Keeper Jim Barnstaple makes a scoring outfield debut in this morning's friendly match.

Keeper Jim Barnstaple makes a scoring outfield debut in this morning’s friendly match.

A short-handed Brook Street side, with a number of players playing out of position, this morning defeated Italian Serie V side MARECHIARHO 3-2 at New Home Park in the final warm-up before the new season starts.

Brook Street kicked-off with only ten players on the field and with Fraser Carragher in midfield, Alex Clapperton partnering Andrew Cleary up front, plus Matt Cocker and keeper Jim Barnstaple on the wings. And it was Jim Barnstaple who grabbed the headlines by opening the scoring.

“The look on Jim’s face when the ball hit the net will live with me until the day I die”, laughed Eike afterwards. “I think he was as gob-smacked as everyone else in the stadium when the ball hit the net! I don’t know if he wanted to apologise to the MARECHIARHO keeper or what!”

Phil Mullally doubled the lead in the twenty-second minute and with that, Brook Street seemed content to knock the ball about. This almost proved to be costly in the last few minutes of the half when Ezequiel Alexandrino had to make a fantastic fingertip save and a block in quick succession in order to preserve Brook Street’s two-goal advantage.

The visitors pressed in the second half looking to capitalise on any enforced errors as they looked to get back into the game, and their efforts paid dividends in the sixty-ninth minute when Salvatore Facheris pounced to make the score 2-1.

However, any hope of pushing for an equaliser were quickly dashed as Andrew Cleary restored Brook Street’s two-goal advantage straight from the re-start.

Back came the visitors, and only a breathtaking stop from Ezequiel Alexandrino prevented them from reducing the lead again with seventy-three minutes gone. But he was powerless to prevent Ettore Nasuti scoring the Italian side’s second goal with ten minutes to go.

Brook Street had their backs to the wall for those final ten minutes, however they held firm to record the win and completed their pre-season build up unbeaten.

“I was pleased with the workout my players received today. They had to scrap for everything”, said Eike when he spoke afterwards.

“We did manage to score three good goals, but we were slack with our defending and paid the price for that twice”, he continued. “If we do that in a competitive match we’ll be punished, so we’ve got to work on that to eliminate the silly mistakes”.

“That said”, he added, “we’ve had three good wins in our close-season programme, so I think we’re probably in good enough shape for the forthcoming league campaign”.

However, he concluded by saying, “We’re not aiming to win the league this season. That is not part of the plan, as I think we need at least two or three seasons, maybe even four, to get everything in place”.

“I’m not saying it will necessarily take that long, but everyone is going to have to be patient”.

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