You have to admire Black Knights. As a one-team Club there are obvious problems in getting and maintaining the necessary squad of players of an appropriate playing standard, but somehow, generally, they do it. Saturday was proof of this!
The game got off to an active start with both teams trying to find the best route into their opponent’s dee. Valence had an early chance when an aerial ball from John Dinnis down the right wing was expertly picked up by Roger Fermor. He took the ball quickly into the Knight’s dee, with the defence caught napping, and struck a reverse stick shot accurately at the goal, but with insufficient power to beat the keeper. Black Knights then took up the challenge and pressured the Valence dee and after a series of blocked attempts got through to score their first. The game continued to ebb and flow with unsuccessful shots coming from Stuart Bates and Rupert Humphrey until the equaliser was gained from a clean strike by Stuart Bates.
This seemed to galvanise Black Knights into action with several serious attacks, one of which ended with the ball in the net, but the whistle had already been blown for a short corner, so it didn’t count. The short was bundled away resulting in a long corner which was quickly back into the dee, ending with a near miss at the right-hand post. Shortly after another short corner for Knights was successfully blocked. The half finished with Andrew McVarish demonstrating his skills taking the ball out of defence and down the right wing, through several tackles before crossing a useful ball, but with no outcome.
The second half saw Valence trying to re-establish some sort of command on the game, and succeeding in getting forward with some good crosses from the right, with at least one near conversion, and some good running at the opposition from the younger subs, Sean Mills and Rob Cockayne. But then the game seemed to slowly slip away again with Valence too often handing the ball to the opposition, and Knights keeping it and finding their forwards rather more easily, and going ahead as a result. Valence’s attacks diminished and meanwhile continued to battle in defence with some good blocking of what could have been further goals for Knights. But in the end Black Knights sealed their win with a super strike from the edge of the dee that gave keeper Britton no chance, by arguably the least mobile player on the pitch, as he is strapped up from a very recent major knee operation, whilst awaiting the same on the other. What a way to finish!
Team: Dave Britton, Bob Sagrott, Mike Nettle, John Dinnis, Andy McVarish, Hamish Dow, Nigel Bardsley, Julian Mills, Stuart Bates, Roger Fermor, Paul Linaker, Rupert Humphrey, Sean Mills, Rob Cockayne.
Umpire: Rob Harrison
Match Report by Paul Linaker
Next week the Vets play away against Tunbridge Wells Grasshoppers at 14.15 at the Nevill Ground, on grass, unless the weather requires a move to astro.