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|MUSH Kent Youth League Under 18 Central Division||Mark Ritson reporting|
|Tunbridge Wells U18||2||Clements 60, Jeffrey 75|
Wells off to a flying start
Tunbridge Wells Under 18s got off to a fantastic start on the opening day of the new Kent Youth League season, with a convincing away win at Lordswood.
Last seasons top goalscorer, Dan Totman, partnered the lively Jamie Jeffery up front, whilst Richard Heath started in central midfield.
The game started off bright for the home side, testing the Wells' rearguard early on with some pressure, with Tom Shenton commanding at the heart of the defence.
It took around 20 minutes for the Wells to get into their stride and started playing some neat football through the middle whilst feeding the wings on counter attacks.
The Wells nearly opened the scoring on 25 minutes when the electric James Clements raced past his marker before flashing the ball across goal in front of Totman, who was a couple of yards behind.
Chances were being created as the Wells won a couple of corners in quick succession to add more pressure on the home side.
Robin Cooper, starting on the right side of midfield, made the Lordwood goalkeeper produce a good save after half an hour, when he beat a defender after cutting inside on the right before shooting at goal.
Lordswood did come close to opening the scoring, when their player was not picked up at the back post from a cross, and had a header rebound back off the crossbar.
But the Wells pressed forward again and had two good penalty claims ignored as Totman was tripped as he got to the ball first, whilst Clements was brought down after beating his marker. In midfield, Heath and James Stewart-Smith were orchestrating any moves in the centre, whilst Luke Molineux kept things simple, adding a bit of steel to compliment the other two.
In the second half, the Wells kept playing the ball about and looked much better than the home side. Tom Snowdon and Tom Shenton were dealing with any high balls through the middle, in particular Shenton, who seemed to win every aerial challenge or clearance.
Any nerves that the Wells might have had before kick-off, had completely vanished as they pushed on for the opening goal.
On the hour, the deadlock was broken. The ball was played left for James Clements, who then went on a powerful run past the full-back and cut inside to unleash a powerful low shot to beat the 'keeper at his near post.
Totman and Jeffery continued to cause problems for the Lordwood defence, especially Totman who showed excellent awareness off the ball.
After pressing forward, Molineux won a free-kick in a dangerous position 25 yards out. Molineux and Stewart-Smith stood over the ball, with the latter curling a rasping shot, inches past the post to the relief of the scrambling 'keeper.
On 70 minutes, it was nearly another goal as a long ball nearly found Totman, but the keeper came out and punched the ball away to safety.
The second goal came five minutes later, when a great through ball from Heath found Clements on the left. He then played the ball in for Totman, who swiveled and forced the 'keeper to parry his shot, but only to the feet of Jeffery, who shot low into the bottom right corner from 10 yards.
Wells nearly added a third on 85 minutes, when the impressive Clements, delivered a delightful cross from the left, which found Jeffery who glanced his header wide of the far post.
A good, steady start for the Wells youth, who still have a couple of injured players to return and a few players who are currently serving suspensions.
They play their second game of the season, at home to Bearsted on Sunday (12th), at Culverden Stadium. £1 entry plus team-sheet. (Kick Off 11:00am)
Tunbridge Wells: Pett (Burnett), Best (Turnbull), Shenton, Snowdon, Cooper (Plaskett), Clements, Heath, Stewart-Smith, Molineux, Totman, Jeffery.
Man of the Match: Tom Shenton
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