Sutton Valence’s first game of the season was away to Canterbury’s 5th XI, in which they started the first 10 minutes with only 10 men. Under pressure from the beginning, Canterbury moved the ball well, but SV’s defence held strong, absorbing wave after wave of Canterbury’s attacks. Holding strong with 10 men, their 11th turned up to reinforce the SV defence. The half continued in much the same vein with SV struggling to get the ball out their half. SV finally conceded a goal after a defensive error, but they held strong for the rest of the half.
At half time the team felt they were still very much in the match and if they could put some pressure on Canterbury they were sure they could equalise. The second half started in a much stronger way for SV, where they finally started to click, and move the ball up the pitch with ease. The pressure was finally rewarded with some short corners, but alas no equaliser, however SV looked far more dangerous than they did in the first half. With 10 minutes left in the game, SV threw some more players forward and a well worked open play move culminated in the Canterbury keeper having to make a good save to retain the lead.
Valence finally ran out of steam in the last 5 minutes and were punished for pushing more men forward and they conceded 2 more goals. The 3-0 loss felt disproportionate for the effort SV had put into the game, but playing with just a bare 11 will certainly improve the fitness of the players who took part in the game.