By Steve Hibberd
A talented bunch of under 19 footballers from Kelme CF visited Moi Gomez Stadium last Friday evening, for the 2nd in a series of pre-season Thader Rojales friendlies. Sponsored by sportswear firm Kelme, this youth club is a nursery for La Liga side Villarreal, and has high hopes of gaining promotion to the national youth league next season. Thader meanwhile, are still very much a side in transition, having lost their manager and the bulk of last season’s squad.
Jon Ortega has wasted no time in replacing old for new, the young manager keen to build a strong squad capable of mounting a Preferente division promotion challenge. Having only the previous week suffered a defeat at the hands of another under 19 side, national league Celtic Elche, Ortega elected to field a strong opening eleven.
With their first attack of the match on 10 mins, Kelme seized upon a terrible defensive mix up to open the scoring. Parity was restored mid-way through the 1st half, courtesy of a ferocious 20 yard free kick by makeshift striker Lloyd. His precise strike rattled the far post, before ending up in the back of the net.
Playing in an unfamiliar position, Lloyd was again in the thick of the action on 35 mins, heading home an in swinging corner at the far post. Thader were totally dominating proceedings, and thought they had made it 3-1 shortly afterward, but alas the effort was ruled out for offside. With half time beckoning, Lloyd headed agonizingly over the bar, before Dani rattled the said object with a stunning strike.
Highlights of the 2nd half included Lloyd being denied his hat trick by that blasted bar, Dani forcing a fine save by the visitor’s keeper, plus Kelme´s one and only noteworthy effort being well saved. All in all, it was not only an entertaining friendly, but one where both sides treated it as a competitive fixture.
This was borne out by the number of crunching tackles, sometimes a bit OTT, forcing the match ref to request that certain players be substituted or he would take further action. Once again admission was free, and another goodly crowd enjoyed the night’s entertainment.
Next up at Moi Gomez Stadium is another friendly on Fri 9 Aug, ko 8pm, against tercera side Alcoyano. Only 24 hrs later, Thader make the short trip to San Fulgencio for their first work out away from home.
Hot from the press are next seasons Preferente div fixtures. First up for Thader is a trip to University Alicante, on probably Sat 31 Aug, with a late afternoon ko. The last fixture before Xmas break is an away trip to Benferri on 22 Dec, then on 12 Jan, Uni Alicante become the first team to visit Moi Gomez in 2020. Finally, Benferri are the visitors for the ultimate season’s fixture on 17 May.