarth), A Trialist (Samuel Layton), Dwight McNeil (Tyler Shrimpton), Tunde Bayode (Tristan Jumeau), Tommy Wood (RJ Pingling), JGF Velasco (Nashé Chakwana).
Subs not used:- Connor King, Oliver Younger

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