TRIALIST Anthony Moura-Komenan caught the eye with a busy display as a distinctly young Town reserve side were beaten 1-0 by Middlesbrough.
The Ivorian winger saw plenty of the ball, and looked hungry to impress in the totesport.com League East Division clash, earning a warm ovation from the 171 Emley crowd when he came off with five minutes to go.
Wakefield FC goalkeeper Dale Crossland, beaten by Gary Martin’s close-range finish in only the fourth minute, warmed to his task and also produced a solid show.
Second-best in the opening stages, Town finally feet and came to life towards the end of the first half before having the better of the second.
It took a fine Leigh Franks block tackle to thwart Oni Roushias in the 18th minute, and Crossland saved well from the Cypriot striker’s low shot after 35.
Shaun Saiko became the first of two Boro players booked for fouls on Moura-Komenan in the 37th minute (fellow midfielder Matthew Dolan followed in the 76th) as Town came into the game.
The best home chances came after the break, when coach Paul Stephenson introduced Shane Birtles to play alongside Michael McCaffery, and the substitute headed just wide from Jack Hunt’s 64th-minute cross.
Hunt then came close with a 69th-minute drive while Birtles’ angled shot a minute later was well saved by Connor Ripley.
Franks headed a late corner by Lewis Nightingale temptingly across the area, but substitute Josh McLean’s effort hit a defender.
Town: Crossland, Hunt, Ridehalgh, Harris, Franks, Bower, Powell, Colton (Birtles, HT), McCaffery, Nightingale (Atkinson, 90), Moura-Komenan (McLean, 85).Sub not used: Pearson.
LEE CLARK is running the rule over winger Anthony Moura-Komenan thanks to a tip-off from his old Newcastle United teammate Antoine Sibierski.
The 23-year-old Ivorian, who represented his country at last year’s Beijing Olympics, is a free agent after leaving French club AC Ajaccio. He previously played for FC Libourne Saint Seurin, having come through the junior system at top French club Bordeaux.
Former midfielder Sibierski is from Lille, and having played for his home-city club, Auxerre, Nantes and Lens, has extensive contacts in France.
“The trial gives me an opportunity to have a look at a player recommended by someone I respect,” said Clark.
Town’s second trialist, 6ft 5in teenage Wakefield FC goalkeeper Dale Crossland, has been mentored by Ronnie Glavin, manager of the UniBond League side.