Wednesday 10 July 2013

Seventh heaven

If that well-known brand of lager did pre-season friendly openers, then I think this stroll in the sun might well have been up there to feature if they need material for a forthcoming advert.
A goal each for two new signings and a triallist, positive performances all over the pitch and, to add the gloss, a tantalising glimpse into the future thrown in for good measure.
Mark Yates was, therefore, justified in being a happy man after the game - but stressed that the squad on show is by no means the finished article.
Offers are out for 'a couple' of players; he is after a couple of loans and the four triallists on show will have more chance to impress depending on how far the budget will stretch - so this was by no means the finished article.
But for a first 90 minutes, it was impressive enough. Evesham have only had three training sessions while our lads have been back now for 12 days of hard work, and came into the game after another tough afternoon work-out.
However, just as we didn't get carried away in a negative way when we drew 1-1 at Evesham last season, so we mustn't go wildly the other way this time around - but it was heartening to see us do a good, professional job.
The first-half side was a 4-4-2 of S Brown; Lowe, T Brown, Elliott, Jones; McGlashan, Rees, Deering, Williams; Cureton, Anyinsah.
Cureton was especially impressive. He looked hungry and fit, and it was easy to forget the guy is pushing 38 years old. He looked sharp and it was good to see him get on the end of Jermaine McGlashan's cross to nod in the 11th minute opener.
I must say here that - as a critic of McGlashan's crossing, that, and the ball in for the second goal, were excellent deliveries and just the sort of service we will need this season. More of the same please J!
The second goal was turned in by our former triallist Jared Wilson, although there was a claim (spurious in my view) that it went in off Ed Williams. I was right by the far post, and it was definitely an own goal.
Williams was lively on the left, and linked up well with Sam Deering and Josh Rees, who both looked good.
Rees was bigger than I imagined him to be, looks a good athlete with a decent engine, getting up and down the pitch well, and looking comfortable on the ball.
He made some good breaks into the box, one of which saw him have a shot well saved, and another where he went round the keeper and fired a ball across goal which Joe Anyinsah just failed to put away.
That aside, Anyinsah looked a handful. He put himself about, ran the channels well and linked well with Cureton, and, like Rees, definitely did enough to warrant more of a chance.
As we were attacking for the vast majority of the half, it is difficult to make any early judgments on the new boys in the back four, Troy Brown and Matt Richards.
Brown got himself a goal, a powerful header after Deering's goal was headed back across from the far post by Steve Elliott. Suggestions maybe already that once again we will be a handful from set-pieces this coming season.
At the other end, Scott Brown only had one save to make, and it was decent one in the 39th minute.
Opposition in future weeks will be tougher, but Richards will be more than adequate cover at left-back - but Yates after the game did stress that he was not bought in to play there - but would be able to if needed.
So three goals up at half-time, and only Anyinsah, Deering and Rees started the second half.
The line up was: Roberts; Jombati, Taylor, O'Donnell, Jones; Anyinsah, Rees, Hanks, Deering; Harrison, Bowerman.
George Bowerman, the triallist from Walsall, could not have made a better start. Virtually his first touch saw his shot deflect in to make it 4-0 after good work from Deering, and although he tweaked his thigh and went off, leaving us with 10 by the end of the game, he was another to enhance his claims.
Anyinsah, Rees and Deering gave way around the hour mark to Zack Kotwica, Russ Penn and Bobbie Dale, and soon after we were five up when Byron Harrison was fouled and got up to convert the penalty.
After that, it was all about the future, and our youngsters in Kotwica, Dale and Hanks, all of whom impressed.
Dale scored twice, the first taking a deflection but he can have it, and the second right on the whistle after a great burst down the left from his fellow second-year scholar Kotwica, and those two would have been the names on the lips of many fans as they made their way home.
At the other end, I cannot recall our back four and Connor Roberts behind them having anything to do bar one shot which flew wildly over the bar, so I can't really tell much about Danny O'Donnell's long-term prospects, but he should get another game at Cirencester.
All in all, it was a good base to work from. The youngsters and triallists have all given the manager food for thought as he puts the finishing touches to the squad, while the new recruits are all shaping up nicely, it seems.
Yates admitted afterwards he is a couple of permanent signings short of where he wants to be. He wants at least one more forward, a left winger to give us balance, and I suspect a central midfielder and another defender, and hinted again at 'a couple' of loans. That's all dependent on how much money he has left in his pot.
So the recruitment is far from over and the squad will evolve over the coming three or four weeks, so by August 3 things may look very different. Interesting times ahead.

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