Friendly but competitive derby match
By Andrew Wishart
Warm day for a good friendly game.
Sutton Valence 3rd team entered their final pre-season friendly against Maidstone 5’s on a bright morning. Passing was much more assured than the previous week’s friendly and good work down both flanks particular Alex Hodges and Alex Sandberg on the right supported by the midfield providing a good option to switch the play. Valence were able to build some early pressure but could not convert this into a solid lead, or even a lead. Several of these chances fell to last season’s top scorer Rob Cockayne, who you would normally back to have scored most of the chances he saw, however on this occasion, through a combination of his own feet, good saves from the Maidstone keeper and blazing a shot from four yards out so far over the bar that we are still waiting for it to come down, inexplicably failed to score even one. His defence, “it bobbled.”
The match went into half time goalless which was a bit disappointing for Valence, but positives were taken from the passing and how well they were cutting off Maidstone’s defensive hit outs through good marking. Valence rightly felt that they had the upper hand and that continued pressure would eventually result in a breakthrough in the score-line.
When the game restarted, Maidstone continued to pose a threat on the counter attack with quick movement through the midfield and good passing across the pitch, opening up gaps in Valence’s midfield and threatening the Valence defence although never creating any real clear-cut chances.
Eventually the deadlock was broken when a well-worked short corner found Chris Jackson free at the far post to slot the ball over the line from close range. From this point on fitness, or lack thereof, took its toll and the game ground it’s way to full-time.
A special mention should go to the Maidstone keeper who made several excellent saves throughout the match and undoubtedly kept his side in the match as a result. Valence should take heart from the assuredness they found in their passes and the chances created going forward.
Match Report by James Abrahams