Pre-season friendlies round-up

AFC Sudbury 0 Chelmsford City 2GLENN Pennyfather is hungry for more goals after seeing the Clarets dominate possession at the King's Marsh Stadium, comfortably dispatching Southern League Division One Midlands side AFC Sudbury on Saturday thanks to strikes from Jason Hallett and Bertie Brayley.

AFC Sudbury 0 Chelmsford City 2

GLENN Pennyfather is hungry for more goals after seeing the Clarets dominate possession at the King's Marsh Stadium, comfortably dispatching Southern League Division One Midlands side AFC Sudbury on Saturday thanks to strikes from Jason Hallett and Bertie Brayley.

Chelmsford were in full control for the majority of the match, the penultimate warm-up test prior to their Blue Square South opener with Bath City in seven days time, and head coach Pennyfather claimed: “We passed the ball well and our approach play was good but we lacked a little in the final third, which we'll work on in training. That said, two strikers scored the goals, we just felt for the possession we had we could have scored more.”

Hallett opened the scoring on 14 minutes after right-back Matthew Lock pumped the ball into the penalty area and, when the goalkeeper tried in vain to collect it, City's young striker was on-hand to bury the loose ball. Shortly afterwards Ricky Holmes made a nuisance of himself only to be crudely brought down, while Danny Hockton also sent a powerful free-kick at goal only to see it parried back out.

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Anthony Cook was his usual sprightly self throughout and was regularly causing anguish to former Clarets midfielder, Stuart Ainsley. He would eventually prove too hot to handle with two minutes of the period remaining when he pushed the ball round Ainsley and chased it prior to delivering a cross which bounced up onto a defender's arm. Hockton's resulting penalty was then saved and, although Hallett reacted quickly to tuck away the rebound, he was adjudged by referee John Magill to have encroached.

After the interval opportunities were few and far between barring a few half-chances, although the hosts will have been disappointed not to have fared better when through on goal, shooting straight at City custodian Craig Holloway. In terms of the result at least they were made to pay a minute into injury time. Hockton chased down a ball before supplying Brayley who accepted the pass and slipped under the advancing 'keeper.

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“It was nice to have the two centre-backs Ben Martin and Simon Glover playing alongside each other for the first time and their partnership should develop from here,” Pennyfather summarised after the game.

“Erkan [Okay] was excellent when he came on and Ryan Carolan showed what a good player he is too. Everybody is playing well at the moment, which is a great headache for any manager to have!”

Halstead Town 2 Southill 0

A GOAL in each half from Andy Joslin and Tom Devaux gave Halstead a comfortable victory over Southill Alexander, members of the Bedfordshire County League.

Halstead, who had two anonymous triallists on display, a goalkeeper and a forward, were hardly ever in trouble so sound were the performances of central defenders Devaux and Mark Emberson, but will look back on several scoring opportunities which went begging late in the game.

Overall it was a very confident success for Halstead who never looked back after Joslin drove them ahead after just five minutes after keeper Casey Waterfield could only parry a drive from Steve Daly, however it needed two sound headers from Devaux to cut out danger when Southill responded.

The first corner came for the visitors which ended when Labi Akinola fired into the side netting, and although Southill pressed in the latter stages of the first half Halstead were deservedly ahead at the interval.

Both sides made changes on resumption, with Nathan Mukuna being booked for a heavy challenge on Lee Townrow, and for long periods play swung from end-to-end but little danger was created for the respective defences were sound.

However, as Halstead began to get on top, winger Hun Lee particularly catching the eye, they clinched victory on 82 minutes when Devaux rose to head home a corner, while Southill keeper Waterfield proved to be his side's saviour with a string of vital saves in the latter stages.

Maldon Town 0 Kirkley & Pakefield 2

KIRKLEY produced a five-star performance to beat a talented Maldon Town side from the Ryman League.

Kirkley went into the match without new signing striker Russell Stock, skipper Justin Fox and James Cole but took a first-half lead with a penalty by keeper Robert Woodcock after jack-in-the-box Chris Henderson had been fouled.

Scott Manning, soon to go into the army, played in Henderson for number two after 74 minutes.

The home side were held at bay many times through man of the match Ryan de Coteau in an inspired showing that pleased new coach Jon Reynolds.

Kirkley's final warm up match is a home game with Sheringham Town.

Bury Town 0 Needham Market 1

BURY Town's unbeaten pre-season run came to an end against their local rivals in a hard-fought match.

Bury had more of the early play but were unable to trouble keeper Liam Jones, and it was Needham who came closest to scoring following a quick break.

A period of pressure from the visitors, with Danny Thrower always prominent, saw Marcus Garnham twice brought into action as the Bury defence were fully stretched.

Needham took a deserved lead in the 27th minute when Garnham's poor clearance fell to Danny Phillips and he ran on to slot home. The visitors continued to look the more dangerous and Bury rarely threatened.

Bury started the second half well but were still unable to create a clear chance, and Needham were content to play

on the break, as they contained the Bury attack with ease.

Needham again created the better chances with Thrower forcing Garnham into a scrambling save and Ollie Canfer shooting just wide when through on goal.

In a late rally by Bury, Scott Chaplin, Sam Reed and Craig Nurse all had chances to bring the scores level, but Needham held on for a deserved victory.

Leiston 3 Brantham Athletic 0

LEISTON wound up their pre-season programme with a comfortable win over Ridgeons League Division One Brantham.

The home side were always in control but had to wait for the second half to witness all the goals. The closest they came to scoring in the opening half was a towering header from Paul Hart that came back off the post.

Early in the second half Chris Williams went down under a challenge from the visiting keeper and Danny Cunningham duly dispatched the penalty.

Not long after, the unmarked Williams headed home Cunningham's corner before a classy finish from Hart after a fine five-man move completed the scoring.

Hadleigh Utd 2 Hullbridge Sports 0

HADLEIGH expect to name a new manager this week and the team prepared to welcome the successful applicant with a competent display against Essex opposition.

Besides second half goals from Craig Payne and Chris Cowan, the home side hit the woodwork four times, twice in each half.

Hullbridge threatened just once, but home keeper Aaron Benstead made a great save early in the second half when the match was still goalless.

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