Blues Win At Hullbridge
Blues got their pre-season schedule under way with this comfortable win at Hullbridge Sports writes The Mariner
Jamie Stuart and his new look team travelled to Hullbridge Sports on a sultry Tuesday evening winning by a three goal margin against their spirited Essex Senior League rivals.It's always good to get a win under your belt but these games are more about honing fitness and working on shape and formation in preparation for the league campaign in a few weeks' time.
Stuart fielded a mix of first team and youth players in this first outing with notable absentees Nicky Eyre, Jon Ashton, Tamberson Eyong and Jamie Slabber who no doubt will feature in the days to come. It was good to see Barry Cogan - skipper for the night - back in a Blue shirt showing clearly he has lost none of the desire and skills fans will recall in his last spell with the club in the Conference days. He showed enough in a first half display orchestrating proceedings in midfield that augurs well for the coming league campaign.
Others to catch the eye were Kiernan Hughes- Mason who grabbed a brace and Ade Cole scoring from the spot with an audacious dinked effort who complemented Cogan in midfield - no doubt he will learn a lot from the Irishman. Perry Dunn and Sam Cross worked well together. James Folkes looked lively and it was good to see Ronnie O'Donnell enjoying his first run out since a broken leg which ended his season so early last year.
Of the old guard Kieran Bishop looked as pacy as ever, Ryan Mahal made some intelligent overlaps from his customary right back berth and club legend and bulked up Joao Carlos - who looks as if he has spent the close season in the gym - was his usual lively self.
Blues controlled the first period with Cogan at the centre of everything demanding the ball and encouraging players around him. Blues created a string of chances and only some last minute interventions from the home defenders prevented the Blues from opening their account.
The second period saw a number of changes with Cogan replaced by The Master and further substitutions as the half wore on with Youth players given an opportunity to stake their claim for a first team slot.
Cole opened Blues' account midway through the half from the penalty spot with Hughes- Mason completing the scoring with two well-taken goals as the clock ticked down.
So a first victory in the pre-season programme, but more importantly it gives a chance for the management team to cast their eyes over the players in a match situation and ensure the squad gel as a unit. Next up will be Waltham Forest at Wadham Lodge on Saturday 22nd July, kickoff 3.00pm.
Please note there are no seats at Wadham Lodge so spectators who prefer to be seated are advised to bring their own seats.