2nd Xl keep up the improved form
By Paul Linaker
A RARE OCCURANCE
Having finally returned to winning ways last week, Valence were keen to build momentum. Gravesend definitely had the more organised and cohesive warm up in the blustery late morning. It was Valence, however, that dominated the early exchanges.
The visitors took control and passed the ball well up the pitch. Strong running with and without the ball saw a good pass to Pete Rogers, who fired the ball into the goal to open the scoring. 0-1. The visitors taking the lead was a wake-up call for the home side. Their skilful midfield began to take control and supplied the forward line with multiple opportunities. Luckily the SV backline were in inspired form, only surpassed by Finlay Wishart who was in imperious form between the sticks. The multiple G&W attacks were absorbed as Valence maintained the clean sheet to half time.
Captain Sheldon gave a calming half-time speech and rallied the troops to produce more of the same. As the teams lined up for the second half, it was the home team that opted for the major change in strategy. Three up front, they were going to try and play on the front foot and take the game to the visitors. Luckily Valence’s engine room of Rogers, Hodges and Walker had a different idea. In the early exchanges a well worked passing move found Walker on the right of the D. He rifled the ball inside the left post, past the rooted keeper. 0-2 Valence.
G&W continued to create opportunities, the Valence defensive line was up to the challenge, but it did mean
that Willmott had a lot of practice at taking defensive 16 hits. I am not saying that he thought he was on the driving range, but he could be heard shouting ‘fore’ with every windmill shot that he pumped up the pitch. These strikes were generally impressive in power, occasionally lucky in accuracy and if nothing else, if the ball found its way to a G&W player, it was generally a long way from the Valence goal. However, it was one
of these mindless bludgeons that led to SV’s third goal. Humped up the pitch to Sheldon, neat inter-play with Stille and Sheldon found the goal. 0-3 Valence.
In the latter stages G&W knew they were beaten, but they weren’t giving up. The Valence defence continued to absorb attacks, surviving a number of short corners along the way. Valence went down to 10 men for a short period as Walker picked up one of the most unlucky green cards ever received. Clearly fouled, Walker (with his back to the umpire) took the free hit quickly and set off, once again running into the midfield. The umpire whistled, sin binned Walker and gave G&W a free hit.
Valence continued to be dangerous on the break and under increasing pressure the G&W defence gave away a number of short corners. For the final penalty corner the unthinkable happened, as the ball came out to Sheldon, Turnill ran into the keeper’s line of sight, the ball slipped to Rogers, who struck straight a Turnill’s stick. Turnill knew very little about it. The keeper knew less, but the backboard thud was unmistakeable. The first time that Turnill R has ‘scored’ in a very long time! 0-4 Valence.
A hard fought and well-deserved victory for Valence.
MOM: Pete Rogers
Combative Award: Richard Turnill, Chris Stille
Scorers: Pete Rogers, Johnny Walker, Chris Sheldon, Richard Turnill
Cards: Johnny Walker
Team: James Willmott, Alex Hodges, Ben Tragett, Johnny Walker, Richard Turnill, Chris Sheldon, Pete Rogers, Fred, Chris Stille, Finlay Wishart, Marius Deyer, Alex Sandberg,
Umpire – Iain Simmons
Match Report by Richard Turnill
Next Game: Home - 09:45 am - 23rd March 2019 – Versus Gore Court 4s