Stitch2Print Devon & Exeter League Division One: Wellington Reserves 2, Upottery 2

In their opening fixture of 2023, our Reserves extended the unbeaten run to five games against the unbeaten leaders.

A minute’s silence proceeded the game in memory of our number 3 and friend Lloyd Manning who sadly passed away before Christmas.

Both teams wore black arm bands (thank you to Upottery for this, much appreciated).

Playing down the slope, the Tangerines started well, taking the game to their opponents at a quick pace.

Man-of-the-match Mark Owen receives the award from Paul Noble.

A flurry of scoring chances were created to no avail, with the visitors’ keeper grateful that two were directly in his path.

The breakthrough came on 24 minutes with striker Rohan Poulsom getting behind the back line with pace and skill, cutting inside the box to drill home for a deserved lead.

However, for all our dominance, we did not increase our margin, with the visitors equalising from a counterattack on 41 minutes which was neatly dispatched by their impressive number 10.

On a deteriorating surface both teams adapted as well as possible, with the Tangerines looking to recapture the initiative on several occasions and the visitors looking dangerous on the break.

The introduction of leading scorer Luke Perry, back from injury, together with 17-year-olds Ned Ogilvie and Will Armstrong, into central midfield added fresh legs on a now very heavy surface.

With both teams toe-to-toe searching for a winner, the visitors crafted a neat move which was capitalised on with the shot flashing past Tom Hyam, our 16-year-old keeper, on 65 minutes.

A change in formation soon followed together with the introduction of wide player Dominic Healey who played an intelligent ball behind the full back for Perry to control and loft a high ball from left to right which deceived the keeper.

It gave the team a well-deserved point which, on reflection, should have been three based on scoring chances created.

Lots of positives to take forward for this young, evolving group of players.

Man-of-the-match was awarded to captain Mark Owen by former first team player Paul Noble.

The match ball sponsor was Conway Cladding Ltd.

Team: Tom Hyam, Dylan Groves, Mark Owen, Jamie Fleet, Thomas Davies, Connor Noble, Oliver Nott, Wes Poulsom. Jordan Sellick, Rohan Poulsom, Logan Sellick. Substitutes: Luke Perry, Ned Ogilvie, Will Armstrong, Dominic Healey (used); Jake Nichol (not used).

There is now no fixture scheduled until January 21st when the Reserves play Beer Albion at the Playing Field.