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Helmond Sport 1-1 Town
Helmond Sport 1-1 Town
Tuesday, 17th Jul 2012 19:51

Michael Chopra netted his first goal of pre-season as the Blues came from behind to draw their opening friendly 1-1 at Helmond Sport.

Boss Paul Jewell started with a side which included new signing Luke Chambers but with Town’s other new addition Elliott Hewitt out for another month at least having undergone hip operations while with Macclesfield.

Trialists Marian Kello, Plaisir Bahamboula and Soualio Bakayoko were amongst the subs with Lee Martin missing with a minor niggle.

The game’s first action saw a clash of heads which left Damien Delaney requiring treatment but the Irishman was fine to continue.

Helmond enjoyed the better of the early possession but with the Blues looking the more dangerous, the new slimline Michael Chopra cutting in and striking a shot which Van der Steen caught to his left. For the home side, Emrullah Güvenc hit a shot from the edge of the area but failed to trouble Lee-Barrett.

Helmond went in front in the 16th minute when Güvenc took the ball to the edge of the Town area and curled a shot beyond Lee-Barrett to the keeper’s left before Carlos Edwards could get in a tackle.

The Belgian-Turkish midfielder was proving to be the game’s most effective performer and in the 18th minute sent Gillian Justiana away on the left but the Curaçaoan scraped his strike across the face. Soon after, another Güvenc break through the middle led to Justiana shooting over.

The Dutch Eerste Divisie (second tier) side were good for their lead but after persistence from Byron Lawrence, playing in Lee Martin’s usual role, skipper Edwards ended a spell of Blues possession by shooting over from 25 yards.

Town again threatened in the 32nd minute when Edwards sent Chopra away down the right. The striker was on his own and hit a shot from a tight angle which cannoned off the bar, eventually leading to a Blues corner.

From the short flagkick, Lawrence took the ball inside and hit a low shot which hit the post, then the keeper, then the on-rushing Chopra before going out of play.

Some clever footwork by Chopra led to an opportunity in the 39th minute, but the Blues’ frontman scuffed wide.

The scoreline remained 1-0 at the break with the home side deserving their lead. Güvenc’s regular strolls through the centre of the Blues’ midfield might have yielded more than the single goal.

Town might have grabbed a goal when Chopra hit the bar, but overall, Paul Jewell won’t have been overly impressed with his side’s lack of bite and inability to keep hold of the ball.

Half-time sub Jimmy Bullard was straight into the action, taking the ball from Sequeira before chipping the ball on to the roof of the net. On 54 Jay Emmanuel-Thomas, who had been quiet up to then, hit a low shot which Van der Steen saved to his left.

Seconds later, the former Arsenal man threaded through Chopra but the Blues’ striker’s shot was bundled on to the post by the Helmond keeper. From the resultant corner, another Chopra effort was too close to Van der Steen.

At the other end, Justiana’s shot deflected through to half-time Blues sub Marian Kello, who was proving to be a noisy presence behind the Town backline.

The Blues, with Bullard pulling the strings, had been better after the break and in the 59th minute they got back on terms. Carson fed Chopra and this time the striker wasn’t to be denied, beating Van der Steen to his left.

Helmond enjoyed most of the ball after Town’s equaliser and in the 71st minute should have gone back in front when Sequeira took the ball off the dithering Chambers and played sub Verberne in on goal but the Blues’ new defender managed to get back to take the ball from the Helmond right-back.

Town should have been in front in the 74th minute when Ainsley cut back to Bullard, who shot over. At the other end, Bakayoko, one of a flurry of second-half subs, was fortunate to get away with a moment of hesitation as a cross came in from the left.

Brouwers looped a loose ball to the solid but so far not hugely tested Kello, then for the Blues Andy Drury mis-hit his shot after good work on the left from Bahamboula, who had been a threat with his pace and tricks down the left since his introduction.

A quickly taken Emmanuel-Thomas freekick gave Drury a chance in the 84th minute but the former Luton man’s chip failed to trouble Van der Steen. Two minutes later, Bullard curled a shot wide from the right.

The Blues were on top as the game entered its final couple of minutes and the increasingly influential Emmanuel-Thomas hit a low shot that Van der Steen couldn’t hold on to at the first attempt.

Scotland had the ball in the net from a sublime Emmanuel-Thomas pass in the final minute of normal time, but with the linesman’s flag already raised.

A draw was probably a fair result. Helmond had been the better side in the first half, while the Blues had the better of it after the break.

Of the trialists, keeper Kello had very little to do, but did it effectively, while left-back Bakayoko made one important challenge but like the Slovak had few opportunities to impress. Winger Bahamboula caught the eye with some pacey runs and a few tricks, creating the odd chance.

Overall, Paul Jewell will be pleased with an improved display after a disappointing first period in which his side could have been a couple of goals behind.

Helmond Sport: Van der Steen, Kazlauskas, De Regt, Ter Horst (Van Geffen 46), Justiana (Lammers 82), Sequeira, Quekel (Carlos David 64), Stachnik (Veerman 46), Hattu (Verberne 46), Güvenc (Brouwers 64), Siers. Unused: Sengier.

Town: Lee-Barrett (Kello 46), Edwards (Ainsley 73), Cresswell (Bakayoko 67), Chambers, Delaney, Hyam, Stevenson (Drury 46), Lawrence (Bullard 46), Emmanuel-Thomas, Chopra (Scotland 73), Carson (Bahamboula 67). Unused: Whight, Murray.

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Jimmys_Law added 19:56 - Jul 17
At least Chopra has got his shooting boots on. Not a bad result either and I'm glad that Lee Martin was only out because of a niggle and not because of failing contract talks.

