George 62


Dovell 55, Lane 85

BALTI Sports player-manager Marco Nott said his side’s new formation passed with “flying colours” in their 2-1 League Cup win at Merley Cobham Sports.

After a goalless first half, Balti were awarded a penalty on 50 minutes but Ricky Lane was denied by home goalkeeper Aaron Drayton’s excellent save.

But Balti broke the deadlock five minutes later when Ryan Dovell’s fierce free-kick found the top corner.

Merley were level on 62 minutes when substitute Ellis George swivelled and fired home from captain Lee Wilkins’ knock-down.

Extra-time looked to be imminent until Lane’s intervention five minutes from time, the striker racing through on goal from Dovell’s pass and sliding a finish beyond Drayton to give the away side victory.

Speaking to Echosport after the game Nott, who played in goal, described the result as a “big win”.

He said: “It was a big win. We’re quite keen to have a bit of a cup run this year. It was one of the toughest tests we could have asked for.

“The conditions were awful and we played our new formation and a few lads had new positions to play in. We came out with flying colours.”

Talking through the goals, Nott said his side was able to “play a little bit” in the second half.

He said: “It was a case of doing the horrible stuff really well in the first half. The second half we were able to play a little bit.

“Ryan stepped up and took a free-kick that absolutely rocketed in the top corner, but they slotted one home to equalise.

“Ricky then raced through past the defence, barged the defender off and got the winner with five minutes to go. He’s pretty cool in front of goal, apart from that penalty!”

And Nott was pleased with the success of a new 3-5-2 formation, after changing from a leaky 4-4-2.

He said: “When the game’s been dead we just thought we’d give it a go as a plan B. The key to that is to have the right personnel playing it and we had the balance right.

“I’ve looked at how many goals we were conceding and we had to do something about it. We played a 4-4-2 and it was leaving us a little bit exposed – the defenders weren’t being protected very well.”

Nott also praised the impact of Dovell and his man-of-the-match Carl McClements, who played in a central defensive midfield role.

“Ryan scored a goal and set up one and showed his class. Carl was back and he was outstanding in a holding midfield role,” he said.

Balti: M Nott, Proffitt, Anderson, Pearce, Taylor, McClements, Dovell (Roberts 80), Nichols, Kenderdine (Lock 75), Andrews (Preece 60), Lane