By Jeff Youd
On the first day of the new season, the new look reserve side faced a very experienced and organised Clanfield side. The first 10 minutes saw the anticipated first game jousting with both sides more fearful of making mistakes rather than being creative.
The first action of any interest occured after 10 minutes when graceful dead ball specialist Adi Roper delivered the perfect corner and following a training ground move perfectly worked, Highworth's No.9, Jack Allen 'Shearer' found himself in space his first time effort was expertly tipped onto the bar by the home keeper, Jordan Day.
Clanfield went close following good work by the lively Ashley Ward but a brave interception by Paul Haines was matched by a clever off the line clearance by the improving Dan Jelley. Highworth started to impose themselves on the game but couldn't create any further clear cut chances until Scott Chilcott worked a good opportunity just before half time but shot wide when he should have gone across the goal to the far post.
The second half saw a more effective if less pleasing on the eye Highworth display as several balls down the channels caused problems for the Clanfield defence as the lively front line of Allen and Chilcott proved mobile and troublesome.
Jelley and Mani showed great maturity and a willingness to put in an unselfish display for their teammates as they picked up several loose balls. Highworth's breakthrough finally came following another commanding header from the colossal Darren ''Macca'' McCluskey. Mani Roper held the ball well before laying off to Josh Kirby whose great first time delivery caused uncertainty in Clanfield's box, and Chilcott Highworth's No.6 (not good enough for No.10 yet) capatilised and finished with class to put Highworth one up.
The rest of the game was a rather dour affair as Highworth did what was needed to see out the victory, a very mature display full of promise.