2 : 3
Playford Reserves
Sparrow OG
stunning goal from Stretton paves Playford to victory

Both sides were looking to put points on the board following a 4-2 defeat at the hands of Taverners for Playford and Trinity were defeated 5-1 by Eastern Electric Old Boys in their season openers.

Player-Manager Daryl Francis had made 5 changes to the squad that was defeated at Greshams the previous week, Steve Zebedee, Gareth & Byron Stretton, Rhys Thompson, Stu Goldsmith, Zak Fonseka and Francis himself all kept their starting places; in came John Waller, Todd Bartlett, Max Pryke and James Zebedee to strengthen the squad.

Playford, playing in Gold and Black, kicked off the tie in what was probably the best conditions ever witnessed on a Sunday morning at Gainsborough Sports Centre. The first 10 minutes was controlled well by Playford and they could have taken the lead, two corners followed by decent efforts from both Francis and J. Zebedee from range could have put them in front, Trinity were putting themselves about well, blocking out any efforts.

Trinity then came into the game, on 13' a long ball from a goal kick forced pressure on the Playford defence but Bartlett was back and was equal to their challenge. It seemed like the long ball was working for Trinity and once again on 17' a long ball was launched into the box forcing B.Stretton to concede a corner. Nothing came from the corner but it was only 2 minutes later that Trinity took the lead, some lovely passing in and around the 18 yard box saw the ball tapped out to the left hand side, a ball was fizzed across the 6 yard box, G. Stretton got a touch on it, but only placed it at the feet of the on coming striker Jack Burman, who from 6 yards out couldn't miss; 1-0 Trinity.

It took only two minutes for Playford to respond. On 21' B.Stretton whipped in a cross from the right hand side which was handled by the Trinity right back, Penalty; James Zebedee stepped up to take the spot kick, the striker had returned from University and was looking to notch his 22nd goal for the reserves. He fired his shot into the bottom right hand corner, but the keeper was equal to it, palming his effort straight to Fonseka who could not net the rebound.

From then on it was all Playford, Bartlett was causing problems for Trinity winning numerous corners, a free kick was then wasted by Pryke, but they continued to press. The breakthrough came in the 31st minute, out of absolutely nowhere Gareth Stretton picked up the ball from around 40 yards out and took a punt from around 30 yards. A spectacular Goal! The keeper was left standing as the ball hit the bottom corner of the net sweetly. 1-1; and thats how it stayed for the rest of the half with Playford continuing to press, a diving header from Bartlett saved and a half volley from Francis put over the bar.

On 57' Playford forced Trinity into conceding a corner. The resulting set piece was launched into the area, and deflected off the back of Trinity Left Back John Sparrow into the net; 2-1 Playford. Shortly after the goal there was some controversy, the referee had disallowed any subs from Playford during the 90 minutes meaning all of the starting 11 were to play the whole 90 minutes. This seemed to be due to an argument regarding the teamsheet for which Francis was subsequently booked. Subs Foley, Vince and Griffiths were going to see no match action.

It was around 25 degrees and both teams were playing with the sun directly on their backs, but that didn't seem to phase Playford who turned it up a gear and on 73' minutes when James Zebedee made a darting run down the left from a Pryke through ball, he found Fonseka in the centre who gifted the ball to Francis to net a third. 3-1 Playford.

The game looked dead and buried, the heat had started to get to the Playford 11. On 84' Trinity had won a corner, the resulting set piece and shot had seen Trinity's effort from Matthew Watkins sneak over the line despite the Playford attempts to clear the ball. 3-2 Playford.

Despite the two goals Trinity had scored Steve Zebedee had quite a comfortable game in goal, albeit for a shot from Trinity in the dying seconds of the game, it was a dead on 3-3 effort Zebedee was well beaten, but thankfully his son James wasn't! Without a doubt the most acrobatic header ever seen in a Playford shirt, James had cleared off the line in the final minute to keep the game at 3-2.

Playford deserved their win, especially as they were disadvantaged by not being able to make changes. The Reserves can now look ahead to a week off and preparation for the next tie against Rushmere and Diamonds on the 25/09 at Inspire Suffolk.

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