City shock Saints (Southampton U23 2-2 Winchester City)
Winchester City FC turned in an impressive display as they drew 2-2 away at Southampton FC Under 23 side at Staplewood, Saints' training ground.
The young Saints, managed by former defender Radhi Jaidi, came into the game on the back of a 3-0 home win against AFC Totton, whilst City also won last time out, 3-2 away at Ringwood Town.
City started brightly though and after several corners went ahead thanks to a powerful header from defender, Rob Flooks. Southampton passed the ball around fluidly and were a constant threat on the ball but City defender well throughout. Saints did eventually equalise with a volley inside the penalty area shortly before half-time.
However, shortly after the restart, City restore their advantage. Experienced Midfielder, Jamie Barron, finished superbly from 20-yards with a well executed curling effort. Saints looked for a leveller, but the closest they came was when they rattled the crossbar before firing the rebound over the bar.
As with many friendlies, the second-half was largely disrupted by multiple substitutions. However, it was Southampton who finished the game the strongest and the Premier League outfit fired home in off the post with four minutes remaining to salvage a draw.
City take on Hamworthy United next away on Tuesday as they look to maintain their unbeaten start to pre-season.
Citizens off and running (Brockenhurst 1-1 Winchester City)
Winchester City FC began their pre-season fixtures with a 1-1 draw away at Sydenhams Football League (Wessex) side, Brockenhurst on a hot summer Saturday afternoon in the New Forest.
City fielded two different eleven's for each half to give as many players minutes as possible. City were without George Short and Rob Carr who were unavailable and Brendan Norris who is injured, but aside from that the rest of the first-team squad and several trialists and development players featured at Grigg Lane.
Billy Connor looked lively for City in the first-half, coming close to breaking the deadlock. However, it was Brockenhurst who took the lead courteosy of a dubious-looking penalty decision. Their lead was short lived though as City drew level thanks to an own goal. A Brockenhurst defender hit a lengthy delivery back to his own keeper, but the ball instead flew over the keepers head and into the back of net.
At half-time, City made eleven changes, which saw debuts for Keith Emmerson and Ollie Balmer (Kieron Douglas also made his debut in the first-half). IK Hill impressed in the second period and came close on several occasions as well as having an effort disallowed.
City travel to Ringwood Town on Tuesday night before the development side travel to Cove on Thursday night and they then face a trip to Staplewood where City will play against a Southampton XI behind closed doors.
Southampton U23 2-2 Winchester City
That was a thoroughly enjoyable day, a fantastic experience playing on as good a facility as you could wish for, appreciate Southampton FC for allowing us into their world for the day, definitely a worthwhile exercise for us and I am pleased to say we gave as good as we got and they will have also benefitted from the game.
We took another big squad with us but rather than swap everyone at half time we only made 1 half time change and changed most over after an hour or so to ensure everyone had a good run out.
They play a very fast tempo brand of football and we expected to not have vast amounts of the ball, they certainly dominated possession but we actually had a fair bit of ball and played some good stuff, Callum Slattery and Jake Hesketh who have both featured heavily for the 1st team were extremely lively for them amongst others who have been in and around the 1st team, we managed to contain them well and Prycey made a couple of decent saves but we had plenty of opportunities as well, then we went ahead with Flooksy heading in Gilly free kick! They started penning us back in last 5 minutes of half and annoyingly we couldn’t hang onto the break and they scored with a swift break.
2nd half we started very brightly and could have scored after a superb move down the right, then we did get ahead with a delightful chip from Jamie Barron... the game then was fairly end to end with them slightly on top, looked like we may get a win only for them to score from a set piece.
Ultimately and I always say this, results don’t mean a massive amount in pre season, habits and performances do though and we saw plenty of that today, very pleasing and delighted a number of people managed to get into see the game as well. Only negative of day was slight niggle for Olly Balmer who had started the game very brightly, hopefully that won’t be too long!
We roll onto Hamworthy away on Tuesday now and we keep seeing what combinations will work in all areas of the pitch!
Ringwood 2-3 Winchester City
Another good work out with us using 21 players and all getting 45 except a couple sharing an extra 45 due to a late drop out.
It’s fair to say that we dominated the 1st half with the ball but didn’t move it quickly enough and create enough, a deflected goal and a goal on the counter attack put them 2-0 up at the break.
2nd half it was like the Alamo from the off and an absolute catalogue of misses could have seen us rack up a lot of goals, however poor finishes and some good goalkeeping stopped that. We eventually got a goal through Rob Carr with a neat finish, then Oli Bailey finished from close range and Olly Balmer also finished from close range to give us a 3-2 win.
Results don’t mean much in pre season as I always say, however it’s never nice to lose and so I was pleased we didn’t do that after being 2-0 down, there were plenty of positives and a number of negatives, however you learn more about players from the negatives and we will continue to develop the squad from here.
Next up we have the Southampton Under 23’s game at their excellent facility, so that will be a good game for us, we continue to build for mid August!
Great to get 45 minutes from George Short today, who has been out for over a year, that pleased me more than anything that happened today!
Brockenhurst 1-1 Winchester City
Good run out for everyone today, 22 players used and all got 45 minutes plus a hard as well! Some tired legs after a hard week but all acquitted themselves very well and loads of positives! Our goal ab OG cancelling out a very odd pen decision for them! All in all a good day! Onto Tuesday now!