Kick Off: 4PM
Venue: Len Salmon Stadium
In spite of a Hashtag equaliser just before half time, goals from both Tom Jones and Joao de Andrade were enough to send Stretford Paddock back home to Manchester with a victory they can be proud of.
On a hot day in Essex, both teams started the game with high intensity causing break downs in any attack either team tried to build. The good pressure from both teams continued where in the 15th minute, an interception from Will Hobson allowed Nosa Iyamu to find the feet of Ronaldo Brown.
A beautiful run from Brown with an abundance of steps overs saw the Paddock man beating two Hashtag United players before a low shot across the keeper was helped into the back of the net by a poachers finish from Tom Jones.
As the half went on, it was difficult to tell it was Hashtag Reserves’ first game of preseason as they began to find the ball in the final third on numerous occasions. Not long before half time, a Hashtag United counterattack was finished with a beautifully waited pass in-behind the Stretford Paddock defence. Victor Gimenez gambled in trying to meet the ball but caught the Hashtag man – penalty to The Tags.
It couldn’t have been better timing for Hashtag as in the 42nd minute, the man who won the penalty, Georgie Sykes, slotted his shot into side netting to level things up before the break.
HT: Hashtag United 1-1 Stretford Paddock FC
As the second half developed, it wasn’t quite matched with the same intensity as the first – the clash between the two YouTube sides started to look more like a pre-season friendly.
It wasn’t long though before a foul on the edge of the Hashtag area gave last seasons top assister, Mikey Burke, a chance to t
est the Hashtag United keeper. The strike beat the wall but hit the wrong side of the side netting.
Hashtag United littered the half with plenty of their own half chances. A hand full of crosses into dangerous areas however, had nobody on the end of them – this proved to be costly for Hashtag.
In the 74th minute, Iyamu tried to weave himself and the ball into a dangerous area. A key tackle was made by the Hashtag defender but unfortunately for him the ball fell into the feet of Man of the Match contender, Joao de Andrade. Some silky footwork and a precise strike from the edge of the D curled its way around the goalkeeper to put Stretford Paddock into the lead.
A late bit of skill andaCam Watters shot wasn’t enough to faze the Hashtag United goalkeeper and that was the last major opportunity of the game. There were also late glimpses of quality from substitutes Nico McCreath and Aftab Jan
FT: Hashtag United 1-2 Stretford Paddock FC
Stretford Paddock FC: Gimenez (46’ Pearce), Burke, Oatt (C), Paulo (60’ Knowles), Hobson, Adewale (62’ Pearson), de Andrade (77’ McCreath), Watters, Iyamu, Brown (77’ Jan), Jones (46’ Molloy)