Valence 1st Xl stay 3 points clear with game in hand
By Paul Linaker
Close result in fractious match
Top of the table Sutton Valence 1st XI headed to the coast for the first of two clashes at Folkestone inside a month. This time, Folkestone 3’s. Seeking an upset, Folkestone named a changed side with a few unfamiliar faces. The match was hard fought but not pretty – a rather fractious and disagreeable affair.
Valence had the best of the play and possession in the first half but, much as the week before, failed to convert their chances. Folkestone’s contested hard in the midfield but rarely applied pressure on the Valence goal through open play. The main threat came through short corners, which Valence were overly generous in conceding.
Valence had made life hard for themselves by pushing a lot of play through the centre of the park allowing Folkestone to defend in numbers. Recognising the space that wider options created, Valence started the second half brighter and pressed the Folkestone goal with more sustained success. Although there were still several missed opportunities, Valence finally broke the deadlock with their 4th short corner of the half. The Folkestone keeper had been equal to Stanford’s previous aerial efforts, but a low drag in to the bottom left hand corner proved decisive.
Sutton Valence could, and probably should, have avoided an increasingly tense second half by taking further clear-cut chances. Take a bow Jack Davey, who took a swing and a miss at the open Folkestone goal - What a difference a week makes? As long as the score line remained close Folkestone felt they were in the game and with a few poor decisions, already heated proceedings started to boil over.
The latter stages were tight. Valence suffered injuries to Robinson and Keeper Young which caused them to adopt a more cautious formation - allowing Folkestone more possession. Valence also piled further pressure on themselves with Boyle and Angel doing time in the sinbin as tempers broke.
Folkestone became increasingly desperate to find the equalizer, but Valence regathered their composure to successfully run down the clock and secure another 3 points.
Team: Stewart Young, Russell Blanchard, James Stanford, Chris Back, Marcus Bawden, Jack Davies, Freddie McVarish, Ryan Robinson, Alex Stamp, Brett Angel, James Padwick
Umpires: Both provided by FOHC
Scorer: James Stanford
MoM: Stewart Young
DoD: Jack Davies
Match Tea: Macaroni (without) cheese
Match Report by Brett Angel.
Next week the 1st Xl play away at New Beccs in a top of the table clash!