TractorBoy666 added 19:56 - Jul 17
All we do is hit the woodwork!

tractorblue99 added 19:57 - Jul 17
Not a bad first day back then.

dundeetractorboy added 19:59 - Jul 17
Glad to hear kello was making a lot of noise, bullard was back to his influential best and chops looked sharp. Promising from Bahamboula as well - get him signed up PJ! Chambers dithering is less what I wanted to hear though...

Sindre94 added 20:03 - Jul 17
Only a friendly. btw breaking news, Town have had a bid for SCOTT LOACH accepted.
Loach on twitter: So buzzing right now. Hopefully more will become clear soon. X

billlm added 20:13 - Jul 17
though phil was supposed to be the journo tell us more sindre

manualthetisfanclub added 20:13 - Jul 17
1st friendly done,good fitness builder.this squad very thin,needs building and fast,b####er this patience business.not sure about the French trialists but the corn flake man(sorry kellogs) in the sticks could be of interest!!!! coyb

Jimmys_Law added 20:14 - Jul 17
@dundeetractorboy, agree with you. But even though Chambers may have been dithering, at least he sorted out his own mistake. And Sindre, is that really true? If it is and we sign Kello, I can't see ALB wanting to be 3rd choice.

buryblue77 added 20:16 - Jul 17
Glad Chops got a goal, hopefully that'll get him sorted to be amongst the goals during the season.
Not so happy about Loach, just not convinced about him, I know he's a Town fan and hopefully that'll give him encouragement however.

TimmyH added 20:17 - Jul 17
@manual - Obviously not if we've signed Loach, can't see the point of taking Kello as a trialist if that's the case, as for the match I don't really take much notice of these games they don't account for much ( a bit like an England friendly).

bontcho added 20:22 - Jul 17
"Bullard running the show" - let's hope that means loanee Jimmy is back. If he is we'll do ok.

Langdon_Blue added 20:28 - Jul 17
Sindre - Where did you see that? Can you post a link??

I feel sorry for Loach having to work at 3pm EVERY Saturday and not being able to get to Town games (apart from when Watford play us, of course) If anyone would play for the shirt, it would be him. Being a Tractor Boy is not enough to warrant signing him, granted....but a big plus!

Jimmys_Law added 20:30 - Jul 17

irishtim added 20:31 - Jul 17
Happy enough with that result. Hope you are right Sindre.

Langdon_Blue added 20:33 - Jul 17
..back to the point, sounds like a useful training game, but these results are completely meaningless.

Bontcho - Agreed, I really hope Jimmy Bullard is going to make a comeback this season! He could be a major player in the Championship, if he put enough effort in.

bluey420 added 20:36 - Jul 17
This morning we had 1 GK n we are a reported mess now Kello on trial now we agree a fee with Watford for S.Loach shows how football can change v quickly unlike many on here I've never been panicking bout lack of signing as I knew the club were always working on potentials signing that the media had no knowledge of: loach has probably gone stale at Watford n when you sign for the club you support no better motivation than that for any player: I'm v pleased we are not panic buying signing no bodies or under age players on the decline taking advantage of us paying good wages: if loach or Kello sign just need another DF a creative midfielder then another striker with pace Baldock would be a superb signing whether season long loan or permanent: keep the faith everyone get behind the club roll on 18th August COYB !!!!

Langdon_Blue added 20:37 - Jul 17
Cheers Jimmys_Law.

This doesn't mean the end of Kello by any means. We need to sign two keepers for the new season.

jas0999 added 20:39 - Jul 17
Sounds like last season: one disappointing half - one good one! PJ needs to work on this. Pre-season results although not important are a good indication - so a draw against average opposition is not great.

Bitterly disappointing that only one new signing (fit) is in place to start gelling with the rest of the squad.

If we get Loach it is clearly a last resort. Could have signed so many better keepers than him. Watford fans will be absolutely delighted!

afrodids added 20:40 - Jul 17
tractorboy666 took the words right out of my mouth. The season hasn't even started yet and we've hit the woodwork twice lol sounds like a good run out for everyone shame smithy aint there. A few more signings and next season looks promising. COYB

JimmyJazz added 20:52 - Jul 17
Surprised no one's mentioned him but sounds like Lawrence put in a good showing in a poor first half

Tractorog added 20:55 - Jul 17
I think Jas0999 has not taken the opportunity that the off season offered to get in some new criticisms of the management and the team. Instead we are treated to an attack that is predictable and lacks a cutting edge. His strategy of constant all out attack means its hard for him to defend his position against classy opposition. It's a good job this was just a warm up match as I fear he will not be ready for the start of the new season at this rate!

Ebantiass added 21:05 - Jul 17
I think thats a little unfair Jas0999 it does´nt matter what the watford fans think ,its how he performs for us and I will give him the benefit of playing a few games before judging him. I normally agree with most of what you say but he will unlike some in the past actually really be playing for the shirt week in week out.

Langdon_Blue added 21:08 - Jul 17
Very good post Tractortrog!

Jas0999 has had the last 18 months to come up with new negative material, not just during the close season. Even though this is just a warm up post for him, I would have liked to see him give a few trialist posts a run out, in preparation for the league posts. I hope that he has some new sentences in the pipeline. Otherwise, SIMPLY NOT GOOD ENOUGH!

Lightningboy added 21:29 - Jul 17
Would love to see Bullard given a "free" role behind Chopra - think that could be his best position for us.

dannysigma added 21:31 - Jul 17
Tractorog: you rock!

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