Herne Bay 2-2 Fleet Town

Saturday 15th July 2006

Pre-Season Friendly
Saturday 15th July 2006
John Bathurst reports from Winch’s Field

Andy Sinton’s, Ryman League Division One South outfit, Fleet Town travelled up from Hampshire for their first pre season friendly of the season to play a Herne Bay side displaying a number of new faces.

With last week’s fixture against Lewes cancelled because of the unsafe playing surface, this was also Bay’s first fixture of the new season.

Starting with a new 3-5-2 playing system Bay seemed all at sea in the opening minutes and Fleet took full advantage of the indecision, clearly evident, in Bay’s defence when James Mann stabbed the ball home from close range when it seemed easier for the many defenders to simply clear the ball.

Undeterred by this set back, Bay started to impose themselves on the game.

The young Fleet side appeared to be much quicker in all positions of the field, but once Bay got to grips with the new playing system the threat of Fleet extending their lead started to fade.

Several good chances at both ends went begging but at half time Fleet were certainly well worth their lead.

If Fleet took the honours in the first half, then it was Bay who won the second; admittedly the substitutions made the difference.

It was, however, the introduction of several under 18 hopefuls, which seemed to swing the game in Bay’s favour.

In the 60th minute the pressure applied by Bay finally paid off. From a corner kick Simon Brown curled the ball into the heart of the penalty area where the ball was met by Steven Lloyd with a strong header.

The keeper could only parry the ball into the feet of Adam Todd, who forced the ball over the line from close range.

For the next 15 minutes Bay forced the play, going close on a number of occasions, but it was Fleet who took lead when Dwayne Winter, spotting Delo off his line, fired a shot from 25 yards which hung on the wind and floated over the out-stretched arms of Delo into the back of the net.

Bay, however, were not to be denied. Five minutes before the end of play a forceful run by Todd into the penalty area forced the keeper into bringing him down.

Match referee, Simon Finnigan, had no hesitation in blowing for a penalty. Bay’s penalty taker, Simon Brown, made no mistake from the spot kick, drilling the ball high into the top corner to level the scores.

Fleet responded with a concerted attack on the Bay defence and it was only a great one handed save from Delo and a Nathan Eastwood header on to the bar prevented Fleet from sneaking the winner.

In the dying minutes the game started to turn sour with a number of fierce tackles and tetchy responses. Totally unnecessary in a friendly fixture.

Fortunately the referee blew for time prior to any real nastiness came to the surface.

With the scores level both managers were quite content with the final outcome. Herne Bay boss Jason Lillis being extremely pleased with the performances of the younger players introduced in the second half.

* Welling United, from the Nationwide Conference South, are the visitors to Winch’s Field, Stanley Gardens on Monday night (7:45pm).