It was the team from the West Coast of Somerset, Watchet Town who were the visitors to The Grove on Saturday. A close game was predicted as always seems to be the case with these two well matched sides.
Watchet started the match at a high tempo trying to catch the United team cold. On five minutes a shot by Watchet from distance was pushed over the bar by Jack Smith. However, the danger was not over as from the resultant corner the ball was cleared only to the edge of the Nailsea penalty area where a visiting player gratefully took the chance to fire a low shot past a static Nailsea defence to find the back of the net to give his side an early lead.
Nailsea then at last got into their stride with Joe Sharps setting up Matt Day on 15 minutes but the striker’s goal bound shot was blocked. On 25 minutes Watchet were reduced to ten men when their player was shown a straight red card for a high tackle on Matt Thomas. On the restart the difference in numbers did not immediately worry the Watchet side who doubled their lead on 35 minutes with a shot from close range.
Just as the half was ending a cross from Luis Parnham was headed against the Watchet bar before being cleared to safety.
Half Time. Nailsea United 0 Watchet Town 2
United now had a mountain to climb to get anything from this fixture after conceding what could be described as two soft goals against a Watchet side who require no assistance in scoring goals.
It could have been a lot worse for the home side as within a minute of the restart Watchet broke away with only a goal line clearance keeping Nailsea in the game. This let off seemed to kick start the United side as they began to take advantage of their numerical superiority to stretch the Watchet defence in search of their opening goal. On 53 minutes their endeavours were rewarded when following a free kick from the right the ball was played back by Sam Olsen to Matt Day who rifled the ball into the back of the Watchet net with their keeper given no chance.
On 60 minutes Nailsea made their first substitution with Ben Pratt giving way to sixteen year old Cameron Henderson making his first team debut on the left flank. Five minutes later Ben Barrett replaced Joe Sharps as the Nailsea management ramped up the pressure.
Matt Thomas was the next to try his luck on 70 minutes but his powerful shot was just too high. It was all Nailsea now with Watchet bringing all ten men behind the ball and relying on quick break outs to reduce the pressure. With 15 minutes remaining a strong run by Will Symonds down the left saw his cross go beyond the far post where Ben Barrett was waiting however he could not find the target from close range although to be fair to him the ball did appear to take a bobble on the point of contact.
With ten minutes of normal time remaining substitute Cameron Henderson was forced to leave the field with a facial injury after a heavy collision with a Watchet player. This was not the way that Cameron wanted to remember his debut for the first team but he showed enough promise whilst on the field to mark his name as one for the future. We wish him a speedy recovery.
Following a lengthy stoppage for treatment to Cameron he was replaced by another sixteen year old also making his first team debut in Alfie Randall. Nailsea Manager Chris Adamson is a firm believer in giving young players a taste of football for the senior side whenever the opportunity arises.
Nailsea continued to pour forward but with misplaced passes in the final third and a resolute Watchet defence the equaliser was not to be. The only real chance was when Ben Barrett sped down the right to cross but not one of his colleagues was on hand to get the defining touch.
Final Score. Nailsea United 1 Watchet Town 2
This was a match that was frustrating to watch as Nailsea dominated the second half without creating real chances that could have seen them take a share of the points or even better.
Next week January 19th United make the short journey to Clevedon United with a 2.00pm kick off. In the only other Nailsea fixture on Saturday the “B” side cruised to a three nil win over Banwell Reserves with goals from Tim Bailey and a brace from Dan Shipway.
Next week at The Grove the Reserves host Burnham United Reserves with the “A” team hosting Worle Reserves and finally the improving Colts side at home to Axbridge Town. All matches kick off at 2.00pm.