2nd Xl have Fun in the Sun....
And find they have a keeper (but no kit!)
Kent Open Premier A
New Beccehamian 2nd Xl 1 : 4 Sutton Valence 2nd Xl
Fun In The Sun
Valence arrived at the infamous HSBC ground full of the joys of Spring. The changing room chat of ‘that time (nearly 20 years ago (!)) Gobbo threw his stick out of the pitch at this ground’ quickly evaporated when the sharper members of the squad realised that we had a keeper, check, but no keeper kit, fail. Luckily a kit was sourced from the resident girls’ team and we were back on track. Out to the pitch and time for a warm up. Neither extensive nor intense, we were ready for action!
The match got underway in brilliant sunshine, a phenomenon that hadn’t occurred for some time, in fact, recently Sutton Valence have been more used to games being frozen-off. It is something that maybe we should prepare to see more of, given the number of postponed games that will need to be played in the later Spring/Summer.
Valence were ready for a tough game. New Beccs have previously beaten some of the League’s top teams at home. However, it was Valence who dominated the early exchanges. The untested Walker and Devlin combination up-front were working well together. The latter even forgetting his years (and ability) tried a first-time reverse stick strike from the top of the D. He connected sweetly with the defender’s forearm. The less said about that the better.
Undeterred, Valence pressed home their advantage with regular forays forward into the New Beccs’ D. Multiple opportunities were created, but the New Beccs’ Keeper was as bright as the morning and managed to keep Valence at bay for the first quarter of the game. Many short corners were created and eventually Johnny Walker opened the scoring in a goal line scramble. 1 Nil.
The Valence defence was tested on a number of occasions but didn’t come under significant or sustained pressure in the first half. Towards the end of the first half ‘Flightly’ Wilcher glided through the Home defence like a recently sharpened and warmed knife through soft butter, collecting the mediocre through ball (supplied by Andrew ‘Sonic’ Lee) and rifled in off the underside of the bar, leaving the otherwise very strong keeper rooted to the spot.
Before half time, Rob Ife checked in for his usual time out on the bench courtesy of a gobby green card…
Half time message – keep passing, short passes, not ‘worldies’. Stay calm.
In the early exchanges the New Beccs’ No. 42 burst into the SV defensive quarter and was halted in his progress, innocently, yet firmly by one Rob Ife. Was it a clash of heads? Certainly, Ife was rolling round on the astro like he needed and HIA. When it became clear he was not going to get booked he got up quickly and seemed alright…
New Beccs were beginning to seize the initiative, on another attack stand-in keeper Lee Croucher rolling back the years, spread himself to tip the ball away from the attacker and prevent what would have been an otherwise certain goal.
That was the wake-up call that Valence needed. They collectively found some rhythm and started passing the ball and working off the ball, pressing forward and Chris Stille stepped up to put the game beyond New Beccs. 3 Nil. In the words of Johnny Walker ‘The was beautifully sh!t’
With renewed confidence, Valence maintained pressure and created opportunities. The fence behind the goal and side boards were peppered by a selection of Valence attackers. Sonic, Willson and Delvin all fired hopelessly wide, but it was Sonic who would be the guiltiest of spurning a gilt-edged opportunity.
It was down to the boy from Preston to make the result certain. Finally latching on a decent ball and firing home. 4 Nil.
Of course, no SV performance is complete without a minor melt down. Basking in the Spring morning the defence did allow the New Beccs’ striker to grab a consolation. 1-4. However this was probably a reasonable compensation package given that shortly before No.42’s testimony to the Umpire saved Rob Ife another trip to the Sin Bin..
MOM: Lee Croucher (Come on Dutchie – The club could do with you sticking around..)
Combative Award: Rob Ife (At least no stick throwing this time)
Scorers: Walker 2, Wilcher, Stille
Green Cards Ife
Former Captain Fantastic Sonic gave the following statement after the game, ‘I didn’t chat up the umpire today, get a green card, or score, I hope I don’t get fined’.
Team: Lee Croucher, Rob Ife, Brett Angel, Richard Turnill, Tim Wilcher, Tom Willson, Johnny Walker, Andrew Lee, Chris Back, Russell Blanchard, Chris Stille, Andy Delvin.
Umpire – Bob Bartlett
Next week Sutton Valence 2nd Xl continue their Kent Open Premier A League season with four games in hand, lying 6th with a home game against University of Kent 2nd Xl currently in 12th position.