Western Counties Floodlit Youth League: Wellington U18s 0 Wells U18s 1
Our U18s suffered an agonising defeat at home to Wells on Thursday (February 23rd) evening, going down to a narrow defeat with Wells snatching the victory in the final few minutes.
The game started with Wellington trying a new formation, against opponents who had beaten them comprehensively earlier in the season and they had the better of the early exchanges.
The Tangerines played up the slope in the first half and started by knocking the ball around well, but were indebted to keeper Sam Harcombe, for an excellent early save.
The back four of James Clarke, Ned Ogilvie, Dylan Sellick and Dylan Groves provided a solid base for the team and marshalled the dangerous Wells frontline and this enabled Wellington to put increasing pressure on their opponents.
They came close to opening the scoring when headers from first Ben Fowler and then Ryan Corbett narrowly missed the target, and a number of other half chances went begging.
Wells were always dangerous and the Wellington midfield five off Corbett, Fowler, ably assisted by Robbie Walker, Josh Sibands and Sam Snook had to break up play.
On occasions they managed to turn defence into attack, with both Corbett and Walker picking some excellent passes. Snook and Fowler, playing in unfamiliar positions, both ran their hearts out trying to support the lone striker, Matt Brereton.
Despite being on the front foot for most of the half, the teams went in goalless at half time.
The second half started in a similar fashion with both sides trying to gain the upper hand. Brereton continued to battle away up front on his own and held the ball up well allowing other teammates to join in with attacks and it looked like Wellington had taken the lead when the hardworking Groves burst into the box, but his shot went narrowly wide.
This was the first of several chances the team had and, across the park, they continued to outplay their opponents.
A special mention for James Clarke, making his first start for a few weeks, who put in some brilliant challenges on Wells’ dangerous winger and then in possession made some excellent forward passes.
All of the team continued to perform well as a unit and, as time ran out, a couple of changes had to be made to relieve tired legs, with Jon Wasey and Matt Harper, coming on for Clarke and Walker, who had both suffered knocks.
Wellington continued to press for the elusive opening goal and a series of corners looked the likely route. Unfortunately, a goal did come but for their opponents. A Wellington corner was headed clear and a speculative forward ball found the pacy Wells No 9 in behind the home defenders – there was suspicion of offside but the flag didn’t go up. He charged in on goal and, despite a good save from Harcombe, managed to bundle the ball over the line to steal the points.
There was still time for the Wells keeper to pull off a first class save from a fantastic Brereton free kick which was heading into the bottom corner of the net.
That was, sadly, the last meaningful action before the final whistle and Wellington, once again, lost a game they could have won.
The Wellington players were naturally disappointed, but can hold their heads high after their best home performance of the season.
This includes the two non-playing substitutes, Reggie Dursten and Josh Moore, who realised that changing the team at the stage was not practical on this occasion.
Man-of-the-match: Robbie Walker.
Match sponsor: AJ Carpentry, Wellington.
Food sponsor: Ellie at The Green Dragon.