Valence Vets helped by youth
Purley finish ahead
The prospects for this game were not good earlier in the week with Valence only able to find 8 players and no keeper. They looked even worse when Saturday dawned with a covering of snow and a wet forecast for the afternoon. However, Purley were confident that their pitch would be perfectly playable and so the Valence players set off through a white Kent landscape. On arriving at Purley, they found an absence of snow and a grass pitch that looked in good condition, but a further problem emerged. One Valence player had failed to make the journey and he had the keeper’s kit.
Fortunately, Purley came to the rescue and managed to provide not only the necessary four players to make up the Valence team but also found a spare keeper’s kit for stand-in keeper Bob Sagrott.
When the game started, it became clear that Valence had been lent some very useful players, two of whom were young and very quick. However, the Valence players initially had the usual trouble controlling and striking the ball on the grass surface and in the tenth minute Purley took advantage of this to open the scoring. This was quickly followed by an unstoppable second goal when a Purley forward deflected a hard hit into the dee high into the net. The Valence defence settled down after this and their attack led by the two skilful youngsters always looked dangerous. Good goalkeeping kept them at bay until the pressure eventually told and Valence pulled a goal back. Half time arrived with the score at 2-1.
The second half followed the pattern of the first with Purley getting in early with their third goal, but it was a measure of how well balanced the game was that one or two of their players were starting to get a little over-excited at times. The Valence defence, aided by some good saves from keeper Bob Sagrott, kept the Purley attacks at bay. Their forwards, led by the skilful imported players, were still mounting attacks and in one of these, the ball was slipped across from the left to the centre of the dee where Stuart Bates efficiently placed it in the back of the net to make it 3-2. Despite continuing efforts by both teams, this is how the score remained at the final whistle.
Although there had been earlier doubts about the match being played, it proved to be an enjoyable and well-matched contest played on a good grass pitch. Sutton Valence’s thanks must go to Purley for providing the players and kit that enabled it to proceed.
Man of the Match: Bob Sagrott
Team: Bob Sagrott (keeper), Mike Nettle, Hamish Dow (Capt), Paul Linaker, Julian Mills. Stuart Bates, Charles Worsfold, plus 4 players lent by Purley
Umpire: Nick Willson