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  • Writer's pictureNorth Camp

Schofield steals the show as North Camp start with a bang

Striker Steven Schofield scored a first-half brace as a new-look North Camp side started their preseason campaign in fine style at the Polo Fields in Aldershot on Sunday. Further second-half goals from Joe Schoenwerth, Josh King and Alex Barnett completed a comprehensive rout that was only slightly dampened by a debatable late penalty for the visiting FC Barossa.

Under the no-nonsense guidance of new manager Dan Knight, North Camp fielded an impressive seven debutants, none of whom looked out of place lining up alongside the 12 returning Queens Road veterans.

In perfect footballing conditions, the game started fairly evenly, as both sides looked to get the ball down and pass it around. Chances were at a premium in the early stages, as long throws and corners provided the main source of ammunition. North Camp, marshalled by new defensive man-mountain Schoenwerth, kept things tight at the back, while box-to-box midfielder Luke Gurney flashed a well-struck volley just wide of the post.

We didn't catch Gurney's well-struck volley, but we did capture this one of him sending a shot into orbit.

It wasn’t until the 25th minute that North Camp took the lead as the enigmatic Momodou Ceesay, just on as a substitute, went on a marauding run and found Schofield on the right edge of the box. A calm, composed finish into the bottom left corner followed and that was 1-0.

Shortly before half time the 28-year-old from Chorley went further towards ensuring it was North Camp rather than the listener who came first, as he rounded the keeper to bag his second of the game, following a strong run and pass from Cody Harrison down the left flank.

Half time provided the opportunity for Knight to flex his managerial muscles and make a variety of changes. But if Barossa were hoping that all the substitutions would lead to a drop off in performance, they were sadly mistaken as the home side continued to move through the gears. Dominance in the middle of the park in addition to promising combinations down the left side in particular meant the visiting team struggled to get any meaningful foothold in the game.

And if there were any lingering doubts at 2-0, they were quickly put to bed in the space of three minutes around the hour mark as Barossa capitulated. Schofield was again put clean through on goal, this time by the impressive Barnett, before he was cynically brought down just outside the D.

Reportedly 15 members of North Camp were then heard shouting ‘GEDDIMOFFTHEFIELD.’ Given that this was just a friendly, perhaps a yella caahd would have been understandable, but young referee Zak Angell proved he wasn’t a botless get like Cambel, and did indeed geddim walkin’. Schoenwerth added insult to injury as he placed the resulting free kick past the rather half-hearted wall and into the corner.

Three became four shortly after as another ball found its way into Schofield’s feet on the edge of the box. A couple of ricochets led to midfield powerhouse King finding the ball in space, and the Scotsman with the league’s best calves wasted no time in slotting into the corner.

Further chances came and went, with Barnett curling one on to the angle of post and bar, and Gurney striking one memorable volley over the bar, hedge, road, petrol station and county boundary.

After Barossa reduced their arrears from the penalty spot, there was still time for Barnett to get the goal his second-half performance deserved. Having already had one disallowed for handball when it appeared he ‘controlled’ it with his face, he popped up again on the left side of the box and caressed the ball beautifully into the far top corner. It was the second goal of the game assisted by Ceesay who was at his majestic best in the middle of the park, giving Knight real selection headaches for future weeks.

It was the ideal start for North Camp against an opposition that featured some good young players and are likely to be one of the stronger teams in division six.

After the game, and after leaving his free rental accommodation inside the head of Barossa’s left back and number 16, manager Knight said the following; 

We were quality today after an uncertain first 20, we have a fantastic squad which showed today and I’m excited for the season, but let’s not get complacent. There is still a lot of work to put in to compete at the top this season and be where we all want to be. The hard work continues Thursday and then next Sunday we go again. Looking forward to being back on the touchline managing this great bunch of lads.

Next week will provide a good insight into what North Camp can expect once the league games start, as they face fellow division-four side, and newcomers to the league, AFC Raiders at 3.30pm.

This weeks Webbers Plumbing, Heating and Home Improvements Man of the Match was Steve Schofield.

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