Our reserves went into this game having not played for five weeks so it was a great credit to them that they played extremely well and managed to get another three points under their belts.
Any Read United team are very strong side and the one they brought to Twitter Lane on Saturday was no different. Physical, big and strong and aggressive our young Waddington team were up against it from the kick off.
Playing our usual 451 formation we welcomed Elliot Norman into the starting line up to replace Wilkinson who had been called up to the first team thanks to several good performances over the last few games. Captain Fantastic Wamersley dropped in to the head of the midfield triangle and a rejuvenated Pritchard looked to lead the line on a very wet pitch.
Dugdale and Chatburn at the heart of the defence are beginning to form a real understanding and this showed in the opening exchanges of the game when they dealt with some initial pressure from the Read front three with great aplomb.
After weathering the first ten minutes of Read pressure we began to dominate the midfield exchanges with great interplay between the centre halves and Mason in the deep lying midfield role allowing Norman and Warmersley the space to run at the Read back line. It was from one such Norman run that Warmersley found himself in space to fire home the opener. Slick passing and intelligent interplay and positioning epitomized the way we were playing during the first half and 5 minutes later Jason Lamb received a pass from Jones which he took on the run and unleashed a great shot which the keeper parried away.
A good finish from Mason was disallowed for an offside but on another day it would have stood. No matter though as there was was really only one team in it at this point and after another couple of chances from corners which we couldn't convert, we scored a fantastic second courtesy of a seven pass move from the keeper through the defence and with a one two from Ainsworth and Mason allowed Pritchard to score a well placed low shot into the corner of the net from the edge of the box.
A third followed not long after as Clarkson, Mason and Norman all combined to set Ainsworth off down the wing and after cutting in fired a fantastic shot into the roof of the net whilst on the run.
More fantastic build up play from Chatburn and Dugdale allowed our midfield three to pass the ball through the lines into space and after good work from Elliot (whose direct running style will challenge many a defender in this league over the course of the season) allowed Pritchard to score his second and our fourth of the game on 41 minutes we were sailing to victory.
The only blemish on the first half came from an unusual dropped catch from Donovan in goal, failing to hold on to a simple freekick from Read and letting the ball drop to the attacker for a simple toe poke into the net.
Half time 4-1...
If the first half was all Waddington the second was virtually all Read. Fired up and angry by their dismal first half performance they really came at us in the second half. Despite Threlfall telling his young team to be prepared and not to do anything silly in the opening minutes of the second half we conspired to gift them a goal thanks to poor defending from the usually reliable Jones who dallied on a clearance and had the ball taken away which when crossed into the box left an easy finish for the Read forward.
The next 25 minutes saw us batten down the hatches as we couldn't seem to get out of our own half, changing to 5 3 2 and bringing Pritchard off and sending on Olly Harrison to shore things up a bit and give us more control of the ball worked and we began to create chances again. Man of the Match Elliot Norman had a great chance to put the game to bed but just put the ball wide from 6 yards out after great work from Ainsworth and Warmersley.
Read never give up and showed great character to score a third and consolation goal with 8 minutes left to setup a tense finish but the young Waddington lads showed great tenacity to hold on to claim the three points.
Lessons will be learned regarding the second half performance but the first half will live long in the memory of some of the spectators as it was a lesson in fluidity, movement and precision and you can tell our training work is beginning to pay off. More of that to come and hopefully less of the mistakes we made in the second half as we go forward.
Well done boys!