Vets triumph in keenly contested game
By Paul Linaker
Very even contest where opportunities had to be taken
Contrary to their earlier advice, Purley arrived with enough outfield players, but were still short of a keeper. Valence had agreed to provide them with a keeper, with Andrew Wishart bravely filling the role.
From the start, it was clear that the game was going to be very competitive, but early confusion in the defence led to Valence going a goal down after only four minutes. This shock clearly motivated Valence and a storming run by Bob Bartlett put them back level only a few minutes later. The game then settled down with both sides putting together some skilful sequences of play. The Valence duo of Nigel Bardsley and Bob Bartlett started to control the midfield, leading to several incursions into the Purley dee. This pressure eventually told and, after winning a short corner, Rupert Humphrey scored with a strong strike to put Valence 2-1 up. However, the Purley forwards had always looked dangerous, and in a fast counter attack, a skilful solo effort led to the levelling of the score at 2-2. At the other end, Valence continued to pressure the Purley defence, winning further short corners. At one, the first shot at goal was missed and the ball went out to Bob Bartlett on the 23, who dribbled past several players into the dee and beat the keeper with a rocket of a shot. So half-time left Valence at 3-2 up.
Early in the second half, another penetrating attack from Purley’s front three put them back in the game at 3-3. Not to be outdone, Sutton Valence retaliated with a period of sustained pressure, which forced a further short corner. A Rupert Humphrey shot was deflected in by Andy McVarish at the left post, to put Valence ahead again. Would the pattern of play, alternating goals by each side, continue with still 20 minutes to go? The Valence defence tightened their marking. Their midfield dynamo, Bob Bartlett, continued to open up opportunities and it was Valence who were next to find the net with a fine shot from Rupert Humphrey to put them 5-3 ahead. This was a tough blow for the Purley team and their heads appeared to drop. For the rest of the game, despite both teams suffering some tense moments, the score remained unchanged and when the final whistle was blown, Sutton Valence had deservedly won a great contest 5-3.
This was probably the best game of the Vets season to date with everyone making useful contributions, but
the star player was without doubt Bob Bartlett.
MOM: Bob Bartlett
Goal scorers: Bob Bartlett (2), Rupert Humphrey (2), Andy McVarish
Team: Dave Britton, Andy McVarish, Hamish Dow, Bob Sagrott, Julian Mills, Paul Linaker, Bob Sagrott, Charles Worsfold, Nigel Bardsley, Bob Bartlett, John Dinnis, Rupert Humphrey.
Umpire: Nick Willson.
Next week the Vets are due to play away against Teddington Tigers at Teddington School 13.00.
Match Report by Nick Willson.