Nailsea were on the road again this time to the outskirts of Taunton to play Staplegrove. The home side are rebuilding after a good season last year in the top league. United were looking to build on their fighting draw at Watchet last week.
It was Staplegrove that were quickest out of the blocks forcing Jack Smith to a diving save after just three minutes play. On five minutes Jack Smith had to push away a long distance free kick as the home side looked or the opening goal. This duly came in the 8th minute when a Staplegrove forward was left unmarked to collect and control a ball from the back before calmly lobbing the ball over Smith and into the United goal.
This goal brought a few harsh words from Nailsea manager Chris Adamson which seemed to do the trick as Nailsea pushed forward. There was a succession of searching passes into the Staplegrove penalty area from both flanks all eluding the United forwards. This all changed on 28 minutes when Nathan Shipway was set free after a good passing movement, his cross from the right was met by fellow strike partner Adam Marsden who beat the keeper to the ball to steer it into the net for a deserved equaliser.
The visitors were now looking the more dangerous of the two sides with Will Hodges picking out Nathan Shipway on the half hour mark but the advancing keeper blocked the shot. Five minutes later a well struck free kick from James Springett brought a flying save from the home custodian.
Half Time. Staplegrove 1 Nailsea United 1
The first half ended with Nailsea in control with the tightened defence able to deal with the sporadic Staplegrove attacks.
Right from the restart Rob Brown picked out Nathan Shipway brilliantly with a 30 yard pass but once again the home keeper came off his line quickly to smother the shot. Two minutes later as United made their intentions clear Scott Fisher had a golden opportunity to give his side the lead but his header was not on target. Almost immediately James Springett found Nathan Shipway in space, the striker controlled the ball and shot all in one movement but was just wide of the home upright.
Then ten minutes into the half Will Hodges was fouled near to the goal line and after due deliberation the referee pointed to the spot. Adam Marsden took responsibility sending the keeper the wrong way to tuck the ball into back of the net to give Nailsea the lead. The home side were struggling to contain the eager United side with Rob Brown trying a speculative shot from 40 yards which the keeper saved at the second attempt. Nailsea made the first change on 67 minutes with Nathan Shipway who is returning from injury was replaced by Luke Penberthy.
With 15 minutes remaining a rare Staplegrove attack saw the ball flash across the United goal area to remind them that the job was not done. United then replaced Sam Olsen with Joe Sharps as fresh legs were introduced to the United team. Within three minutes Joe Sharps could not convert a one on one chance with the keeper with Will Hodges unable to fire the rebound on target before being replaced by Ryan Ford.
Nailsea saw out the remaining minutes without any major alarms to secure all three points.
Final Score. Staplegrove 1 Nailsea United 2
Although only one goal separated the two sides the United management would be pleased at the number of chances created which as the young forward line gain experience will be converted into goals in future matches. The defence after the early error were strong with the midfield feeding the forwards with intelligent passes.
It was a good week for the other Nailsea sides with only the young colts side failing to win. Congratulations to the “B” team on going back to the top of the league.
Next week November 11th the first team are in Senior Cup action away to Hengrove Athletic Reserves. Kick Off 13.45pm. At The Grove the Reserves entertain league leaders AFC Brislington. Kick Off 2.30pm.