New gaffer Nick Jones, assisted by Chris Wiggall, can take plenty of positives from Tytherington Rocks Res display at reigning league champions Little Stoke. Jones, managing the team for the first time since Rich Lee took over as first team manager, only missed out on a point after Rocks conceded a late scrappy goal from a corner.
Rocks reverted back to a 3-5-2 after shipping 7 goals at Stoke Gifford in the previous game when lined up 4-3-3. Jack Newman started at the heart of the defence alongside Tom Rees and Mike Thomas. Liam Williams and Mark Greenland started at full backs and Stephen Thompson was warmly welcomed back into the centre of midfield to join Jack Panes and Dave Jones. It was a new look strike force as Will Truman started his first competitive game of the season alongside Danny Thompson who was able to play after Thornbury Town had their game postponed. The youthful Brandon Banks and Kieran Carter started on the bench.
The first half was 45 minutes of hard work and few chances yet Rocks could have taken the lead after 10 minutes when Truman squared brilliantly for Danny Thompson who's effort just missed the corner and fell wide. Shortly after, the younger Thompson brother was forced off the field due to a hamstring injury and was replaced by Banks.
After 40 minutes, and with the Rocks looking comfortable thanks to hard work all over the pitch, a dubious penalty was conceded when Greenland was adjudged to have handled in the box despite no movement of his hands taking place. Jay Curtis stepped up however and pulled off a great diving save to his left to send the sides in 0-0 at the break.
The second half followed a similar pattern to the first whereby a solid defensive display from the whole team limited Little Stoke to long shots and set pieces; they did twice strike the post but no clear cut chances were created. This seemed to frustrate the home side who picked up a number of bookings and eventually had a man sent off for two bookable offences.
Despite this, Rocks managed to concede a goal from a set piece which has proved to be the clubs achilles heel so far this season. A corner was swung in and fell to an opposition player who couldn't miss from 5 yards. Rocks immediately went up the other end in search of an equaliser and could have got it when Greenland cut in from the right and had his effort cleared off the line while Williams could only spoon the rebound wide.
The reserves are now scheduled to have 2 weeks off with the next game coming on the road yet again away at Downend on 6 December. With plenty of reshuffling of coaching staff and players, the positive feel around the squad has managed to remain high and showed in Saturday's performance.
It would also be easy to forget that the team hasn't played a home game as of yet and that 5 out of 7 of the top teams in the league have already been played, with the Rocks currently sitting 8th.