Reserve Bulls – Update

Reserve team manager Lee Owens reviews last Saturday’s against Ellesmere Port

Saturday 17th April 2021
Cables Reserves 5-3 Ellesmere Port

After observing one minutes silence in honour of HRH Prince Philip the two sides turned in an entertaining afternoon’s football in excellent conditions with first team manager Craig Davies and co-chairman Jamie Weston in attendance…the only thing missing was the supporters.

The game started brightly with both sides getting the ball quickly into the final third but both defences held firm under these opening salvos. The contrasting styles made the game fascinating and it became clear early on this was game was going to have some goals. Both sides were playing out from the back with the visitors trying to stretch the defence and get the midfield into attacking positions while Cables looked to break forward with pace and turn the defence. Lee Owens’ strategy quickly turned into a dominating performance – Grobelaar-esque goalkeeping escapades aside – and it was no surprise when Cables took the lead though the visiting keeper could arguably be credited with the assist. The Port stopper was closed down in no-mans land attempting to clear the ball and it only went as far as Josh Donnelly who lobbed home from around 40 yards. Brad Parry was on the scoresheet soon after, getting on the end of a slick move and slotting it past the oncoming keeper. Cables started to play with a bit of swagger and had chances to increase their lead but mistakes at the back crept into the play and Port started to threaten to get back into the game and carved out a couple of great opportunities to score. When the goal did come it owed more to Cables players being too interested in the referee than the game and Port had a tap in and a foot in the door going into the break. Whatever was said at half-time had an effect and the second-half saw mostly one-way traffic though Port did show they could threaten on the break but Jack Morton a couple of outstanding saves to preserve the lead. Cables third goal came from a free-kick wide on their left near the corner flag. The ball was lofted to the far post where Liam Keenan was on-hand to head home. The Port keeper was then injured after making a great save from Josh Donnelly who had beaten the offside trap. Port were forced into a couple of changes without a ‘keeper on the bench which soon became instrumental in another goal for Cables. A poor goal-kick deflected into the path of John Morgan who capped off a good overall performance with a drive from 30 yards going just inside the post. Both sides made changes to try and freshen things up and it was the visitors who created the better chances in the last 15 minutes. Port gave themselves a glimmer of hope, capitalising on a mix-up in the Cables rearguard and their lively right-winger got in behind his man and rolled the ball past Morton and it went in off the far post. From the kick-off Cables went down the right and the ball was crossed into the area where everyone thought Josh Donnelly took one touch too many but he was able to force the ball into the net. With stoppage time looming Port won a free kick on the corner of the area and although it looked it was going into the nearside top corner it ricocheted off the all and wrongfooted just about everybody and looped inside the far post.

Reserve team manager Lee Owens was happy with the result but concerned at some aspects of the performance.

“Very pleased with the overall result and work rate from the lads today – couldn’t have asked for anything more out of them on a hot afternoon – but we were fortunate to take lead into the break as we could easily have been 2-3 down with the way we managed the late stages of the first half. Not going to say what was said at half time but we got the reaction we wanted as we went and got the 3rd and 4th goals.”

Despite the overall good performance, Lee was unhappy with the mistakes that sometimes crept into his sides’ play. “We started to switch off and our concentration levels massively dropped which was a concern as we allowed Ellesmere Port to gain confidence and, in my opinion, gave them 2 goals which I felt was a result of our poor play, though our 5th goal was a great team goal, right from the restart going from defence to attack in 3 key passes and finished off by Josh Donnelly.”

With a vital three points in the bag the next game comes around quickly with a home game midweek against title-chasing Mersey Royal, which Lee is looking forward to. “We go again Wednesday night with a similar squad against title chasers Mersey Royal…if its anything like last seasons fixture – with a lot of passion and pride from both teams – it’s going to be a great game.”

Saturday 10th April 2021
Upton 1-1 Cables Reserves

Once again I’m so pleased with the workrate and commitment shown from the players we had available due to injuries. We’ve gone from having 20-plus players down to not even having a full bench which is a concern at the moment…Michael Garside and I were named as substitutes.

We started slow in the first 10 minutes and struggled to maintain possession which meant Upton were having a lot of play in the final third. Our defensive shape stayed good and Upton were kept at arms length.

We improved as the half went on and we created a great chance after good possession and slick passing put Josh Donnolly in and he ghosted past his marker but unfortunately fired over the bar. We didn’t see the Upton goal as Will Maddocks boot had split in half and we were looking for replacement boots.

Second half we started very positively and were getting on the ball more in the final third and our goal come as a result of the sustained pressure. A good cross into the Upton box turned the defence who could only half-clear the ball to the edge of where John Morgan smashed it into the bottom corner for a deserved equaliser.

The game opened right up and was end-to-end with tired legs setting in and both sides were getting stretched. Neither team could carve out any clear cut chances and in the closing stages of the game both myself and Michael Garside to come on and help the lads see the game out.

Overall, with what we had available to us, coming away with a point is pleasing and should give us confidence for a massive game on Saturday when we host Ellesmere Port. A positive result should secure our status in division one next season.

Saturday 3rd April 2021
Newton 3-1 Cables Reserves

We started the game very slow, it took us too long to pick up the pace of the game and Newton looked fitter and fresher than us which resulted in Newton having a lot of the possession but we defended very well as a unit which was pleasing.

The first goal for Newton unfortunately was an own goal from Liam Keenan from a corner, we all knew what he wanted to do but he got the execution all wrong, which happens. Liam’s reaction to this setback impressed me as he didn’t let it affect his game, which is a credit to the lad. Newton’s only other attempt on target come near the end of the half but Jack Morton pulled off a great save to get us in at to half time just the one goal down.

Unfortunately Danny Longworth, Sam Price & Adam Evans were not going to be able to complete the match, suffering injuries partly due to the condition of the pitch. These enforced changes also meant a change to the formation which resulted in players out of position and in unfamiliar roles.

We started to play in the 2nd half having a lot of the ball as the game was stretching out and we got our equaliser from Liam Keenan from a corner as he beat his marker to head in. The game was becoming end to end and we had 2 very good opportunities to take the lead but where unable to take either of them. Newton made a couple of changes that freshened up there attacking options and it worked as they took the lead again, as we pushed to get the equaliser we left ourselves open for a counter attack and in the final 5 minutes that’s what happened and Newton took the opportunity and made it 3-1.

Overall I wasn’t pleased with the 1st half but the 2nd half performance and the work rate from the players was pleasing to see and that’s the type of commitment we need going into each and every remaining game starting on Saturday away to Upton AA.

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