Nuneaton Borough 3-3 Blaby & Whetstone
By Adam Etheridge
A lovely sunny evening saw the Under 16's play their first game as a new team against an established opponent in Blaby & Whetstone
Dom Pinto and Lee Bates had a good sized squad to pick from and the lads took to the pitch in a dazzling pink kit. The whistle went and the lads started with some nice passing around, trying to get to know each other.
The early stages saw possession being shared. But the lads looked like they may sneak an early chance. That came when a ball out to Callum on the right saw him send over a perfect cross for Jack to head home and take a deserved lead.
The game continued with James, Keelan, Vik and Sam N looking steady at the back but the opponents number 10 made sure they could not sit on their laurels being lightning quick, strong, skilful and a real handful. Joe and Amari were bossing the midfield in the early part of the game and passing the ball around nicely. But out of nothing Blaby managed to get their first corner of the game. Their player swung in a teasing cross and the lads failed to clear the ball. It landed on the half volley to a Blaby player who scored from the edge of the box
From the restart the lads again tried passing the ball around and after a neat interchange Amari hit a shot which dropped at Joes feet but he scuffed his effort. Dom made a change and the strong Will came on to replace Sam N. Boro continued to try and knock the ball around and after Brad worked hard to pass to Callum his pass to Rio saw a superb effort smack against the post and away safely for Blaby.
Out of nothing a through ball landed at the feet of the Blaby number 10 and Sam P rushed out to try and dive on the ball but the striker neatly nicked it round him and finished coolly for a 2-1 half time lead.
The second half saw Dom make a change at the back with the impressive James being replaced by the power house Jay. More neat passing gave Amari a half chance which did not materialise.
The lads were starting to lose a little impetus and Blaby soon took their lead from this. Some neat footwork saw the Blaby number 10 hit a shot that left Sam P flailing but the effort thankfully hit the Boro post and out for safety. The game hit a little bit of a stalemate and Dom made some further changes when Joe and Jay were replaced by the effective Dylan and returning James in defence.
The lads tried to pass the ball around and Brad and Callum continued to try and create chances with the help of the ever skilful Rio. However things took a further turn for the worse when, who else, the Blaby number 10 managed to wiggle through and nipped a shot over Sam P, thankfully the effort hit the crossbar.
Sam N came back on, giving Will a deserved breather, to try and help the defence who were under attack. Blaby sensed another goal may be coming but the lads battled and tried to pass their way out of the danger. The lads got a free kick just outside the Blaby box. Brad placed the ball and hit a super shot beating the Blaby keeper but it agonisingly hit the post and away for a goal kick
Boro never let their heads go down and some great skill by Dylan saw him having a half chance shot which was dragged wide. Blaby turned the screw with about 20 minutes to go when the impressive number 10 danced past a host defenders to finish neatly with a left foot shot giving Sam P no chance.
Dom and Lee needed to make some further changes and Vik and Joe came back on. This seemed to give the lads a boost and Boro started to pass the ball around again and chances were created. Rio battled well and managed to slide an inch perfect pass to Callum, his neat left foot shot could only be parried by the Blaby goalie, the crowd were eager for someone to be there to score, and Brad eagerly obliged tapping in to a cheer from the supporters.
The game was nearing an end and you could sense that Boro might get something out of the final five minutes of an entertaining game. Amari came off to an ovation for his energetic and solid performance and Boro turned up the heat. Rio and Brad worked hard passing through to Dylan. The ball seemingly getting stuck and likely to get knocked away when it fell to Joe unmarked just outside the 18 yard box. He hit a strong right foot shot that crept through a host of legs and past the despairing keeper to bring Boro level with minutes to go. The lads embraced as a whole knowing the feat they had achieved to get back from 3-1 down might see them get something out of the game.
Boro managed to keep it tight for the last few minutes and the final whistle blew ending an entertaining first game for this new Under 16's team. A great team performance and a fair result on the night.
Well done lads!!!