Rugby Town First Team beat a gutsy Barwell Reserves who never caved in.
Thursday 21st July 2011
Report by Rowland Jordan
In their first pre-season friendly of the coming season, the Canaries faced Rugby Town's first team that included three ex Coventry City players and a couple of trialist.
Barwell fielded two of their three new signings in Stuart Burton and Craig Bradbury, whilst new Player-Coach Martyn Olorenshaw was unable to make it tonight. Ben Betteridge made his welcome return after a bad knee injury in March.
A minute's silence was observed for Carl Barnes, the Rugby Town kitman who would have certainly been at the game but for his sudden passing away on Tuesday at the early age of 44.
Rugby got out off the blocks quickly and dominated the first half, hitting the post in the third minute. Then having a penalty saved by Leon Oswald after Scott Brown had handled the ball inside the area.
Rugby opened the scoring on 25 minutes when Niki Preston nodded in from a left wing cross. The second goal also came from a left wing cross, when on 39 minutes Tyrone Fagan brilliantly chested down, turned and fired in a left foot shot from 12 yards out that left Oswald with no chance.
Three minutes later and the scoring was complete as Lynval Da Costa hit a left foot shot that took a wicked deflection and trickled in off the post.
Barwell made three substitutions at half time and looked a far better outfit after the break. The Canaries pressed and never allowed Rugby to dominate as they had in the first period. Two of the substitutes were later reintroduced and Barwell played with experimental formations.
Although the second half was 50/50 in play, neither side could break the other and Rugby ran out comfortable winners. However Barwell experimented with style and played with panache finding their feet and showing that they have style, although the finished article is a little way off as is the new league season. The foundation is there and one can see that with practice this team has the making of something good for the forthcoming season.
Although no "Man Of The Match award" is made in friendlies, it must be said that Leon Oswald had a exceptional game. Saving a penalty as well making his presence well felt with other superb saves.
Barwell: 1 Leon Oswald. 2 Louis Gamble (3 James Heathcote 67 min). 3 James Heathcote (15 Jordan Pickering 46 min). 4 James Tomlin. 5 Jake Thompson (12 Stuart Burton 46 min). 6 Lloyd Gamble. 7 Matthew Shorrock (5 Jake Thompson 67 min). 8 Scott Brown. 9 Craig Bradbury. 10 Jonathan Paton (14 Alex Ball 46 min). 11 Ben Betteridge.