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  • Harvey Steel

Dearman's stunning freekick ensures The U's get off to a winning start in Merit League 1

After falling behind inside the opening 3 minutes, an own goal and a stunning strike from Joe Dearman clinched all three points for the young U’s in their Merit League 1 opener.

After Qualifying for Merit League 1 thanks to a 4th place finish in the Merit League, The U's were faced with a trip to Yeovil Town as their opening fixture after last weekend postponement against Exeter City.

There were changes to the side who suffered defeat to AFC Wimbledon in the Cup final in the U's last game. These saw Jonah Gill replace Louis Chadwick in goal, Jordan Chipps come in at centre back for the injured Josh Gray and Saleem Akambi take the place of Diego Miller wide on the left.

It was the home side who got off to a flying start catching the U’s sleeping, as one long ball over the top of the U’s defence was pounced on by Yeovil’s striker, who calmly took the ball around Gill and tapped into the empty net to make it 1-0 inside 3 minutes.

However, just two minutes later the U’s found themselves level after a freak own goal. A freekick deep inside the U’s half, taken by Gill, was launched deep into Yeovil territory where it was met by a back peddling Yeovil defender, who lob the ball over his own keeper to draw the U’s back level.

As the game grew, chances came at a premium but it was Yeovil who came the closest to going in front but Gill pulled off a fine save to keep the game level. In the 40th minute the U’s were awarded a freekick 25 yards out, right of centre from the Yeovil goal. Up stepped Dearman, who with the help of Cowling, changed the angle and curled the ball beautifully into the top left hand corner to put the U’s ahead.

After the break the U’s came close to extending their lead as D’Arcy and Dearman’s slick combination play cut open Yeovil's left hand side however D’Arcy couldn’t redirect Dearman’s cut back on target and the chance passed. Both sides continued to struggle at creating chances as the 2nd half grew on. However, there was a positive for the U’s as U15 talent Kai Yearn made his U18’s debut just after the hour mark.

The final chance of the game fell to the home side as their striker was allowed to turn and get his shot away inside the U’s penalty area, however once more Gill was equal to it, this time saving with his legs low to his right to preserve the U’s lead. As the home side pushed late on the U’s defended in their numbers in order to make sure they left Huish Park with all three points and get off to a winning start in their new league campaign.

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