Keens Park Rangers Reserves 0-3 Hambledon Reserves 

Man-of-the-Match: Jake Ladd

Booking: George Searle


Despite the hopes raised by last week’s performance, Keens Park Rangers Reserves defeat to Hambledon was disappointingly predictable.

For the fourth match in a row the Reserves fielded a side almost unrecognisable from the previous week. That they were able to field a side at all was, in itself, a minor victory as an array of alternative attractions and eleventh hour injuries drew players away. And yet, much the pre-match trepidation on the touchline appeared unfounded as the ressies took the game to a well-organised Hambledon.

Prospects were almost as bright as the late summer sunshine as the underside of the crossbar prevented Ryan ‘Chinga’ Mitchell scoring a corker. The central midfield were looking to play fast and progressive football but the ball was failing to stick up front where the ‘Von Ryans’ Express’ pairing of Midgley and Mitchell worked hard without ever really troubling the keeper.

After last week’s heroics KPR keeper Tom Coles had hardly been troubled either. That was until a fast break, very much against the run of play, found Adam Way outnumbered at the far post leaving the spare Hambledon player free to hit an impressive half volley into the far top corner of the net.

The now customary half time deficit was unfortunate but there was much to look forward to with the pushing forward of the very impressive debutant Doug Noble into midfield. This meant the returning Callum Toone, after an extended sabbatical with the first team, moving to centre back to pair up with the ever-improving Jake Ladd who fully deserved his Man-of-the-Match pint.

Although both were to impress, the positivity of the first half performance was undone by a soft goal before they’d had a chance to settle into the partnership. The game was eventually put to bed with a third that everyone on the touchline missed as they were saying goodbye to Rasher.

That a few heads dropped at this point would have been understandable but, once again, the ressies – a certain number of them at least – continued to strive to create something (anything?). Sadly the closest anyone came to testing the opposition’s keeper was another sweetly struck long-range effort from Chinga that just cleared the bar.

The result cannot be laid solely at the feet of those involved on the day however. Having come off to give the impressive Charlie Pocock, the solitary substitute, a run out Michael Harvey, who had given more than many might have thought possible, was forced to return to the fray after Chinga tweaked his hamstring chasing another lost cause.

Those of us who remember Fat Boy’s barnstorming performance up front in last seasons Old’uns versus Young’uns match (a managerial masterstroke if ever there was one) were encouraged and amused in equal measure but, although he did manage one ‘dive’, a repeat of that day’s heroics was not to be. The lack of any kind of consistency in the team and the absence of too many players ultimately proved insurmountable.

This is not to denigrate the Hambledon performance. They certainly deserved to win but, if the ressies are to make advances this season, a greater level of commitment is required. The talent is abundant but having everyone available at the same time is proving as difficult to achieve as that all-important first victory. It is now all too clear that the two are linked.