2nd Xl - Battling to the end
Winning-out just in time
Kent Open Premier A
Sutton Valence 2nd Xl 4 : 2 Ashford 3rd Xl
A grey Saturday morning greeted the teams on arrival at the Prep School pitch. For once it seemed that Valence had the more disciplined and cohesive warm up.
The match got underway and Valence took their strong warm up into the game, taking the game to the youthful visitors and enjoying the better of the opening exchanges.
Back and Walker, reunited up front, were causing the Ashford defence problems, but found their keeper in inspired form and despite many open play and set piece opportunities, couldn’t find the back of the goal. Ashford took the lead with a break-away goal. A rocket from a tight angle squeezing past Stewie and rebounding out of the goal, almost as quickly as it went in. 0-1.
In the lead, Ashford made their game plan clear, they were going to try and unsettle Valence and try to flick the team’s meltdown switch, which generally doesn’t take too much effort. Late tackles, poor tackles and verbal prodding to try and get a reaction. They did get a bit of a result at times, as DT had a couple of outbursts and Rob Ife made his usual trip to the bench for two minutes.
Rising above it, Valence took a deep breath and pulled together. Pushing forward again Valence finally forced another short corner of which Chris Back was able to take advantage. 1-1.
The half time talk was one of Stewie’s finest. Pull together, play properly and get a result.
The second half’s early exchanges were even, but it was once again Ashford who took the lead. An unforced error in the SV defence led to a short corner, on the second strike the visitors’ forward rifled into the net. 1-2.
As the clock ticked on, it seemed that Valence weren’t going to have the rub of the green. With little going their way, it was down to them to get themselves in the game. Willson x 2 and Wilcher started to play properly and quickly set up Johnny Walker to fire home. 2-2.
With 10 minutes to go it felt like Valence had salvaged a point, and, given that they had been behind for most of the game, a draw would have been a good result. However, there was more to come. Turnill threaded a beautiful ball through to Walker, for him to set up Stille (or Steel if you are from Preston). 3-2 and into the lead for the first time in the game.
There was time for a final flourish, again with the ball on the right, Turnill linked with Simon Willson, who drove down the line and passed to Stille, who in turn found Devlin, directing the ball into the goal. 4-2.
Ultimately the game was a little scrappy, but sometimes you just have to win ugly.
MOM: DT (An imperious shift)
Combative Award: Chris Back (kept the teenagers in check)
Goals: Back, Walker, Stille (Steel), Delvo
Green Cards Ife
Former Captain Fantastic Sonic gave the following statement after the game, ‘I was good today, far better than Willson (Jnr), but still not as good as DT, he really was awesome’.
Team: Stewart Young, Rob Ife, Brett Angel, Richard Turnill, Tim Wilcher, Tom Willson, Johnny Walker, Andrew Lee, Chris Back, Russell Blanchard, Chris Stille, Andy Devlin, Steve Parker, Simon Willson.
Umpire – Bob Bartlett
Next week Sutton Valence 2nd Xl continue their Kent Open Premier A League season with five games in hand, lying 6th with an away game against Folkestone Optimist 4th Xl currently in 11th position.