Match Report - Salisbury FC v Reading U23
Salisbury FC 1 Reading U23 0
Saturday, 6 July 2019.
By Alec Hayter
The first friendly match of the season achieved its aims and although results are never important in these games, it's always good to win, and the Whites duly obliged with a Danny Young goal 6 minutes from time.
Salisbury had 18 players on show, whereas the visitors brought a massive 25, and there were some interesting and notable performances from the home side, with ex-Frome Town Ollie Knowles looking to be a forceful (and often loud) midfielder, with ex-Weymouth Warren Bentley providing the assist for Young's strike having come off the bench alongside the scorer. In between the sticks Gerard Benfield stole the show at both ends of the match, making a good stop from Redding's Kian Leavy on 6 minutes, and then seconds before the final whistle, making a superb low save from Ethan Coleman's edge of the box freekick which he could only have seen very late because of the defensive wall. He looked composed in everything he did, which will breed confidence, although he had not a lot to do during most of the game!
I'm pretty sure that both sides would have settled for a draw, but Young had different ideas when he latched on to a Bentley flick to plant the ball in the net from close range, and provide a positive start.
Danny Young nabs the late winner, pouncing on Warren Bentley's flick - © Roger Elliott
There were several trialists on show, with Dave Gerrard (ex-Gosport Borough), Nuno Felix (who has had spells with Banbury United, Chippenham Town and Taunton Town, amongst others), giving a good account of themselves, as did Christian Rowe, Albie Hopkins and Owen Taylor, with Gerrard and Felix playing the full 90 minutes.
There are still some interesting players yet to see action in goalkeeper Marcus Beauchamp, new striker Tobi Holmes, and the returning Jake Wannell and Josh Sommerton, but, although it is really too early to judge, many in the crowd of over 300 will have been impressed with the potential that was shown in this game.
Next up is Tuesday's game at home to Lymington Town, kick-off 7:45 PM - a time which will avoid the sweltering temperature in which today's game was played and which the players appeared to handle very well.
Salisbury FC: Benfield, Rayfield, Felix, Dawson, Hart, Colson, Benson, Knowles, Fitchett, Mullings, Gerard. Subs: Young, Bentley, Cooper, Burden, Taylor, Rowe, Hopkins (all used).
Reading: there were 25 of them, so please forgive the omission of detail!
Attendance: 306 Referee: D Lamport (Swindon)