Once again the new season was upon us and it took less than a minute for Gary Reay to open his account when he converted a penalty after Mick Saunders was brought down in the box with Docks first attack. With Dock fielding four debutants it was a mixture of youth and experience that took to the field against a decent 3rd division side managed by the well travelled Davie Mustoe.

Dock enjoyed a lot of possession in the first 15-20mins but only had a shot from Mark Head that never really troubled the keeper to show for it. It was on 25mins when Mick Saunders finished in style chipping the grounded keeper after he saved well from an effort outside the area. Luke Hughes supplied good delivery from corners and Colin O’Hanlon should of converted with a header but he mistimed it and the ball skidded through to the unexpecting Mick Saunders at the far post and he couldn’t adjust in time to convert.

The back four looked a comfortable unit and impressed with two youngsters in the full back positions. Paul Byrne showed confidence at right back as did Tom Darlington at left back held solidly together by the experience of Colin O’Hanlon and authoritive Matty Carling. The midfield were now dominating proceedings with Sean Holmes and Bernie Holmes holding the middle with Mark Head and Luke Hughes up and down the flanks, linking well with the two fullbacks Byrne and Darlington. In goal Paul Roberts had little to do other than field a couple of long range efforts and deal with the odd corner such was the dominance of The Dock.

After 42mins Reay notched his second goal after Sean Holmes set Luke Hughes away down the right side and he crossed only for Saunders to miskick with Reay on hand to put away the loose ball to make it 3-0 . On the stroke half time Reay had an effort clearly handled on the line to denigh him a 1st half hat-trick. His protests being waived away by referee Alan Darlington.

The half-time interval saw some changes to the line up with Gareth McEvoy replacing Gary Reay, Ian Brunt replaced Colin O’Hanlon and Ray Redmond for Sean Holmes. Straight into the action was Ray Redmond who stopped former Dock player Adam Leigh in his tracks with a last ditch tackle in the six yard box just as Leigh was about to pull the trigger. Luke Hughes and Mark Head swopped flanks in the second period with Head having a strong run down the right after 55mins resulting in a couple of efforts saved and blocked in the same move cutting in from the right onto his left peg. Head was enjoying a good period now and was causing problems every time he received the ball taking on the Shore Villa defence at will.

On 60mins Saunders was put through and slipped the ball past the keeper but the ball never had enough pace on it to reach the goal line and was cleared by a Shore Villa defender. Dock made a couple more substitutions shortly after with Danny Donaghy replacing Mick Saunders and Jack Beech for Bernie Holmes. Although Dock had most of the ball Shore Villa scored after confusion in the Dock defence let a Villa forward in with a simple tap in after 65mins. McEvoy had an effort disallowed on 70mins after the referee blew late when McEvoy won a one on one with the keeper and netted with the referee giving offside not expecting McEvoy to win the one on one! Shortly after this McEvoy put the Villa keeper into Row Z resulting in a halt in play whilst the keeper got his act back together!

Jack Beech showed well in the middle of midfield and a surging run by him into the box only resulted in a goal kick when it deserved better. Dock took their foot of the pedal a bit for ten minutes and it was in this period that Villa shaved the post with an effort outside the box and a minute later Villa scored after the Dock midfield never tracked the Villa runner resulting in him rounding Paul Roberts and rolling the ball into an empty net on 76mins.

The last ten minutes was a bit dis-jointed due to tiredness although Head was fowled for a clear penalty turned down by the referee and good work by Luke Hughes should of resulted in a corner but the ref gave a goal kick. Paul Roberts saved well from Adam Leigh after 83mins and the last moments of the match saw Head tormenting the Villa defence at will. All in all it was a good work out for the side and resulted in an opportunity for the newcomers to show their talents and show them they did !
Final score. Dock 3 Shore Villa 2
M.o.M. Mark Head

Match Report by Mike Stephens