Sutton Valence could only muster 7 players for this away fixture in Slough. Stoke Green had stated earlier in the week that they would be able to provide the missing players including the essential goalkeeper, which allowed the game to go ahead. In the event, Stoke had 5 available spare players so the game was played with 12 a side.
It was soon apparent that Sutton Valence had been given some useful young players, and the visiting team dominated the first quarter. After only 7 minutes, Henry Humphrey, playing his first game in 3 years, made a good run down the right, crossed to the centre where one of the borrowed Stoke Green youngsters despatched the ball efficiently into the net. A few minutes later, further pressure led to another goal from a loaned player to make it 0-2. This was quickly followed by two more goals, the first by Henry Humphrey and the second from the first loaned player. This meant that Valence were 4 up after only 18 minutes. Valence could not believe their good fortune in being loaned such useful players, and Stoke Green were probably regretting the decision to provide them. It must be said that this successful spell of play was also due to some excellent teamwork by the Valence players.
However, Stoke dug in, started to get their passing together and changed the flow of the game by scoring 3 goals in the next 6 minutes, to bring the score back to 3-4. Following all this excitement, the game settled down with the teams looking more even and there was no further score before half-time.
After the break it was Valence who again looked the stronger and after sustained pressure, won a short corner from which Rupert Humphrey scored with one of his well struck shots to make it 3-5. The Valence midfield including Clive Baxter, John Dinnis kept control of the game for much of the subsequent play but the defence was starting to look a little stretched. During this period, Valence had some goal opportunities which could have put them further ahead, but they were unfortunately squandered. With only 10 minutes to go, the Stoke Green forwards broke through to bring the score back to 4-5 and, against a tired and depleted defence, managed to put 3 more goals past the keeper to make the final score 7-5. It was a disappointing end for the Valence players in what had been a very enjoyable game, but it was probably a fair result. The loan of the Stoke Green young players had made the game possible and provided well matched teams.
Goals: Henry Humphrey, Rupert Humphrey, Loaned players (3)
Team: Rupert Humphrey, Paul Linaker, Andrew McVarish, Mike Nettle, John Dinnis, Henry Humphrey, Clive Baxter, plus 4 players and a keeper provided by Stoke Green
Umpire: Nick Willson
Next week the Vets are at home on the Prep School astro at 11.15 against Camberley Owls
Match Report by Nick Willson