Watford beat Campo-led Town reserves

THE demand has been for stiffer competition in reserve games and the Blues certainly got that against an experienced Watford outfit.

Derek Davis

THE demand has been for stiffer competition in reserve games and the Blues certainly got that against an experienced Watford outfit.

After a lively and evenly matched first half, Town were stung by two goals in the second half with substitute Michael Bryan opening the scoring five minutes after the break with a deflected shot past Woodbridge Town keeper Tom Ross.

Liam Henderson grabbed a second after Ross had saved from Lewis Young but the ball fell kindly for the Hornets striker who stroked it into an unguarded net.

A tactical switch saw Reggie Lambe go off. Connor Wickham replaced him as Town went 4-4-2 and scrambled in a goal on 71 minutes.

Ed Upson, Jordan Rhodes and Paul Watson were all heavily involved in a goalmouth scramble from a Paul Murphy corner with the ball eventually going in off Watford defender Lee Hodson for an own goal.

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Former Chelsea keeping coach Stuart Searle was injured in the melee and was replaced by Wales under 19 keeper Jon North making saves from Upson and substitute Ronan Murray.

Town upped the tempo, but failed to be rewarded with a draw they deserved.

Reserve team manager Chris Kiwomya was pleased with his side's efforts and the competiveness of the encounter.

He said: “We have been playing as lot of friendly against good opposition like Fulham and Tottenham and getting a lot out of it.

“This game against Watford was very competitive as they had a lot of first teamers but even so we could have had a draw.

“It is a fine line. You need to play game like this against better and experienced opposition, but at the same time we have a lot of youngsters coming through and you don't want to crush them so some times when you are winning 4-0 or 5-0 it can build confidence.

“That said, you probably learn more in competitive games.”

The most experienced player on the park was 34-year-old Iván Campo who skippered the team from the holding midfield position and only Rhodes and Jaime Peters, playing right back, have so far experienced first team football.

More could follow, but Kiwomya knows it won't be easy.

He said: “We have a big squad and a lot of younger players are still learning the game. To get in the first team at the moment is hard because there is a lot of competition.

“I take them during the week and assess them. Then if the manager and coaches, Bryan Klug and Steve Foley, see enough in them we all sit and have a talk about them developing.”

Rhodes, who has nine reserve team goals and a Football League goal for Rochdale, under his belt, took a whack on a hip but should be fine as he continues to push for a first team return or perhaps a loan spell in January.

New Watford boss Brendan Rodgers ran the rule over his side, although former Town and Colchester United keeper Alec chamberlain took charge of the reserve team.

Among the interested spectators towards the end of the match were 13 members of the first team who were given an interval running session by fitness coach Simon Thadani after returning from their festive trip to Dublin.

Ipswich Town: Ross, Campo, Dunbar, Reason, Ainsley, Watson, Peters, Upson, Rhodes (Murray, 77) Murphy, Lambe (Wickham, 55). Subs not used: Eastman, Daniels, Clemo.

Watford: Searle (North, 72) Hodson, Lavers, Eustace, Oshodi, Kiernan, Robinson, Williams (Whichelon, 46) Sordell (Bryan) Young, Henderson. Subs not used: Brooks, Penny.