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Match Reports

Exiles remain unbeaten after 1-1 draw at Merthyr Town

20 July 2017

 

The Exiles remain unbeaten in pre-season following a 1-1 draw at Merthyr Town.

 

In the battle of the fan-owned clubs, it would be honours even despite County leading for over an hour.

Trialist 2 was the man to slot home for County following good build-up play from scholar Lewis Collins, before Stuart Fleetwood would equalise with ten minutes to go.

That leaves County unbeaten after a draw at Undy and victories against Swindon Supermarine and Chippenham Town.

County elected to name a combination of youth players and trialists in the starting team, a good run out for those selected.

Joe Hunt, Jay Foulston, Tom Savigar, Jay Williams, Evan Press and Momodou Touray were the youth players selected to start, with Tom Hillman and Ryan Scrivens making an appearance in the second-half.

But it would be Merthyr’s Ian Traylor to fashion the first real opportunity of note, his 20-yard strike drifting narrowly wide of the County goal.

Then when County created their own first opportunity, it would yield the first goal. After Lewis Collins had waltzed his way into the area, he calmly played it across the area for Trialist 2 to slot home.

The Martyrs almost hit back immediately from a corner and were perhaps unlucky not to get a penalty, before Kyle Copp tested the palms of the Trialist County goalkeeper with a curled 30-yard free-kick.

Copp would come even closer with his next free-kick, his 20-yard effort ricocheting back off the post.

Trialist 2 would then come inches away from doubling his tally for the Exiles, his header going narrowly past the post before he was denied by the goalkeeper just minutes later.

Momodou Touray was unlucky to be denied an opportunity to open his account for the County first-team on the half-hour, a contentious offside call stopping him in his tracks when in on the goalkeeper.

Traylor would fire wide again on 32 minutes, before Stuart Fleetwood would force the first real save from the trialist County goalkeeper ten minutes later.

Ex-County player Kerry Morgan would fire onto the crossbar before narrowly shooting wide with the rebound in what was the last opportunity of the first-half.

County would keep the same starting team going into the second-half, but it would be one of the Merthyr substitutes to fashion the first chance of the half – Corey Jenkins heading over from an inviting cross into the area.

That would be the only real chance in the first fifteen minutes of the second half, predominantly due to an injury to one of the County trialists.

But when the next opportunity did come, it almost resulted in a goal. The ball fell perfectly for scholar Joe Hunt to volley from 25-yards, unlucky to be denied by a fingertip save from the Merthyr trialist goalkeeper.

Stuart Fleetwood almost got an equaliser moments later, the Exiles trialist goalkeeper thwarting his efforts after skipping past two challenges and driving into the area.

Merthyr almost had the perfect opportunity to equalise with a quarter-of-an-hour to go, only for Joe Hunt to slide across and prevent a promising looking build-up.

The County trialist goalkeeper was then forced into a save moments later, turning around a decent strike from one of the Merthyr trialists.

County trialist 5 headed home with ten to go only to be adjudged offside, before the home-side were awarded a penalty.

Stuart Fleetwood would not be denied, sending the trialist goalkeeper the wrong-way to level the scores.

Adam Davies would then almost give the home-side the lead on 82 minutes, only for the County trialist goalkeeper to produce another top-draw save to keep the scores level.

Touray would come agonisingly close to a late winner, his driving run and shot curling just round the upright.

But no winner could be found as the game ended in a draw, keeping County’s unbeaten start to pre-season intact.

Despite not securing victory, youth team manager Byron Anthony saw many positives from the run-out.

He said: “We really enjoyed the performance tonight, it was fantastic. The work-ethic within tonight’s team was first-class and they were a credit to this football club.

“Merthyr is a great place to come, they like to play football and pass it around so it was always going to be a positive challenge for our players. It’s what they need and to come up against some ex-league players is good for them and I thought some of them came through really well which is hugely positive for the future of this football club.

“Michael has said to me all along that he will play these guys if they are good enough so it’s an ideal situation that they played tonight. It stands them in good stead for the future.”

Jay Foulston would be the one player to be singled out for praise by Anthony, in what was his second pre-season outing following his appearance at Swindon Supermarine.

He commented: “Michael and Wayne both told me he didn’t look out of place at Swindon which is great for a first-year scholar. He looked the part again tonight so that’s good from our point of view.”

Momodou Touray completed his first 90 minutes for the County first-team after getting half-hour at Undy and he was also pleased with the performance.

“I thought I played well – Wayne told me to try and hold the ball up tonight and I thought I did that well. I see every game as the same – physical, good intensity so I don’t feel they were any different. It was a good run out and to get that fitness was great.

“Anyone would want to play first-team football as a youth player so it was really good for me to get that again. Hopefully if I work hard then more opportunities will come.

“I feel like I’m getting better as a player – the other strikers have helped me in training and I think I am developing. I try to use what I learn in the games and it seems to be working well.”   

County: Trialist, J.Williams, Savigar, Foulston (Hillman 51’), Hunt, Trialist (Scrivens 60’), Press, Trialist, Collins, Touray, Trialist


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