The Bucks got their pre-season programme off to a good start
in sweltering conditions at Beech Grove, in a game that manager Gavin Cowan felt
provided his side with exactly the sort of test he’d been hoping for.
The starting eleven boasted no fewer than six debutants,
along with a trialist at right-back, and Cowan’s side enjoyed the boost of a
goal after just two minutes, with new forward Daniel Udoh scoring with a firm
shot under the keeper from 15 yards. Udoh then tallied a second after 17
minutes from close range, the visitors enjoying more of the ball but occasionally
denied by it bobbling on a very hard and dry surface.
Adam Dawson was catching the eye amongst the new signings,
looking dangerous on the left, and he added a third goal on 39 minutes, a swift
move down the right ending with Udoh moving the ball on to Dawson, just yards
from goal. He showed good composure to put the ball high over the scrambling
HALF TIME: Ellesmere Rangers 0 AFC Telford United 3
As expected, Cowan made wholesale changes at the break, keen
not to overwork players in the heat and to allow several trialists a chance to
get some game time. The next scorer was, however, a familiar face, with forward
Matthew Barnes-Homer tucking home from inside the six-yard box. He had been denied
a goal with his head, the Meresiders’ keeper saving well as Barnes-Homer met a
left-wing cross, but he was able to beat the prone custodian to the loose ball.
Joe Cuff, one of the identifiable trialists, was showing
well on the left, but it was an unknown trialist who notched the Bucks’ fifth
goal just three minutes later, nudging the ball over the onrushing keeper when
played through, following through to find the target.
The final goal of the game came on 78 minutes, when Amari
Morgan-Smith produced possibly the game’s best goal, finding the opposite top
corner with an effort across the keeper from the right of the box.
Rangers had tired more visibly, lacking the playing
resources to refresh their line-up as the Bucks had done, but their commitment
to their task tested the Bucks, without ever overstepping the mark.
Overall the Bucks came through a contest that was physically
more testing than anything, showing glimpses of some good attacking play whilst
not unduly troubled in defence. Sterner tests lie ahead, even within pre-season,
but Cowan declared himself satisfied with his new-look Bucks’ efforts.
FULL TIME: Ellesmere Rangers 0 AFC Telford United 6
Bucks: Martinez, Trialist, Morley, Royle, Streete, Sutton,
Cowans, McQuilkin, Brown, Udoh, Dawson.
Scorers: Udoh (2,17), Dawson (39), Barnes-Homer (59),
Trialist (62), Morgan-Smith (78).
Substitutes: White, Smith, Deeney, Knights, Morgan-Smith,
Rea, Barnes-Homer, Cuff + Various Trialists.