The Severn Sport Pre-Season tour is well and truly underway now and we’ve already witnessed two very good games.
After Fairford Town and Shortwood United played out an entertaining 1-1 draw on Friday, it was the turn of Evesham United and Gloucester City to play their part in the weekend’s proceedings as they also treated us to a half Desmond (1-1) on Saturday.
During our Pre-Season Tour, we’ll be bringing you as many different friendlies from around the county as possible and with them, we’ll have our own opinions of what were the main talking points of each game. Today it’s the turn of Evesham United vs Gloucester City as the landlords hosted their tenants at the Jubilee Stadium.
This was probably one of the best pre-season games that I can remember in a long time. Both sides put on a really good showing and I’m sure both Tim Harris and Paul Collicutt will be pleased with what they saw from their sides.
Joe Parker nearly put Gloucester ahead within the opening minute before the Tigers new signing Alex Harris had to produce the goods at the other end as he denied Adam Mann with a very good one-on-one stop.
Both teams went close throughout the half as Lewis Binns and Ethan Moore tested the Gloucester and Evesham defences respectively but there would be no breakthrough in the opening 45 minutes.
With several former Gloucester men in Evesham’s side, the odds were good that one of them would get on the scoresheet. That was exactly the case as Matt Williams showed good determination in the box to head home past Phil Clarke in the 68th minute.
It was his namesake Ed Williams who equalised seven minutes later though as he unleashed a very good half volley on the edge of the penalty area to level the scores – and that’s how it finished.
What did we learn?
Joe Parker looks as hungry as ever. Towards the back end of last season you would imagine that Parker was frustrated with his lack of game time – with Zack Kotwica, Luke Hopper and Luke Thomas in such good form for Harris’ side. From the off, it looked as if the former Newport County striker was keen to stake his claim for a starting place on 5 August against Chelmsford City.
Swivelling on a sixpence 18 yards out, Parker lashed a shot barely past the post within 60 seconds. He tormented the Evesham back line with his pace and driven runs and, being one of only two other players to get 90 minutes under the belt (Kieran Parselle the other), it would seem that Tim Harris was keen to see what he could do and wanted a longer look at him.
George Forsyth looks the business. The signing of George Forsyth looks to already be a good bit of business from the Tigers. Alongside Tom Webb and Joe Hanks in midfield in the first half, the ex-Wolves man slotted into the Tigers system and game plan perfectly. Breaking up the play and doing the dirty work when needed, Forsyth also displayed his range of passing and aerial ability in what was a very promising debut.
Evesham will do well this season. After missing out so narrowly last year in the play-off semi-finals against Salisbury, Evesham have gone all out to try and go one better this season, and judging on what we saw today they have assembled a squad of doing just that.
Matt Williams and Leroy Odiero both looked comfortable at the back and Lewis Binns looked like a real handful on the left wing. That trio combined with the rest of the pieces of the jigsaw – including several injured players still to return – look to have formed a good solid squad that really could do some special things this season.
A brilliant advert for pre-season football was on display at Evesham United’s Jubilee Stadium, and both teams made sure the paying spectators got their money’s worth. The surface was a big focus point as it’ll be the first time two teams have groundshared at Evesham and, truthfully, the grass looked a little long causing some bobbles but I’m sure the pitch will hold out during the season.