Vets play some good hockey to win
By Paul Linaker
Charlie pots one in each half
With a number of key players, particularly from the defence, away for different reasons, and a bare 11 available, Valence were a little unsure how their collection of players would gel. Fortunately, Kenley were missing one of their key players and had some new faces too.
Valence started brightly, moving the ball around confidently, and finding space to get around the Kenley midfield to launch attacks into the Kenley dee. It was therefore a bit against the run of play when Kenley were allowed an easy first goal. This happened on one of their first successful moves into the Valence dee when a mis-hit ball bounced past keeper Britton's legs when his feet became locked together! But within two minutes the sides were even again as, following another of Valences fast attacking moves, spearheaded by Clive Baxter, Lyndon Davies and Rupert Humphrey ended with a slightly mis-hit shot by Humphrey being deflected in by Charlie Worsfold. 1 : 1.
Valence kept up the good defensive work by Stephen Wickham and Julian Mills feeding the halves, Bob Sagrott, Nigel Bardsley, Bob Bartlett and Clive Baxter who, in turn, applied their own pressure on Kenley and brought in the forwards. This led to two short corners for Valence of which Rupert Humphrey converted one. Just as Valence were beginning to feel they were getting on top, Kenley pulled one back to go into half-time at 2 : 2.
Valence felt at this stage that they could win the game if they just kept the same controlled approach in the second half, but Kenley had their own ideas too and the second half became a little more disjointed, and, at times physical, as Kenley sought to unbalance Valence! Despite this, Valence went ahead again as Clive Baxter got a ball through from the right, along the goal-line behind the Kenley defence, to find Charlie Worsfold waiting in his favourite position, by the left-hand post, to pop in his second. They had other opportunities to increase the lead with Davies, Humphrey and Baxter all going close, but not converting before Clive Baxter clipped one in to take the score to 4 : 2, seemingly out of Kenley’s reach.
At this point Valence perhaps were guilty of sitting back a bit, thinking the job done, whilst Kenley were keen to get back on terms. And they did, on one simple direct attack putting the ball beyond keeper Britton. 4 : 3.
The last 10 minutes looked like being a little more frantic as Kenley, sensing Valence’s unease, tried hard for the equaliser, but Valence, realising the need to calm things down, played out the remaining time sensibly, retaining possession.
Goals: Charles Worsfold (2); Rupert Humphrey; Clive Baxter
Man of the Match: Charles Worsfold
Team: Dave Britton, Stephen Wickham, Bob Sagrott, Julian Mills, Clive Baxter, Paul Linaker, Charles Worsfold, Nigel Bardsley, Bob Bartlett, Rupert Humphrey, Lyndon Davies,
Umpire: Rob Cockayne
Report by Paul Linaker
Next week the Vets are playing Wallington Vets away on astro, rather than their home grass pitch, at 14.00.