The Harwich and Dovercourt Year 10 football team opened their 2017 campaign away at Manningtree on an incredibly wide pitch which suited their passing style of play.
Captained by new vice captain Adam Strange in the absence of regular captain Charlie Guiezelar, confidence was high.
It was Manningtree who settled the best and during the opening exchanges made three clear chances and had it not been for for excellent saves by Quinn Bird, Harwich would have found themselves 3-0 …down.
After these shaky five minutes Harwich settled and created their first chance with Yuki Jackson shooting wide. Soon after this Adam Strange crossed well but Phillip Sebastian shot just wide
Prolonged pressure continued from
Harwich with skipper Strange not quite connecting with a spectacular overhead kick
Minutes later Greg Rodger slid the ball through and Strange marked his debut as skipper by slotting home calmly from 12 yards.
Manningtree always looked dangerous on the break with their pace and nearly equalised mins later when a drilled cross just evaded the centre forwards flying lunge to header the ball home.
Five minutes later Harwich failed to win the battle in the middle of the field, the ball fell to the striker who ran forward and calmly rounded the keeper to equalise
A scrappy next five minutes followed with Harwich coming closest as Rodger weaved through three players and hit a screamer from 25 yards which went just over
A Harwich early corner was looped over the bar from Jack Cheverall and a corner from Keenan Brown was headed wide by Phillip Sebastian as Harwich pressed for a goal with Rodger shooting wide shortly after
The game then became a little Scrappy with the big pitch taking its toll on the players and huge spaces opening up in midfield.
Strange volleyed wide with Harwich pushing for the win and seemed to be constantly “knocking on the door” for the final ten minutes.
Chance after chance were created in particular from Olly Wright from excellent wing play and the superb set piece deliveries of Keenan Brown, Sebastian was kicking himself at a series of misses and was clearly frustrated as the game drew to a close.
Final result 1-1
All the team could hold their head high for their efforts and will count them self very unlucky not to have taken the three points home with them.
Man of the match was Zach Keeley whose presence in the middle of defence, organisation of others and calmness bringing the ball forward was superb. Yuki Jackson worked tirelessly in midfield after many weeks sidelined with injury and goalkeeper Bird should be congratulated for his superb contribution so early in the match which actually kept Harwich in the game.
The next match is at home to Clacton County High School who last year played out an entertaining 4-4 in Clacton