Senior bench duty is fully deserved for keeper Rivers
LAST week saw us travel to AFC Bournemouth in the South West Youth Alliance.
This is always a tricky tie against a club that puts a lot of time and money into their youth department. Coaches Shaun Brooks and Paul Groves really get their side to play good football and a system that we found difficult to cope with in the first half.
They played a really narrow four in midfield which allowed them to dominate the first half and go in 1-0 up.
We could have taken an early lead with a couple of really good opportunities for Harry Williams and Jamie Goodwin which we couldn't quite capitalise on.
However a bit of tinkering at half time saw us take charge and totally turn the game around.
Keeper Harvey Rivers kept us in it before the break with a couple of outstanding saves, but in the second half hardly touched the ball as we pressed to win the game.
Despite numerous chances we could only manage the one goal from Harry Williams, his sixth in the league and 16th since we came back for pre-season.
All in all a result we can be satisfied with, the game could have gone either way.
There were solid performances all round the team, but particular mentions should go to Elliott Keightley at centre-half who looked very comfortable after spending a few games at Cleeve,Rivers and Harry Williams.
This result sees us top of the table after three games, of course very early and not the major focus, but winning games, playing the right way and seeing improvements in the lads is no bad thing at all.
All this without Zack Kotwica (first team), Bobbie Dale (first team, Cleeve and now injured), Spencer Hamilton and Elliott Keightley (both Cleeve at times), so credit to all players for stepping up.
Today sees a return game versus Bournemouth, this time at home (11am) in the League Cup.
This is a group system where we play Hereford, Rovers, Swindon and Oxford, with today's opponents being very familiar.
A special mention to Harvey Rivers , second year keeper who was on the bench for the first team the other night against Plymouth in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy.
Quick and just rewards for a very consistent start to the season with some extremely solid performances.
I always say to the keepers that their mistakes, more than any other player on the field are highlighted due to where they are on the pitch.
Fair play to Harvs, he has showed composure and maturity in goal and a real bonus is his accurate distribution which helps us play the game we like to, building from the back.
On the subject of keepers, we have signed Harry Reynolds on a two-year scholarship.
Although the same age as the second years, Harry can be signed as an over-aged player and be classed as a first year, an obvious advantage as he'll be nearly 19 before a decision will be made on professional terms.
We took him on trial from Royston FC senior side and he has a good stature and size with technically good hands.
Steve Book and myself have identified areas for him to work on, so hopefully he'll take these on and progress.
Staff-wise we said goodbye recently to academy physio Aimee Smith who has taken up another position elsewhere. Aimee has been with us for three seasons and worked really hard over this period whilst at Uni studying - best wishes to her.
Another two young physios will come in to the system, Alice and Luke and be under the guidance of senior sports therapist Tommy Cosh. So a big welcome to those two.