A’up Ducky! How are ya?
July 2018 has been about joining a new club, meeting the players, staff and convincing the supporters that I am the right man to lead their club. Not only that July has been about building fitness and game time under the belts of every player at the club. July in Non – League is Preseason.
So, whilst the missus and the kids get to sun themselves in Tenerife, I’ve been busy putting the building blocks down to lay a strong foundation at TS Sports FC.
Our opening fixture was a home tie against Leamington who play in the Vanarama National League North. We started the tie with a 41221 (in layman’s terms – a wide 433 using just the one up front). We got off like Billy-Oh! And Right Winger Johnny Starr scored after 4 minutes. Our possession was good in the first half but due to a lack of self-belief we lacked any further spark of creation to expand on our lead. Within two minutes of the break Leamington equalised capitalising on the multiple changes that I had made to ensure everybody was going to get plenty of game time. Needless to say the second half became a further struggle in confidence and the game wound down into a bored draw.
The next three friendlies would see use on the road. First up was Coventry Sphinx. This was a real eye opener for me and the lads as we received a stark shock after all of 3 minutes. Sphinx’s McGarrity scoring an easy header from a corner. After another 30 minutes trialist Ben Hinchcliffe popped up on the left to smash and grab an equaliser for TS. Two minutes later Sphinx’s left back Tranter made the game much more interesting by getting sent off for lashing out at our other trialist Ross Finnie. On 40 minutes forward Jon Davies scored a simple header with the crossing coming from a corner from the righthand side, to put us in the lead. The second half then saw a master class from TS youngster Henry (Arnie) Harness. The 17 yr old midfielder ran riot with his accurate passing along with two bits of play that saw the boy score two marvellous goals. We won 4-1 in the end. The performances of the trialists were duly noted. With both Ben Hinchcliffe (Signing on a free after being released by Hull in the summer) and Ross Finnie (Signing on a free after being released by Wolves in the summer) Note Ross is a local Burton on Trent lad despite the dual nationality with Scotland.
Ben Hinchcliffe and Ross Finnie (Yes real people!)
Next up was a trip to Salford, for a friendly against Irlam. We started like we finished the previous game. With the boys showing great confidence in each other and with an eye for the goal. Sticks, Beans and ‘Arnie scored a goal apiece all before 30 minutes were on the clock. Left back Lynch added to the tally with seven minutes left on the clock for Irlam’s Ian Leak to squeeze a late goal past Stewie Longshaft. Penn scored just before the final whistle for us to keep our four-goal margin. We won 5-1 in the end. Despite conceding late on, the only major negative was the late injury to David Lynch. Dr Foster shook her head and said “It’s sprained ankle ligaments”, which would rule Lynch out for the rest of preseason. The search for suitable left back cover started in earnest from the moment that news broke.
David Lynch – Left Back
Harborough Town were the final away friendly fixture of the summer. We also invited two lefties on trial to join us in this match with a view to sign on the dotted line if they showed any promise. Niall Wright and Brandyn Ford were the boys to stand trial. The game was alo used to experiment with a 442 formation. To see how we would play with two forwards in the line-up. The opening exchanges saw Eddie Beans score a brace inside 10 minutes before Harborough’s Craig Radcliffe clawed one back. Jon Davies scored on 88 minutes to cement a 100% record away from home during the preseason campaign. Neither left back showed what they could do so both were kept on for further assessment.
The last friendly of July saw us take on Spalding Utd at home. We also brought onboard a new member of coaching staff, Jonathan Greening. Yes he formerly of Man Utd, Fulham and WBA. He was on a course at St Georges’ and after discovering he was no longer at Tadcaster we jumped at the chance to offer Jono a new coaching role.
Jono Greening – New Coach at TS Sports FC
The game against Spalding was a weird one. We huffed and puffed for the whole of the first half without any sign of the pig going into the back of the net. On 50 mins Spalding’s Leon Mettam scored an easy header from a corner which in turn sparked some life into the TS team. Eddie beans first popped up in the box to draw us level on 55 mins. Lee Sparks and recent signing Ben Hinchcliffe, both scored within the next 15 minutes to bring the result home. The performance was generally frustrating but at the end of the day (it’s night time…..) we took away the victory.
Next time we talk about progress in August and how Jono Greening take us around some of his local haunts of Scarborough.
Thank you for reading…