…A round-up of the pre-season friendly games that managed to beat the wet on Monday night.
A fine finish from Adam Watkins got Blue Square Bet Premier title-fancies Luton Town’s pre-season underway with a win against Evo-Stik League Southern Premier Division side Hitchin Town in front of a crowd of 1,407 at Top Field on Monday night.
The midfielder fired home first time after taking Jake Howells’ deflected left-wing cross in his stride 3 minutes before half-time and it proved to be enough on the night for the Hatters.
The Hatters began with three new signings in the starting eleven with Ronnie Henry skippering the side. Scott Rendell and Yaser Kasim were joined by a familiar face on trial in goal in the shape of former Luton man Dean Brill, who is on trial at Kenilworth Road after being released by Barnet at the end of last season.
A team mostly made up of triallists from Conference Premier newcomers Hyde FC were held to a goalless draw in a disappointing game at Evo-Stik Northern Premier League First Division North neighbours Curzon Ashton’s Tameside Stadium.
Curzon`s league rivals Warrington Town took to the field for their first pre-season fixture against Conference Premier side Barrow AFC.
The Wire only featured three players from the previous season and in the first half, Barrow looked strong in their third pre-season outing.
A goal on 21 minutes from a triallist went past keeper Judge who was left helpless. The second goal was scored on 36 minutes after some strong running down the right-hand side.
Rob Hardwick had the chance to pull a goal back just before half-time put failed to convert a cross from the right wing.
Straight from the kick-off, Barrow grabbed a third goal of the game as Warrington were still in the dressing room.
On the hour-mark, Town boss Shaun Reid made ten changes as all outfield players were replaced by a totally new team and on 61 minutes the home side grabbed a goal back through Tom Timmins, who slotted his shot past the Barrow keeper.
In front of a crowd of 511, NPL Premier Division side Kendal Town shared a 2-2 draw with a youthful team from Barclays Premier League champions Manchester City.
The Cumbrians shocked their illustrious young visititors by going 1-0 up through a Leadbetter penalty after 17 minutes after Alex Taylor had been brought down in the box.
City hit the post at one end then Farrell fails to make it 2-0 after hitting his effort straight at the keeper with the goal gaping.
Alex Henshall equalised for City on 38 minutes with a screamer from 25 yards into the bottom corner of the net.
On the hour-mark City went ahead for the first time through Alex Nimley, but just 5 minutes later Adam Farrell profited from some unusually sloppy defending to beat Angus Gunn – son of Norwich City legend Bryan Gunn – who City paid £250,000 for.
Kendal`s league rivals Marine opened their pre-season friendly programme with a narrow home defeat, going down by the odd goal in three to npower League Two side Accrington Stanley.
Stanley looked sharp early on and took the lead after only 3 minutes, Gray racing clear to round Ryan McMahon before coolly rolling the ball home.
The visitors` second goal came when a cross from the left eventually found its way to Carver to fire home on 23 minutes.
Marine pulled a goal back 4 minutes before the break, Robbie Lawton pulling one out of the hat with a lovely curled effort from 22 yards to reduce the arrears.
The sides exchanged openings during the second half, Fowler having a goal bound effort bounce off the bonce of a defender for Marine, with Oliver and Carver both having headers off target when well-placed for the Reds.
Marine had their best chances to level late on, Michael Ordish seeing a free-kick elude all comers to hit the far post, with another pile-driver clanging against the top of the freshly painted crossbar.
In between came a miraculous escape for the Stanley goal, Ordish’s initial shot being blocked on the line but Karl Noon looking certain to score with the rebound, only for more heroic defending leading to a last ditch header, again off the line