The Owls were held by Barton Town on Saturday afternoon, the friendly ending 2-2. An early goal from Brody Roberston and a strike by Scott Vernon opened up a comfortable cushion. However, the Swans hit back to level in the final 20 minutes.
Big news in the lead-up to kick-off was the unveiling of new signing Ben Davies. The ex-professional has plied his trade as high as Championship level and shows Clee’s ambition for 2019/20.
The side lined up as follows:
Goal: Lewis Exall
Defence: Tim Lowe, Triallist, Oli Donald, Ben Davies
Midfield: Alex Flett (c), Triallist, Lewis Collins
Attack: Brody Robertson, Josh Batty, Andy Taylor
Subs: Scott Vernon, Jack Boswell, Ben Clappison, Alfie Usher, Jaime Ture
Before a decent crowd, with a big contingent cheering on the Owls, Clee got off to the perfect start in the 3rd minute. Brody Robertson raced clear before unleashing a powerful drive, which the keeper could not keep out.
An early injury to the Triallist playing at centre-half meant an opportunity for Clappison. Both sides continued to work the ball on the floor and Davies was showing his class with a couple of runs down the flank.
In truth though, there were not many clear-cut chances and the Owls had to settle for a narrow advantage at the interval.
HT Barton Town 0 Cleethorpes Town 1 (Robertson 3)
Vernon, Boswell and Ture were all introduced during the early stages of the second 45 and, in the 51st minute, Davies forced the Barton stopper into a low save from a free-kick.
The Owls were now playing their best football and deservedly doubled their advantage shortly before the hour mark. Sub Ture showed excellent skill to surge to the left by-line before delivering a cross, which was only partially cleared. Scott Vernon was lurking near the penalty spot and lashed home, to record his third goal inside four days.
At this stage, it was becoming largely one-way traffic and it appeared only a matter of time before Clee put the game safe. However, after Vernon had grazed the post, Barton came back in the closing stages to force a draw.
Firstly, with the clock showing 73 gone, Tom Waudby finished neatly to give the Swans fresh hope. Then, in the 82nd minute, ex-Owl Marc Cooper latched onto a loose ball to slot home the leveller.
FT Barton Town 2 (Waudby 73, Cooper 82) Cleethorpes Town 2 (Robertson 3, Vernon 57) Attendance: 183
It seemed all over at 2-0, particularly as I thought that we played really well during the first 20 minutes of the second-half. Fair play to Barton though, they kept battling and got their reward.
Ben Davies looked, as you would expect, an exciting addition to the ranks and you can now probably ink in around 8 or 9 of Dave Smith’s starting XI at Ilkeston. Still 3 more opportunities though for all the squad to catch the manager’s eye.
With the Boston United friendly cancelled, due to their involvement in the Lincs Cup, we will visit Bottesford Town (Tuesday – 7.45pm) and Gainsborough Trinity (Saturday 10th August – 3pm). Sandwiched in between (Saturday 3rd August – 3pm), we open our defence of the Senior Cup with a quarter-final at Linden against Spalding United.
Finally, it was great to see so much travelling support yesterday – the Owls’ contingent must have numbered at least half of the crowd. Many thanks to everyone.
Tuesday 23rd July – 7.45pm
Bottesford Town – friendly
Birkdale Stadium, Ontario Road, Bottesford, DN17 2TQ
Adults - £5, Concessions & Under 16s - £3
UP THE OWLS!
Updated 11:31 - 21 Jul 2019 by David Simpson