Ralphy's Report on Reserves

We're a month into our season and as a whole I'm delighted with the start we've made. We're in to the next round of the Somerset County Cup and have won 2, lost 1 and drawn 1 in the league, if you had offered me that at the start in August I would of taken it. It's still early days but the squad have reacted well to a new formation and style of play and the new lads coming in have really gelled quickly with the original squad. The start we've made has boosted confidence and morale is high at the moment which is great.

 

We started poorly with a 4-0 loss away to Chickerell who are always strong at home but it also didn't help with losing Connor Fletcher early in the game to a serious knee injury which isn't looking good and may keep him out until most probably the end of October at least. We wish him a speedy recovery and I feel for him as he had a great pre season and I know he was raring to go for this year. It left us with no recognized striker on the day with Shearer nursing an eye injury so it was always going to be tough starting there. My concern was the lack of chances created so this was something to address.

 

We bounced back the week after with a convincing 5-0 away win in the Somerset Cup which was fully deserved at Long Ashton Reserves. This takes us into the next round against Stoke Sub Hampdon on October 13th which we're hoping to have a cup run this year having failed to progress further than this stage in previous years. Luke White in particular on the day was fantastic scoring a hattrick only to be surpassed by full back Scott Evans as MOM with his tireless work rate and also chipping in with a goal himself. Following our previous week with lack of creativity the lads responded well and this was great to see that reaction. 

 

We knew the next 3 games were against teams who finished around us last year and therefore knew we could gauge any improvement made in these. Firstly we beat Broadstone away which was a dogged performance grinding out a result in scorching conditions. Once again Luke White with both goals after relentless hardwork up front. This was a complete team performance and the lads were disappointed to concede in the last minute but the most important thing was to get 3 points on the day.

 

Our first home game vs Corfe Mullen was played in opposite conditions to the previous week with it pouring with rain, making the game tough for both sides. We never got going first half but I was happy with how we reacted to going 1 down, we immediately went up the other end and scored through Dunc McCabe. We regrouped at half time and came out much stronger, although a draw was probably a fair result it was great to see we pushed to the end and weren't satisfied with just the point. A special mention to our new keeper Sam Hulland who had received some sad news before the game but was still determined to play and pulled off some incredible saves to keep us in the game especially first half. Sam optimizes the commitment we have this year which has been fantastic and something we're going to need to ensure we do anything this year.

 

We finished off September away at Cranborne missing a few players in Max Hinds (called up to first team), Will Hopkins (called up to first team) and Luke White (calf injury). Usually missing 3 big players like these I would be concerned but the strength of the squad this year just shows, as I had full confidence in those lads coming in and I was sure we could go away and get 3 points. First half we played okay but weren't as clinical as I'd liked even though we created chances but still at times with a lack of concentration let them have chances the other end when they should of had no right. We went in at 1 up but I knew we could do more and I think the lads knew it too. The lads responded well and we really turned the screw second half scoring 4 more and eventually winning 5-1. Shearer getting 2 and getting off the mark for the year is a big boost for him as he's played slightly out of position so far mainly due to Luke's form but when called upon has stepped up and done what we know he does best. I was chuffed again with this result after Cranborne had drawn with Broadstone who we narrowly beat and they drew with Poole who have started well also, so we had to be wary. The manor in this win was great to see and exactly what I want from the boys, when we sense blood we really attack and kill teams off!

 

As I mentioned the lads have grown in confidence and I hope to take this in to October and continue with this good run. We've got a couple of tricky games coming up including County Cup but if we can continue to improve and apply ourselves like we have so far we won't be far off where I expect us to be come the end of the year. 

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