Sutton Valence 3’s opened their League campaign following promotion against Herne Bay 5’s. Having faced Herne Bay in previous seasons, they knew we would be facing a tough and well organised opposition and would need to reproduce the assured passing that developed in last week’s friendly with Maidstone.
Valence started the game brightly with assured passing and good control of the possession. Despite this strong start they struggled to create many chances. Eventually the continued pressure lead to the breakthrough and the deadlock was broken when Ben Browning found some space in the D and was able to guide the ball past the Herne Bay keeper.
Valence went into half time knowing that they needed to capitalise on their strong performance and create more clear-cut chances. It was noted that for all their pressure they hadn’t won a single short corner and that they needed to ensure they came away with something when in the opposition D.
Valence continued with good pressure at the start of the second half and before long a slick passing move down the right hand side between Reuben Collingwood and Ben Browning tore the Herne Bay defence to shreds and the ball came across the D to Rob Cockayne with an empty net. For those that played in the Maidstone game this was a heart in the mouth moment, however Cockayne banished his demons from the previous week and coolly slotted the ball into the goal. 2-0 Valence.
From this high point Valence became the architects of their own demise. The assured passing faded into panic passes and long balls that for the most part were easily picked off by the Herne Bay defence. Herne Bay built on this to create a spell of pressure and managed to pull one back.
Buoyed by this Herne Bay continued to apply pressure leading to some desperate defending and opportunities to counterattack; however these attacks proved fruitless creating few chances. Fortunately, the Valence back line held firm and were able to hold on until the full-time whistle to start their higher League campaign off with a victory.
Scorers: Browning; Cockayne