Sutton Town 5:1 Stonnall Phoenix
This friendly against a Central Warks League team was evenly poised at half time but the home side were stronger in the second half.
The first match in the build up to the new season saw Bruce take charge of the team for the first time and favoured a 3:4:3 formation which proved to be positive and attacking.
Missing three key players due to holidays, some lads were trying new positions (not least Ennis in goal!) as well as the new formation and two trialists, Nico and Dillan, who were playing in the team for the first time.
In an exciting start to the game, Sutton pressed forward but Stonnall were first to score, Jack heading a far post Liam corner low into the net for 0:1 after just 4 mins. The lead was short lived though as Sutton replied two minutes later to equalise.
The game then took on a settled period where either side could have scored. Jack found space on the right of the box and fired in a powerful shot which saw the keeper pull of a good save and Ennis made a great double save to keep the score 1:1 at the break.
Captain Ben and the lads are being encouraged this season to have a say in decision making on and off the pitch and several lads contributed to the half time discussion.
Six minutes into the second half Sutton Town scored to take the lead and then scored another two to effectively secure the win as Phoenix tired but the lads continued to play some attractive football. There were good link ups involving Ben and Jack, whilst Dillan, the centre of three at the back, won everything in the air throughout the game.
The Stonnall lads gave everything and had to finish the game short handed as firstly Liam and then Jack came off injured. Sutton added a fifth in the 74th minute to complete a 5:1 victory.
A number of positives can be taken from the performance: Firstly, the attacking formation was exciting to watch, kept the game flowing and will carry a greater goal threat this season; the lads all excelled in new positions which gives greater flexibility; and finally, although the team were second best and were tired by the end, they looked like they enjoyed the experience. This positivity can be carried forward to the next match.
Man of the Match
The whole team can be proud of a gutsy performance, full of energy and endeavour. Commendations should go to Ennis, deputising in goal, Nico and Dillan who looked very assured in their trial game and to Jack who carried a threat all game and who will benefit from his more advanced role.
Bruce has award MOTM to Dillan S. for his towering performance in central defence. Tough tackling and powerful heading. Well done Dillan.