Dyer Makes Surprise Playing Return as U18s Win at Southwold
Saturday, 8th Jul 2017 00:53 by James Ager
First-half goals from Declan Daniels and first-year scholar Luca Vega helped Town's U18s to a 2-0 victory over Southwold Town as they kicked off their pre-season preparations on Friday evening. Former Blues midfielder Kieron Dyer, these days taking his first steps into coaching, rolled back the years and played the second 45 minutes of the annual friendly on the Common, which he previously appeared in during his time as a Town youth team player.
After the young Blues had seen out a flurry of early corners from the hosts, a fine through ball from captain Brett McGavin released Albert Wilton and although the wideman rounded Jimmy Bligh in the Southwold goal, he was forced wide and his effort only found the side-netting.
Ten minutes later Wilton cut the ball back for Daniels who was inside the six-yard box, but the Liverpudlian scuffed his effort and Bligh managed to prevent the ball crossing the line.
Moments before the half-hour mark Town took the lead. At the other end the home side had just seen strong penalty appeals waved away by referee Barry Ereira but the youngsters broke and Wilton released Daniels down the right side and he made no mistake after cutting in towards goal.
Town keeper Harry Wright then saved well from Jimmy Moran, but three minutes before the interval Tom Hughes's left-sided corner was nodded into the net by an unmarked Vega.
The Blues changed their whole team at the break, with some of the new first-year scholars being joined by a couple of U16s. With no number on his shirt, Dyer, 38, lined up on the right side of midfield.
On 53 Zak Brown, the younger brother of former Blues youth striker and current Chelsea player Charlie, broke through the Southwold defence but he lifted his effort over Bligh and the crossbar.
Dyer should have added a third for Town with a few minutes left but he poked his effort wide of the post, shortly before Frenchman Lounes Foudil crashed a fierce shot off the bar in the final moments.
It was a good workout for Town's youngsters with England youth international Dylan Crowe catching the eye in a central midfield role during the first-half.
Young full-backs Kian Ronan, who has already represented Gibraltar at U17 and U19 level, and Henry Barley both got forward well but Dyer's ability was clear for all to see after the break and most of the crowd will have enjoyed seeing him back in a blue shirt again.
U18s: Wright (Egan 46), Ronan (Ruffles 46), Clements (Barley 46), D Crowe (Cahill 46), Marshall (Trialist 46), Vega (Henry 46), Wilton (Dyer 46), McGavin (Ndaba 46), Daniels (Brown 46), Dobra (Foudil 46), Hughes (Baker 46).
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