Devon and Exeter League division one: Bow Athletic 3, Wellington Reserves 3

Our Reserves returned to league action for the first time in the new season. Under the continued stewardship of Paul Pocock and Sean Buttle and captaincy of Mark Owen, they travelled to newly promoted Bow with a squad of new and old faces.

It was Bow’s inaugural competitive match on their new pitch and a fair sized crowd gathered pitch side to witness this event.

Despite numerous enforced changes to last year’s side, it was by no means a weakened squad which lined up for Wellington.

With regular first reamers Paolo Borges and Ollie Nott starting and the added experience of Darren Mace and Dave Darch, there a was good balance to the youth. Young debutant Wes Poulsom and speedy first team hopeful Oli Holman along with a focused Tom Davies were the main changes.

To a big cheer from the home crowd, the game kicked off and as expected the home team were full of vigour and zest. But it was Wellington who gradually took charge restricting their opponents to a handful of long shots.

On 15 minutes, Wellington took a deserved lead. Borges burst down the left beating two players before cooling pulling the ball back from the byline to an onrushing Mace to sidefoot past the home keeper.

Six minutes later, it was two from a quick counterattack. The ball played crossfield was brilliantly headed on for Nott to gather pace, pass the onrushing keeper and roll the ball into an empty net.

Wellington were on top and could have increased their lead but the third goal of the game went to Bow. After some scrappy play, a mis-hit shot was redirected past Rob Hall after the team failed to push out. A disappointing goal to have conceded so close to half-time and the half finished 2-1.

The second half started with Wellington again taking charge and they were soon rewarded. Pressure from the front line squeezed a loose touch which young Holman jumped on. He beat a scrambling defender before firing a low hard angled shot past the home keeper for a  3-1 lead.

From here, there really looked like only one winner. Wellington continued have the better of the game but a goal against the run of play gave Bow renewed hope. Poor defending from a corner saw an unchallenged header from inside the six yard box powered home.

Five minutes later it got worse for Wellington when Poulsom was terribly unlucky to receive a red card for a tackle. The youngster slipped as he made his challenge, simulating a two footed tackle – winning the ball and not making contact with the opposition.

Pocock replaced Darch and Luke Woodgate replaced Borges for the losing stages.

Twenty minutes remained and Bow threw everything at Wellington but the visitors were resolute and still creating chances themselves. They should have extended their lead on a couple of occasions before the equaliser came when, with just five minutes left, what looked like a foul throw led to a cross being headed home.

Still Wellington created a great chance to win it but Ash Saunders saw his close range shot saved at the death. Such great disappointment was evident in the players, but the performance in the main was good and promises potential.

This is a big season for the Reserves who have high hopes for a strong showing in the league.