|Euxton villa 1st||2|
Euxton Villa 2 Rochdale 2
Friendly 27 July 2011
Chris Beech brought a strong squad for what has become a keenly anticipated annual event at the Villa, a squad which included six full time pros who ‘needed more game time’. The visitors began like a whirlwind, and when Darren Davies lost his footing and went A over T just five minutes in, allowing Dale an easy opener, one could be forgiven for fearing a potential embarrassing night.
Far from it however, as Villa quickly settled and coped well with everything Dale could throw at them for the remainder of a first forty five, which admittedly was played mostly in the Villa half, with the visitor’s keeper remaining untested throughout this time.
Despite the balance of play, Mark McDonnell would probably have been the happier manager at the half time team talk, and his charges responded with an excellent second half display, which saw them score two cracking goals, though an unfortunate mistimed tackle afforded Rochdale a get out from the penalty spot. Villa were back on terms inside ten minutes of the re-start when a free kick was slipped to man-of-the-match Mark Swift, who floated a perfect ball into the path of Tom Cahill. Still with plenty to do, the striker elected to take on almost the entire back four before firing home from a tight angle.
A feature of Villa’s pre-season has been the pleasing fitness levels, which have seen both Reserve and First team matches swing in their favour as the matches unfolded, a testament to the lads endeavours and to Roger Leigh and his assistants’ efforts. Whilst one could hardly have expected this to be the case at this level, nevertheless as the second half progressed Villa had more and more of the play. Somewhat against the run of play however, Dale regained the lead with the awarding of the aforementioned penalty during a routine attack, despatched with aplomb, Shaun Gibbs no chance of getting to it.
Multiple personnel changes to both sides did little to affect the pace of the match, and ten minutes from the end, Villa were rewarded for their efforts when Danial Hogg met a Dave Warburton cross with a perfect volley to earn a notable draw.
Smashing game and a good night for The Villa. With the Reserve squad giving an another excellent account of themselves the night before, both Adrian Briggs and Mark McDonnell will have a great deal of difficulty sorting out their respective starting elevens. There must be nearly twenty souls who will feel they have done enough to feature at the higher level, whilst some of the young lads have come in and looked more than comfortable at in the Reserves and will be hard to leave out! Good luck with that one lads!
This feature is currently in development but will be available soon.