Davis Double Helps Seagulls Batter Bitton
In the first game of the 2016/2017 pre-season, Weston ran out triumphant in a 4-0 result against Bristol side Bitton AFC.
The initial team line up ran out with 16 year-old Liam Kingston in goal. Sekani Simpson was joined by Syd Camper as the full-backs, with stand-in captain Clayton Fortune alongside Tom Jordan taking a step out from retirement to take their place in the heart of defence. Jacob Cane started at the base of a 4-4-2 diamond, with Ben Withey and Kayne Ingram making up the flanks with Danny Wring sitting in the Number. 10 role. Trialist Mattis completed the formation up front alongside 18 year-old debutant Lewis Powell.
The game initially followed a slow pace, with Weston taking pot-shots at goal but failing to create any clear cut chances. However, on the half hour mark a loose ball in midfield was pounced upon by Powell, who poked the ball out to Simpson on the right-hand side. Simpson took a touch before crossing in for Withey, who had drifted inside from the left, with the youngster bringing the ball under control and slotting into the corner to give Weston the lead and to claim the first goal of the pre-season.
The changes were rung at half-time, with Luke Purnell coming in between the sticks. Trialist Elliot Ripley slotted in at right-back, while Jake Buxton partnered captain Ollie Barnes at centre-back with Camper continuing at left-back. Cane and Darren Mullings made up the central midfield pairing whilst U18 academy graduate Ash Tandy and Joe McClennan were on the flanks. Lewis Powell stayed on up top, along with teenager Tyler Davis.
Davis showed a sign of things to come when he robbed a Bitton defender on the half-way, before charging forward alone as he showed the defender a few stepovers to cut back out onto the outside only to see his shot finish in the arms of the keeper. A minute later, Bitton got themselves a rare chance but a 25-yard free-kick was safely claimed by Purnell.
The Seagulls continued to search for that all important second goal and it almost came on the hour mark when Camper beat his man before crossing for a waiting Davis, whose header was into the ground and unfortunately into the keepers’ arms.
Weston bagged their second goal of the night when McClennan found Davis in the middle, whose shimmy away from his man before dropping his shoulder and blasting a shot into the bottom corner to score his first goal for the Weston first eleven.
Weston went on to grab a third with just over 10 minutes to go when McClennan again caused panic amongst the Bitton defence by playing a searching ball into the right channel for Powell to bring down with the outside of his right foot. The debutant then powered past his two markers before finding a free Davis in the middle, who acrobatically turned home on the volley from six yards.
The scoring was completed on 83 minutes when McClennan delivered a corner in, that was met by the head of Barnes, and whilst the keeper saved the original shot, he palmed the ball back into the air and fumbled it into his own net to score a calamitous own goal to leave the score at 4-0 to Weston.
MOTM: Jacob Cane continued his rich vein of form from last season by playing the ‘Midfield General’ role again, linking up with both defenders and strikers, making crunching tackles in the midfield and displaying a distinct lack of fear to drive the team forward with the ball.
Weston XI: Kingston (Purnell HT), Simpson (Ripley HT), Camper (Mawford 63), Cane, Jordon (Buxton HT), Fortune (Barnes HT), Withey (Tandy HT), Powell, Mattis (Davis HT), Wring (McClenna HT), Ingram (Mullings 24).
Match Report written by Liam Drury