25th Aug, 2019

"We're prepared for tough opener", says Saltmen manager Owen

Ben Tyler 7th Aug, 2019

SALTMEN boss Mark Owen confirms only one player will miss out this weekend’s curtain raiser at Old Wulfrunians on Saturday (3pm).

Goalkeeper Matt Oliver is the only squad member out of contention for the first game of the West Midlands (Regional) League Division One, with Connor Coombes expected to start between the sticks in his place.

Coombes appeared during Spa’s seventh and final pre-season outing, a 2-1 victory over Sporting Club Inkberrow last Thursday, where James Lemon and Bradley Burgess both registered their names on the scoresheet.

Owen took a great deal away from the friendly, and said: “It was a really tough game in fairness.

“Inkberrow were not a bad little outfit, we’d not planned a friendly originally but for a last minute warm-up it was a really good showing.”

Sporting Club Inkberrow, of Midlands Football League Division Four, were a match for the Saltmen and edged the clear-cut chances during the first half.

The visitors, meanwhile, were denied a go-ahead goal despite chances falling to Connor Collins, Jack Davies and Ben Tilbury to name a few, in an action packed half that ended goalless.

Lemon broke the deadlock moments after the restart in sublime fashion, taking on two defenders, rounding the keeper, and then tapping into an empty net to score.

Moments later it was 2-0, when Burgess met Davies’ cross from the flank for the simplest of finishes.

With ten minutes remaining, the hosts were back in the contest after halving the deficit, but were unable to find an equaliser despite a late surge.

The Droitwich manager is confident going into the first competitive action of the season this weekend, but is fully aware of the threat that Old Wulfrunians possess.

“Pre-season has gone really well for us, the lads have been looking sharp and they’re ready for the season ahead,” said Owen.

“I gave them the weekend off after Inkberrow, we trained Monday and had our final preparations on Thursday.

“I expect a really tough game on Saturday, we got beat 3-2 at the back end of last season, so it will be a good test for us for the first game.”

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