Langford Reserves battle but defeated in opener

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Langford Reserves did enough to earn a draw but went down 3-2 to Wewlyn Reserves on Saturday.

After what has been a disjointed pres-eason it was time for Langford Reserves to start their season for real.

It couldn’t have come against a harder opposition having been beaten 7–0 in the last encounter between the pair.

Manager Scott Blower has done a complete over haul of the reserves since last season with an emphasis on youth being Key,

This shows with the average age of the reserve squad for the opening game being Just 23.

The opening game couldn’t start with a worse problem for the young side with the only recognized centre half Laurie Bambridge pulling up in the warm up leaving manager Blower no choice but to start with a CF Kyle Watson and a RB dean Walton as his central defensive pairing. However we play the cards we are dealt and this was how it was to be.

Both teams started brightly with attacks down both flanks, however it was Langford to strike first with the energetic Sam Evans striking over the bar and returning striker Josh Cranwell sliding his shot just wide. The game seemed to be well controlled by Langford going into the second quarter of the first half and the pressure was to pay off when a well taken corner by Brad Pearce was well met by the stand in Centre half Kyle Watson and thumped the back of the net with a thunderbolt header, 1-0.

Langford’s lead lasted 10 minutes Welwyn broke through, however controversy was to rear its head as the Linesman had raised his flag during the first phase of the play only for the Referee to overrule his decision.

Injury was to force yet another change to the Langford back line young Ben Blower pulling up with a hamstring injury and having to be replaced by Steven Monks.

During the interval the message to the Langford players was a simple one for Blower and his assistant Gareth Head tighten up the middle of the park and continue to play with width and to continue to give 110% for each other.

This message seemed to have got through as within 10 minutes of the restart a neat passage of play involving George Mcmillan, Sam Evans and full back Brad Pearce led to a tempting Cross into the Welwyn box for Cranwell to pull back and another debutant Sam Harewood to open his account for the season 2-1 to Langford.

The lead lasted 20 minutes when a slip by full back Brad Pearce was exploited by Welwyn who managed to pull the game level and then another mix up allowed Welwyn back in 10 minutes later to take the lead. Sam Evans who has recently returned from injury was now feeling the pace so was replaced by the powerful Gaz hodgeson who made an immediate impact with his size and presence.

Two more substitutions were quick to follow young Josh Wilson and full back Brad Pearce having run out of steam being replaced by debutants Nikos Anastasiou and energetic winger Mustafa Nas. The changes put fresh fight into the Langford side who pressed throughout the closing stages with Hodgesons well struck shot ricocheting off the post only for the rebound by Cranwell to skip off the bar.

With both sides tiring Welwyn had resorted to running the ball into the corners to play out time a stark contrast to the last outing between the two. However for all the pressure the young Langford side could exert the equaliser eluded them and the game finished 3-2 Welwyn.

All in all a very positive start to this Young side with manager Scott Blower full of praise for his team: “I couldn’t ask for any more than what they gave and on reflection a draw would have probably been a fair result” he also added.

“Injuries to key players and players playing out of position leaves me wondering what could have been, however I witnessed a man of the match performance from my Full back Dean Walton playing in central defence which now gives me more headaches (in a good way)on selection day.”

Goals: Kyle Watson 35 mins, Sam Harewood 55mins

Assists: Brad Pearce, Josh Cranwell

Man of the Match: Dean Walton