Tshibola Wanderers may have felt they were hard done by at the Folley following a 2-2 draw with The Boys.
Tshibola started in a rather unusual system following some key absentees. Dylan Withers who had been craving that first start was handed it through Joe Davies, who acted as manager through the absence of manager Chad-Billy Wrenn – who was reportedly on scouting duties.
Tshibola who took the initiative in the first half, and deservedly took the lead when Luke McNulty’s free kick deflected off Henry Port’s head. However Tshibola were guilty of switching off, and from a corner The Boys were level.
The boys then grew with momentum, and just moments after their first they were awarded a somewhat controversial penalty as it looked like the striker was was standing slightly offside and from the resulting penalty The Boys went in front. This was an injustice following the first forty minutes, and the Tshibola lads could count themselves very unlucky going into half-time 2-1 behind.
Change was needed, and as a result Shinji was brought on by step-in manager Joe Davies. He looked bright in the early stages of the second half in a playmaker type of role, and showed great ability when on the ball but some of the Tshibola players were panicking on the ball, and not getting control of the ball before giving that simple pass. Instead they would try to over-complicate the passage of play by trying to play that impossible pass but it just wasn’t coming off for Tshibola.
All of a sudden Tshibola started to play with a real confidence, passing the ball around and putting The Boys back line under all kinds of pressure. They were then rewarding thanks to Luke Watkins heading home from the delivery of Josh Pratt to delight the Tshibola faithful.
Tshibola then had a fantastic chance after Luke McNulty was brought down in the penalty area to make it 3-2, however Josh Pratt’s penalty was poor and saved comfortably by the goalkeeper. The Boys then had a fantastic chance of their own, gliding just past the post, but were largely outplayed by Tshibola in the second half as the game finished all square.
Tshibola have now missed two out of three penalties so far this season – however winning this amount of penalties proves the amount of pressure they are putting on their opponents. Its about having that bit of luck, also being without certain key players didn’t help their cause.
Tshibola definitely missed the influence and passion of centre back Adam Goodwin, however saying that there were definitely more positives than negatives to take out of this game, and played against a well-organised team who had defeated them when Tshibola fielded a full-strength side.
Player Ratings and Man of the Match award:
Joe Davies: 6
Not the best performance from the captain – started in goals, but could do little with either of The Boys goals. Made a few mistakes at the back when stepping in as a defender in second half – must do and can do better, however the step-in manager did give every player from the bench a chance to impress.
Dylan Withers: 6
Was craving to impress but picked up an unfortunate injury which cut his day short. Hopefully will be able to return to training Monday raring to go.
Jack Conlon: 6
Battled hard – but like many of the other players it wasn’t his best performance, put in one excellent challenge in the second half which prevented The Boys getting a one on one chance.
Elliot Lee: 7
Can’t help but adore this guy’s versatility – started the game as a centre-back but ended the game as a goalkeeper. Solid second half performance stepping in for captain Joe Davies.
Conor Fitzgerald: 6
Not on song like in recent weeks – key part of this squad but panicked far too much today, and didn’t show the kind of composure and threat going forward which made him such a threat against Valentinos in match day one. Saying that,he probably played the ball of the season in the second half.
George Brereton: 5
Started as a defensive midfielder, but ended the game as a defender. For a player who promises so much this was a poor display from him – was caught out of position a couple of times when called backed upon by step-in manager Joe Davies.
George Lawry: 6
Absolute work horse on the pitch, played some good balls out wide but failed to influence the game in the way he would of liked to. Fitness is a major aspect for improvement but with game time this will only come.
Henry Port: 7
After a poor start to the season, Port finally showed us why he can be such a talent. Worked hard all game, and showed great tenacity going forward. He was a complete nightmare for the full-back throughout the second half.
Luke McNulty: 6
Like a few of the other players he wasn’t allowed space on the ball. He usually glides past defenders, but found it difficult against a stubborn Boys defence. Won a vital penalty, but was missed by striker Josh Pratt.
Luke Watkins (Man of the match): 8
An excellent performance from the attacking midfielder which merited the man of the match award. Took his header brilliantly, know exactly what you’re going to get with him. Possesses superb energy and vigour.
Josh Pratt: 6
Usually so hard to predict, but today his touch let him down big time. A major off day from the striker, and top it off he went and missed a penalty. Will be kicking himself for what was a great chance to give Tshibola all three points.