BLUES RETAIN STAN VENESS TROPHY
Entertaining afternoon in the summer heat writes The Mariner
Blues held on to the Stan Veness trophy in an entertaining afternoon against their oldest rivals Tilbury on a blistering hot afternoon at Parkside.
Both sides went close in a lively opening with the Dockers causing consternation for a Blues' makeshift rearguard creating the better chances and went ahead on 22 minutes with a neat move which carved open the home defence seeing keeper Anthony Page beaten from close range.
Blues responded well with Joao Carlos and Aron Gordon looking dangerous on the flanks showing a clear pair of heels to the Tilbury defenders, Gordon in particular had the beating of his full back on a number of occasions.
Parity was restored on 33 minutes when Stan Muguo netted from close range following an Ade Cole free kick. Minutes later Blues went in front when a great burst forward from Ryan Mahal saw him find the back of the net via the post.
Chances came and went as the half progressed with Blues going in with a slender lead.
Both teams made a number of changes in the second half as the heat began to take its toll, Blues gave themselves breathing space in the 70th minute when a great cross from Mahal was met by the head of Donovan Simmonds who powered the ball past Clarke Bogard.
Tilbury were given a lifeline minutes later when Geoffrey Okonkwo was adjudged to have handled the ball when a sliding tackle saw the ball strike his hand. Lewis Smith stepped up and slotted the penalty home.
The final whistle came as a relief to both teams who had toiled valiantly in the stifling heat providing periods of entertaining football for both sets of fans.
Pre-season games are a means to an end on the road to full fitness enabling management to assess and formulate their tactics for the upcoming season. On today's evidence both teams should equip themselves well in the upcoming season.