Petersfield Town Reserves 3-1 Sholing Development Squad

Marley Mason 50

Saturday 27th August 2016 3pm - Wyvern Challenge Cup

Sholing: Jordan Brooks, Jean-Luc Ramdin, Lewis Eades (Connor Pearson 55), Sam Gregory (Quinn Mason 10), Harry Butler, Jack Fisher(Josh Helm 75), Kristian Cozzolino [c], Owen Royl, Luke Bergg, Marley Mason, Jamie Staples. Unused Subs: Harvey Wright

Yellow Cards: Cozzolino, Marlon Mason

Saturday afternoon saw a Wyvern cup encounter between Petersfield Town FC Reserves and Sholing FC Development Squad on a very muggy day at Love Lane. Sholing started today's game against Petersfield Town with yet another young team, with Attrill brothers Liam and Jack missing, as well as first team players Sam Jenman, Joel Drew, Kieran Winman and Nick Yeomans. Jordan Brooks was drafted in from the first team to gain valuable game time in goal. 16 year-old Jean-Luc Ramdin started at right-back, with fellow 16 year-old Lewis Eades dropping into left-back, whilst another 16 year-old Harry Butler started alongside Sam Gregory, who at 22 years of age was the oldest player in the whole squad! There seems to be a theme developing here...

Despite playing 90 minutes in the first team's 3-1 win vs Lymington Town not even 24 hours previous, (yet another 16 year-old) Owen Royl joined captain Kristian Cozzolino in the centre of midfield, with usual right-back Jack Fisher pushed up to right-wing, and Jamie Staples on the left, with recent first team debutant Marlon Mason partnering Luke Bergg in a pacey, dangerous-looking attack.

The dry, bobbly surface was noted by both teams prior to kick off, and effectively shut off any chance of either team playing any form of attractive, passing football. This arguably suited a bigger, stronger, more experienced Petersfield side who dominated possession for large spells of the first half, however shots on goal were few and far between, with the Boatmen taking a little longer than their hosts to hit their stride playing up the hill in the first half. It was Sholing, however, who carved the first real opportunity of note when Luke Bergg was sent through on goal, however a poor touch on a tricky surface forced him wide to the right of the area and the Petersfield 'keeper saved well with his feet, almost falling on top of the ball after blocking the shot.

On the 10-minute mark an early change was required as Sam Gregory, one of a contingent of players struggling with knocks, was forced off with a recurrence of a knee problem. Quinn Mason entered the fray into attacking midfield, with Owen Royl dropping into central defence and Jack Fisher moving into a holding midfield role as part of a tactical reshuffle that saw Marlon Mason moved to the right wing and the starting 4-4-2 altered to become 4-2-3-1. The only other real action of note was a Petersfield shot that took a deflection in the area, wrong-footing Jordan Brooks but also diverting the ball into the body of a Petersfield attacker, blocking what looked a likely goal. A few last ditch challenges and some soft refereeing decisions meant the young Sholing defence were tested on multiple occasions from set-pieces, however none were of a good enough quality to trouble Brooks in goal. HT 0-0

The first action of the second half saw the first piece of genuine quality football played by the Rams, as some clever passing and moving carved open the Sholing left-side defence, only for the Petersfield striker to bring a brilliant reflex stop out of Jordan Brooks at his near post. This sparked Sholing into life, with Harry Butler and Owen Royl beginning to impress in the centre of defence, taking pressure away from the Sholing half and looking to start spreading the play. This calmer approach paid dividends just after the 50 minute mark, as some good play through the Sholing midfield gave MARLEY MASON the chance to score from 20 yards out with a left-footed shot that nestled in the bottom left corner, just past the despairing dive of the otherwise-impressive Rams goalkeeper. The poor playing surface caused more problems for Sholing as Lewis Eades was forced off after 55 minutes by a heavy challenge and a bad landing on his ankle, meaning another reshuffle in defence as

Jean-Luc Ramdin switched to left-back and Connor Pearson came off the bench to take over at right back.From this point onwards the whole back line were 16 years old! Sholing were growing in confidence with Quinn Mason beginning to dictate the play and pick out wide runners, and were unfortunate to concede against the run of play just after 70 minutes. PTFC 1-1 Sholing FC.

Another stoppage in play was required as Jack Fisher, already carrying an ankle knock that had required treatment, took a blow to the back of the head that he was unable to shake off, meaning usual Goalkeeper Josh Helm was brought on as the final substitution on 75 minutes, taking up the unfamiliar role of midfield general. With Owen Royl struggling with shin pains, Kristian Cozzolino pushing through an ankle knock, Marlon Mason playing with a groin problem and Jordan Brooks nursing a sore shin from being kicked in the first half, Petersfield began to establish physical dominance despite the tireless work rate of the young Sholing team.

Sholing kept themselves in the game and were defending well, with Owen Royl showing why he's been a starter for the first team this season. Royl then took a nasty elbow to the nose on the 80th minute which left him needing treatment to restrict the bleeding, and not long after his reintroduction to the game Sholing went behind through a lucky rebound from Harry Butler's attempted clearance leading to a looping shot that evaded the reach of Jordan Brooks. PTFC 2-1 Sholing FC.

This seemed to be a big blow to the Sholing players' confidence as the defence had stood strong against a lot of Petersfield possession and attacking intent without Brooks having much to do in the Sholing goal until this point. To compound Sholing's misfortune further, a costly slip from captain Kristian Cozzolino just 4 minutes later allowed a Petersfield midfielder to take the ball 25 yards out and unleash a brilliant strike that left Jordan Brooks with no chance, sealing Sholing's fate with 3 minutes of normal time remaining. FT 3-1

Plenty of positives to take from the game, however, with such a young team showing a lot of promise against a Petersfield team that will be pushing for league and cup honours this season. A few players will be hoping they can rest up and be available for Thursday's home game v Salisbury, while Josh Helm will be hoping for a return behind the defence rather than in front of it! Certainly a good headache for Iain Calder to have with regards to team selection as others become available!