MATCH REPORT: Second-string put to the sword by the champions

This final may have been judged as an easy victory for the Mead Plant & Grab 1B champions, and the predictors weren’t wrong.

A first-half that the Lilies’ second-string could have prospered in if it wasn’t for too many instances of dispossession and missed opportunities in the final third, not just conceding two goals in two minutes against a well-drilled Huntingdon United outfit.

Lilies front-man James Harness perhaps should have given the underdogs an early lead, but his first touch was uncontrolled.

It may well have been a different story if it wasn’t for Reserves’ goalkeeper Ryan Rayner clutching with ease on the line, a sign of things to come.

Lively winger Jermaine Watson had his low effort saved well by competent goalkeeper Jamie Crook, but the deadlock was swiftly broken as the Lilies’ back-line failed to stop a Carl Foreman dribble from the left that was tapped in underneath the diving Rayner on 24 minutes.

The advantage was soon doubled as Joe Bennett tapped in at the back-post a couple of minutes later as the Lilies were carved apart once more, this time on the right before a back-post cross to the unmarked forward.

A flurry of near-miss chances was displayed, particularly for Harness, who was unlucky to not receive better service in and around the opposition penalty box from those around him.

Reserves head-coach Benji Brittin would and possibly should have installed some belief into his players at the interval, but that seemed to have been a bygone.

Striker Dom Everett enhanced the champions’ lead soon after the restart with a well-taken finish past Rayner to some of the crowd’s delirium, after winning a one-on-one encounter with the unfortunate Lilies ‘keeper.

Any hopes of a comeback were finally dashed via a deflected free-kick from distance on 79 minutes, leaving Rayner helpless at his top-left corner to make it two for Foreman and four for Huntingdon.

The league winners showed their superiority, not just in attack, but at the back, thwarting any possible chance their opponents might conger up.

Brittin’s men searched for an opening with sparks of forward-thinking play and midfield surges from the likes of substitutes Mason and Goodger, but to no avail.

Substitute Scott Lindsay then added a fifth at the death to put the cherry on top of the champions’ cake to make it a perfect evening for his team and an even more dire night for the Lilies.

But they can hold their heads high after a determined effort, the difference in class finally paying off. For the winners, it’s a league and cup double, but for the losers, it’s back to the drawing board on Saturday.

 

Chatteris Town Reserves head-coach Benji Brittin said:

“I’m totally devastated with the result. I think 0-5 was a justified result. We gave it away sloppily at the back and we weren’t drilled enough. We were beaten by a lot better side and quite rightly so, they’re the league champions.

“They all believed they were still in it at half-time, we were still in it and the next goal was crucial and unfortunately, they took it. We didn’t give up, we kept battling, but they were a quality team and they were up for it on the day.

“The heads are down so we’ve got to pick them up and we’ll go from there. We’ve got Houghton & Wyton at home this weekend so hopefully we’ll take this into it.

“There’s a couple of things we need to work on, but it’s a very down team at the moment and we’ll move on and learn from this. This is a good learning curve.”

Chatteris Town Reserves: Ryan Rayner, Jacob Butler, Matthew Eggleton (sub Dodman, 70’), Tony Brown, Dean Saunders (sub Richard Salisbury, 70’), Jermaine Watson (sub Brittin, 83’), Liam Birch (sub Scott Goodger, 53’), Paul Rowell © (sub Will Mason, 20′), James Harness (sub Craig Gillies, 53’), Josh Dodman (sub Brandon Ransome, 53’), Josh Brittin.

Ratings: Chatteris Town Reserves – Rayner 5, Butler 5, Eggleton 5, Brown 6, Saunders 5, Watson 6, Birch 5, Rowell 5, Harness 4, Dodman 5, Brittin 5. Subs: Mason 6, Goodger 5, Ransome 5, Gillies 5, Salisbury 4.

Referee: Jordan Marin – 7

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