New season brings winning ways for SV
By Mark Whitmill
#one win from one
With the morning sun shining brightly on the Prep School pitch, Sutton Valence were looking to make a winning start to the season against Tunbridge Wells, who proved tough competition last year in both home and away fixtures. SV had a broadly similar team to the 2017/18 season, with a few new faces joining the team for this upcoming season, including Sebastian O’Leary making his Adult league debut.
The game started with SV taking the early initiative and controlled possession for the first 10 minutes, moving the ball well and passing the ball around the Tunbridge Wells team. SV created a number of chances and they finally broke through when Rob Bray (returning from long term injury) dribbled the ball to the opposition base line and reverse hit a ball to Chris Sheldon, who slotted the ball away for the first goal.
Tunbridge well came back almost immediately and put the SV defence under pressure. The pressure eventually delivered an equaliser after Rob Sharp (SV’s goal keeper…. another player coming back from long term injury) made an initial save and Tunbridge Wells were first to react to the loose ball and scored in an empty net. The half continued with SV dominating most of the play, but they were unable to put anything else on the board in the rest of the half.
The half time team talk revolved around more of the same, but applying more pressure in the final 3rd of the pitch. SV we’re also looking to use the youth, skill and pace of Seb O’Leary and Alex Hodges to stretch Tunbridge Wells further.
The second half started in the same way as the first, with SV dominating possession and Chris Sheldon soon scored his second goal of the day when he deflected an incoming shot past the Tunbridge goal keeper. With a 2 goal lead Tunbridge had to chase the game, which left a lot of space for most of the half. SV won numerous short corners, but were struggling to re-enact the training field routines. Up stepped Freddie Hulbert for the next short corner, who was looking to recreate that little bit of magic from last season’s drag flick….. Freddie took his position at the top of the D with eager eyes for the pass out, which unfortunately went to the right of him and the drag flick turned into a push along the ground! It wasn’t long before Freddie got another chance and this time he didn’t disappoint… well he scored, but not in the planned manor!
With time running, out Tunbridge Well didn’t appear to have an answer for the dominant Sutton Valence side and they conceded their 4th goal in the final 5 minutes, with Ben Tragett taking the ball into the top of the D unchallenged, which he slotted away in the bottom left corner.
With the game already won, SV switched off in the dying seconds and Tunbridge scored a consolation goal. The game ended 4-2 to Sutton Valence, who fully deserved to win and they now look to take their impressive form into next week’s local derby again Marden.