Longlevens first team manager Mark Moore says his side “needed a game like that” after they were defeated 3-1 by Wellington FC in their latest pre-season friendly.
Longlevens took the lead five minutes before the break when a Dave Rich free kick was headed home by 16 year old Isaac Johns, only for the visitors to equalise from a corner just minutes later.
A further two goals were conceded in the second half, including another goal from a set piece, but Longlevens will take positives from the game. There were precious pre-season minutes for midfielder Jonty Welch and defenders Ellis Sausman and Kieran Squires who have all picked up knocks throughout the pre-season schedule.
Moore said that Johns’ first goal for Longlevens’ first team will be a monkey off his back and listed the goal as one of many plus points despite the result.
“We have been talking to the boys and when we assess it there are positives. Kieran [Squires] is fit when it looked like he had picked up a bad injury against Cinderford, Jonty Welch was able to get 15-20 minutes and he was pretty effective and obviously Isaac with the goal as well. As a group of players it was a valuable lesson learned, that you can’t rest on your laurels and we need to be at it. The boys are disappointed with the result, but we created chances so we can learn and move in from the result.” Moore told us after the game.
With the season just 10 days away now some of the Longlevens first team players who are short on minutes will be made available for Longlevens Reserves on Thursday evening, when they travel to Hellenic League Division One West side Newent Town. Moore pointed out the unity within the club and the importance of players putting in a performance regardless of which Longlevens said they are playing for.
“We have a nice big squad now and the likes of Eddie [Smyllie], Kavs [Luke Kavanagh] who missed tonight and players like Jonty [Welch] who are short on minutes will be available for the reserves on Thursday. So there will be some regular first team players helping our second side out and it is great to have first team players happy to help out the seconds with what they are trying to build and achieve. It shows you that we aren’t just a first team, we are building it as a squad and consider the seconds to be a part of the firsts as any of the guys playing in either side will be needed. Due to the hard ground we are already picking up niggles and knocks, so with 8 games in 24 days every player is important.”
“The players are all queuing up to get a game for the first team and we probably haven’t seen that down here for a couple of seasons now, where we have two squads all chomping at the bit. We played some young lads tonight and you know they will have to learn pretty quickly and be tested. We have chucked them all in the deep end and that’s the only way they will test themselves and learn. Some of them have probably played more minutes than they expected but it is all about learning from it and they won’t learn if they aren’t playing.”
Longlevens first team play their next pre-season game away at Cribbs on Saturday before they kick off the season with two home games, against Flackwell Heath on Saturday 4th August and Lydney Town on Wednesday 8th August respectively and Moore is eyeing up the competitive start as a chance to lay a marker down for the season ahead.
“You put yourself under pressure if you don’t get off to a good start and its always nice to be playing at home but the opposition in this league are always going to be tough so the boys will need to be at it from the get go. We will be looking to take the game to Flackwell on the opening day to show them what we are about. We struggled last year against sides in and around the top six but we want to start breaking into that top tier within the league. For me, it is a great test for us for an opening game.”
Severn Sport will be making the trip to Newent Town on Thursday night to watch their game against Longlevens Reserves, you will be able to follow the game live on our social media platforms.