After a 3-week hiatus, Colts returned to action on the first available weekend after new year with a a friendly tie against a Newtown team that had been enjoying a positive season to date. They lined up with Zac in Goal, Tom, Ollie and Dylan forming the defence, George, Caleb, Nathan and Reggie in midfield and Harry continuing up front. Subs were Ewan, Josh and Connor.
The boys started in an extremely positive manner, not letting their opponents settle and showing no ill-effects from the festive break. Nathan in particular started brightly, causing all kinds of problems with his quick feet and snappy distribution. The back three looked solid with Tom and Dylan not overly tested in the early exchanges, and Ollie, although not at 100% looking comfortable too. It didn't take long for Colts to make the breakthrough - Reggie making an encouraging positive surge down the left, and delivering a cross which the Newtown keeper was unable to hold; Harry was closest to the loose ball and pounced, turning sharply before slamming the ball into the net. George was enjoying another bright display and supplied the key pass for the second goal, slotting the ball through to Harry who showed enough strength to hold off the attentions of the two centre backs to fizz the ball past the keeper for his second. Zac was forced into a block to keep the visitors at bay and almost spilled another shot but recovered well to smother the ball. His distribution was key for the third goal, playing the ball long to pick out George who in turn advanced, looked up and placed a spectacular curling shot into the top corner. Caleb continued to look solid in midfield with a hard-working first half display that denied Newtown any real possession in the central third of the pitch. Colts continued to threaten, with George in particular looking dangerous, and he can feel himself unlucky to not to have doubled his tally when a fierce shot came back off of the post. The visiting keeper also did well to keep out Reggies free kick, keeping the game alive going into half time.
Manager Stephen Coopey made 3 changes at half time, Harry making way for Connor, Reggie for Josh and Ewan coming on for Dyl. The reshuffle seemed to knock Colts out of their stride somewhat, and combined with a reinvigorated Newtown team, a very different second half was in store. Colts shape seemed to disintegrate somewhat, and the visitors took advantage of the disarray by pulling a goal back early in the second half. They were also indebted to Zac moments later as he rushed from his goal to cut out a long ball and prevent an almost certain goal. Colts continued to look a little ragged, especially from set-pieces and only some last ditch defending from Ewan, Tom and Dylan (reintroduced in place of the flagging Ollie) kept the visitors from doubling their score.
Going forward was an entirely different prospect, however. Josh was enjoying himself on the left wing and Connor, once pulled back into midfield was also looking positive in possession; both had chances to extend the lead but were unable to convert, partly due to some solid work by the busy visiting goalkeeper. Harry also had chances to seal his hat-trick but both he and George were foiled and neither team were able to add to there tally.
All in all it wasn't a bad performance - first half was especially encouraging; Colts will be keen to iron out their defensive lapses in advance of a potentially tricky cup game on the 11th January.