Vets beat Wallington on astro
By Paul Linaker
Late winner seals game
Back in November, when Wallington played at Sutton Valence, the result was an embarrassing loss for Valence 2 : 8, made more so by the fact that Wallington had ‘borrowed’ Charlie Worsfold, as they were short, and he provided two of their goals!
For this game the situation was rather different, with Wallington ‘at home’ though playing on the astro at Selsdon Park for the first time, rather than their home grass, but with a full 11, including at least a couple of useful ‘guests’ from elsewhere and Valence Vets with more or less their stronger recent team.
Wallington started the more purposefully, and should have scored within the first five minutes, breaking through the Valence defence, only to shoot wide. This let-off wakened Valence up, and they started to mount attacks of their own out of good work from the mid-field, though accuracy of passing was at times lacking. On one occasion the Wallington Umpire received a perfect pass from a Valence player, who saw his red jacket and mistook it for a red shirt! In general, the two sides matched each other pretty well in terms of both attack and defence such that the half ended with no score on the board from either side.
Valence’s half-time review reckoned that shorter more accurate passing could create a positive benefit and keep Wallington moving to cover, and eventually the break would come. Wallington were clearly having similar discussions, because the activity levels in the second half went up a gear, having both positive and negative effects. The positive was that both keepers came under more pressure, with Valence’s Dave Britton being called on to make some excellent saves, whilst good work up Valence’s right wing between Clive Baxter and Roger Fermor produced some super crosses that had Wallington keeper on his toes – even Linaker had a couple of nears, one hitting the post. The negative was that there were one or two instances of ‘over-excitement’ from players, perhaps not helped on by some rather over-zealous umpiring from the Wallington volunteer, applying a senior League approach to a ‘friendly Vets’ game.
Eventually the ‘log-jam’ was broken when from combined effort from Nigel Bardsley, Julian Mills and Rupert Humphrey saw John Dinnis through into the dee to score with a rocket of a shot at about head height. This produced a period of intense attacking from Wallington most of which Sagrott, McVarish, Dow and particularly keeper Britton, somehow managed to keep out, until one particularly clean shot went through Britton’s legs to equalise the score.
The last quarter was now even more frenetic, apart from the pause when Nigel Bardsley held the ball inviting action from the opposition whilst running down the clock for a colleague off with a green card. Valence had won several short-corners in the second half and another came there way at this late stage. From Linaker’s hit out, Nigel Bardsley pushed sideways to John Dinnis who drag-flicked it into the roof of the net. 2 : 1 to Valence.
The final minutes saw more challenging play from both sides, but Valence held out to win.
The day ended in fine style with one of Wallington’s legendary chicken curries back at their base.
Man of the Match: Dave Britton (keeper)
Goals: John Dinnis (2)
Team: Dave Britton, Bob Sagrott, John Dinnis, Andy McVarish, Hamish Dow, Nigel Bardsley, Julian Mills, Roger Fermor, Clive Baxter, Paul Linaker, Charles Worsfold, Rupert Humphrey,
Umpire: Paul Linaker / Wallington Volunteer
Report by Paul Linaker
Next week the Vets play at home against Tonbridge Black Knights at 11.15 on the Prep School astro.