Westerhope U23s 3

Hexham U23s 2

It was a disappointing start to the season for Hexham’s Under-23s as they fell by the odd goal in five to an experienced and physical Westerhope side in the Northeast Combination Saturday League.

Going to play last season’s cup winners was always going to be a tough start, but Hexham started the brighter, enjoying possession and forcing corners and set plays.

Indeed Hexham took the lead through Will Burns on the 14th minute. Burns ran onto a flick on and poked the ball past the oncoming keeper.

Jamie Connor had the chance to make it two with a header from a corner, but it fell the wrong side of the post.

Westerhope came into the game, and their physicality was a great match for the skill of Hexham. They were able to equalise, as a midfielder picked up the ball from distance and struck in off the bar, just before half time.

Changes made at half time saw the introduction of Matthew Nesti and it didn’t take long for him to open his account. Nesti prodded in at the back post after following in Jamie Connor’s drive.

Westerhope showed their experience as the game went on and were able to score two in the last ten minutes, which was difficult to take for the U23s who’d been in control for much of the game.

But there were lots of positives to take from the defeat, as the team, largely made up of 17-year-olds, more than matched an experienced adult side.

Will Burns was voted man of the match, with Matthew Lawrence not far behind in centre back.