Ainsley Nets Twice as Reserves Defeat Southend
Wednesday, 23rd Feb 2011 16:51
Jack Ainsley scored twice and Ronan Murray and Reggie Lambe once each as Town’s reserves comfortably beat Southend 4-0 and at a wet and windy Playford Road. The young Blues side should have been more than a goal up at the break but made their domination tell in the second half.
Chris Kiwomya’s men went in front in the seventh minute when Jack Ainsley rose unmarked at the far post to head home Billy Clark’s left-sided corner.
Ronan Murray almost made it two 10 minutes later when he hit a shot across the face of Southend keeper Glenn Morris’s goal.
Shane O’Connor, back after his suspected bout of appendicitis, was next the threaten, making a strong run down the Town left from his full-back position before hitting a shot which Morris did well to save.
Shrimpers midfielder Merrick James-Lewis picked up the game’s first yellow card for a foul on Reggie Lambe on 26, prior to Clark and then the again impressive Josh Carson both hitting low shots wide.
Northern Ireland U21 international Carson, the only current academy player in the Town starting line-up, made a lung-busting run down the left as the game reached the half hour mark but his shot failed to significantly test Morris.
The midfielder stung Morris’s palms with another effort on 35 but no Town player was on hand to seize on the loose ball.
Murray went close to adding to Town’s lead a minute later, cleverly hooking Lambe’s cross from the right goalwards but too close to Morris.
Clark was booked for a reckless lunge, then as half-time approached, Blues keeper Arran Lee-Barrett was finally forced into action, first after a freekick on the left had been flicked on, then doing superbly to dive to his right to paw Sam Higgins’s header away from goal.
David Cawley replaced captain Luke Hyam in midfield for the second half. Four minutes after the restart, the Blues increased their lead. Ronan Murray tried to find himself space for a shot inside the area but the ball was stabbed away from him to Reggie Lambe, whose superb 20-yard chip left keeper Morris standing as it drifted under the bar.
On 56 Ainsley, a striker in his younger days although now playing as a right-back, netted his second of the afternoon, again from a corner. The ball was played short to Clark on the right and the midfielder’s ball into the box found the Felixstowe-based defender, who flicked a header beyond Morris. The 20-year-old is amongst the youngsters out of contract at the end of the season and looking to make an impression on new boss Paul Jewell.
Six minutes later, Murray completed the scoring when he chased a ball over the top and found the net, despite Morris’s best efforts to keep it out.
The Republic of Ireland U19 international went close again on 66, lobbing the keeper and the bar, then as the game entered its final 10 minutes Cawley shot straight at Morris.
Northern Irish U19 international midfielder Cormac Burke scuffed a good chance to the keeper late on before Conor Hourihane, who had had a decent game in midfield, limped off after appearing to have tweaked his groin when slipping on the muddy surface.
The young Blues were dominant throughout and the victory was never in question. More chances might have been taken in the first half but overall it’s difficult to complain too much about a 4-0 win.
Boss Paul Jewell watched along with new scout David Hamilton, chief scout Steve McCall, assistant manager Chris Hutchings and coach Sean McCarthy, while new U18s boss Russell Osman joined Chris Kiwomya on the touchline. Southend boss Paul Sturrock took a hands-on role directing the Shrimpers side.
Reserves: Lee-Barrett, Ainsley, O’Connor, Hyam (Cawley,46), Brown, Eastman, Clark, Hourihane, Murray (Burke 78), Lambe, Carson (Whight, 67). Unused: McLoughlin, Meekings.
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