Cranbrook made short work of their first game back after Lockdown III had brought the Joma Devon & Exeter League to a grinding halt earlier this year.
Cranbrook boss Jon Martin saw his side win 5-1 on their visit to Acland Park to meet Feniton Reserves in a Division Two East contest.
His initial view, post match, was: “It was a game that produced plenty of good football from both sides and that was particularly pleasing given the amount of time that both sets of players have been ‘out of football action’.
“Feniton played their part as they’re a good young side with some very promising youngsters who will undoubtedly go on to play first team football at Acland Park.”
The Cranbrook boss had gone into the game with no small amount of trepidation and concern, something he explained, saying: “I was a bit worried as, with it being the first game back, I knew we wouldn’t be up to speed in terms of individual fitness, so there was always the chance that their young lads would have the legs on us. Adding to my angst was that I had four regular players missing and, with the new, adjusted, table having us sat bottom, it was very much a case of wondering just what we might serve up as a team.”
Those pre-match worries were soon dispelled though as Cranbrook made a confident start and they took the lead as early as the fifth minute when left winger Joe Byrne fired them ahead following an error from one of the home defenders.
Buoyed by the early goal, Cranbrook stayed on the front foot and the lively Jordan Wilkinson struck twice in quick succession to make it 3-0. Wilkinson’s first was a cool finish after he raced clear to face the home glovesman in a one-on-one, and his second was an exquisite lobbed effort from the edge of the box!
Feniton, clearly stung by the early goals, showed real composure – and maturity – given their youthfulness, and began to play their way into the contest. They crafted a number of goal scoring opportunities and constantly carried a threat on the break, but there were no further goals and half-time arrived with the three early goals separating the teams.
Feniton controlled the early stages of the second half and their endeavours were rewarded with a smart finish.
The goal had the desired effect on Jon Martin’s side for they rediscovered their early game craft and, with 20 minutes remaining, Dann Cheadle, marked his first game in a Cranbrook shirt, with a goal to make it 4-1.
Fittingly, it was the impressive Wilkinson who rounded off the scoring to end the game with a hat-trick.
On Saturday (April 10), Cranbrook are in home action when they take on Exeter United at the Cranbrook Education Campus (3pm).
Sadly, as per current pandemic guidelines, the game has to be played behind closed doors.