Randers 0-0 Town
Tuesday, 13th Jul 2004 21:19
Town's pre-season tour to Denmark got underway with an understated 0-0 draw with Randers. As at Peterborough on Saturday, there was little for the crowd to get excited about in a typical pre-season warm-up.
Manager Joe Royle left all the players who had played the full 90 minutes at London Road out of his starting side, which included Scott Barron and Mitchell as the full-backs and Antonio Murray in central midfield.
Tommy Miller returned after his jaw operation, while Matt Richards started in the left midfield role Royle is keen for him to play.
It was Richards who might have opened the scoring in the first five minutes when home keeper Christian Kempf missed a backpass. A defender was back just in time to prevent the youngster from netting.
For Randers, Lars Larsen missed a seventh minute sitter when blasting over when well-placed in the area.
A good Town move on 15 ended with Tommy Miller's effort being well-saved by the home stopper. Mark Rivers, more impressive than at Peterborough, scuffed his rebound wide.
Randers striker Nocko Jokovic missed a gilt-edged chance in the 36th minute, heading a cross from the right wide of Lewis Price's goal.
Town chances had been rare but not long before the break Georges Santos headed the ball wide after Kempf had again fumbled a corner.
At the break Joe Royle introduced Richard Naylor, Jim Magilton, Kevin Horlock and Shefki Kuqi for Santos, Rivers, Couñago and Miller.
The game followed a similar pattern in the second period, Town's best early chance falling to Dean Bowditch. The 17-year-old did well to take the ball down but sub keeper Martin Laursen was equal to his snap-shot, saving well.
Lewis Price made his first significant contribution to the game on 57, the young keeper doing well to tip over Soren Holdgard's shot from the edge of the box. Price was called into action again in the 62nd minute winning out in a one-on-one with Rasmus Katholm.
Second half sub Darren Bent came close to a goal in the 79th minute, his shot from the left of the area saved well by Laursen.
The sub keeper seemed similarly prone to flapping as his predecessor and late on Bent was only prevented from taking advantage by the ball striking Scott Barron on the line.
With six minutes remaining Jim Magilton picked up a yellow card for dissent aimed at an over-fussy referee.
Town almost snatched victory at the last, Richard Naylor heading Jim
Not an overly entertaining game but one which is likely to be considered a good work-out by the Town management. Youngsters like Scott Barron and Scott Mitchell will benefit from the experience and the likes of Mark Rivers will be that bit nearer fitness.
Barron was probably the pick of the youngsters, while the Blues looked a tidier unit once Kevin Horlock and Jim Magilton had come on at half time.
Darren Bent looked the pick of the strikers, while Richard Naylor was solid and Matt Richards, swapping between left midfield and left-back, put on a consistent display.
Town: Price, Mitchell, Barron, Diallo, Santos (Naylor 46), Richards, Rivers (Magilton 46), Miller (Horlock 46), Couñago (Kuqi 46), Bowditch (Bent 72), Murray (Wilnis 78).
Photo: Action Images
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