U23s Defeated at Coggeshall
Saturday, 13th Jul 2019 18:29 by James Ager
Town's U23 side fell to a 4-2 defeat at BetVictor Isthmian League side Coggeshall Town in their opening pre-season friendly on Saturday afternoon, Kai Brown netting both Blues goals, in a game played in three thirds, the last without recognised officials.
Josh Pollard's close-range header looped on to the top of Toby Egan's net in the opening minutes, before French second-year scholar Allan Viral tested home keeper Ashlee Jones at the other end on 14, but his low shot was gathered at the second attempt.
The Blues were awarded a penalty eight minutes later when Kai Brown cut in from the left and was tripped in the box by David Agboola. Brown stepped up to take the spot kick himself but Jones got down to his left to parry the ball away.
Within a minute the hosts had taken the lead. Nnamdi Nwachuku picked up the ball just outside the Town area and curled a fine left-footed strike into the top corner, which gave Egan no chance.
As the game approached the end of the first third of 30 minutes, Aaron Drinan fed Kai Brown and he took a touch before smashing his effort against the underside of the bar, and keeper Jones reacted quickest to grab the loose ball.
In the one minute of stoppage time at the end of the first 30, Brown atoned for his earlier penalty miss by winning possession and rolling the ball into the net from wide on the left.
Five minutes after the teams had lined up again, Conor Hubble hit a thunderous strike from long-range which Egan did well to tip on to the woodwork but Jamie Shaw reacted first to nod the loose ball into the empty net.
Just two minutes later the home side thought they'd added a third but a linesman's flag was raised to rule out Pollard's header for offside.
On 51 Gerard Nash's side equalised for the second time in the match when Drinan did well to win the ball back and release Kai Brown, who produced a fine finish to find the far corner of the net.
Minutes later Ryley Scott's cross was glanced goalwards by Lounes Foudil but sub keeper Matt Walker gathered, before Reece Dobson produced a subline chip from outside the area to restore Coggeshall's lead on 58.
Three minutes later a weak back-header from Pat Webber gave Shaw a golden chance to increase the home side's lead but Alex Henderson got back to divert the ball wide for a corner.
The two teams emerged for the third 30-minute period but the match officials had left the pitch and did not return. Referee Aaron Farmer was not willing to allow the teams to rotate their players and use roll-on, roll-off subs so Harry Jell, Town's academy strength and conditioning coach, stepped in and took the whistle and a sub from each side - using a coloured bib as a flag - ran the line.
Walker did well to push a fierce shot from Viral away from danger, before Tom Blackwell hit a low drive from the left side of the box which whistled just wide of the far post.
The hosts then wrapped up the victory on 76 when Nawachuku latched onto a ball over the top - with Town's appeals for offside being waved away by Jell and stand-in linesman Ryley Scott - and rounded Jake Alley before comfortably slotting the ball home.
That proved to be the last action of the game and despite a spell during the second third when Town were on top, they didn't create enough clear-cut chances against a well-organised Coggeshall side.
Kai Brown caught the eye with an impressive performance out wide and should have had a hat-trick, while Cotter and Drinan were steady but did little to impress during the hour that both of them played.
U23s: Egan, Cotter, Smith, McGavin, Henderson, Fehrenbach, Z Brown, Scott, Drinan, Viral, K Brown. Subs (rolling and all used): Webber, Alley, Foudil, Mesuria, Oppong, O'Reilly.
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