Cranleigh Reserves 1 Keens Park Rangers Reserves 1
Goals: Connor Reeves
Bookings: Jake Ladd
Man-of-the-match: Callum Toone
Regrettably, Keens Park Rangers Reserves remain winless after a after a frustrating draw against Cranleigh. A flurry of activity on Twitter aside, manager O’Shea retains the backing of a grateful committee for agreeing to manage the team until Christmas, but he’d be forgiven for wanting out a little early after this pitiful performance.
Given the buoyant mood generated by last week’s excellent performance it is hard to fathom just how poor the ressies were against, it must be said, an equally poor Cranleigh. Neither side did an excellent surface justice but it was KPR who really frustrated.
The absence of William Ponsonby and Adam East left the side bereft of any genuine physicality for the others to follow. George Searle missed his opportunity to step up in their place as he chose to pass up on three good opportunities to assert some authority in the opening ten minutes.
He was not alone in this regard as captain James Nixon was also having a bad day at the office. The only bright spots, in the first half at least, was the solid partnership of Rob Partridge and Callum Toone at the back and the pace of Connor Reeves up top.
Time and again, however, opportunities to turn the Cranleigh defence were missed until Scott Whittaker did manage to place the ball behind the opposition’s defence for Reeves to run onto, round the keeper, and place the ball into an open net. Rather than recognise an effective method to increase their lead the KPR players continued to attempt to play far too precisely.
Such ambition was entirely misplaced as the side, man-of-the-match Toone apart, had not yet mastered the basics. Indeed, overambitious play at the beginning of the second half led to a golden opportunity for Cranleigh in a matter of seconds of the KPR kick-off that produced a good save from Tom Coles.
Despite substitutions little changed. The Cranleigh midfield were afforded far too much time and looked the more effective unit simply because they were playing the ball forward early. Inevitably their direct approach led to an equalizer.
A good early ball from midfield was teed up by the Cranleigh forward with an excellent first touch before beating Coles at the near post with a powerfully struck shot. As bad as this was, things might have got even worse after the assured form of previous weeks deserted Jake Ladd.
Having failed to control what ought to have been a simple clearance, Ladd was forced to haul back the Cranleigh forward before he got through on goal. Fortunately for Ladd the FA have changed the rules in relation to ‘last man’ fouls that now only warrant a red card if the challenge itself is deemed violent rather than cynical.
Ladd’s yellow card was all too much for the Cranleigh linesman, who clearly hadn’t got the FA’s memo, and he stormed off the pitch chuntering something about being cheated. This was a little rich considering some of his own decisions, but the referee, who had a good game, had quickly wised-up to them.
As badly as KPR were playing chances are inevitable at this level of the game and the best of these fell, once again, to Reeves after the referee ignored one of many hair-trigger off-side flags. But rather than score his second Reeves managed to hit the keeper’s leg rather than the gaping net.
Frustrations were growing on the touchline and a free header by debutant Matt Kear that looped over the bar didn’t help but Kear, and fellow debutant Jonathan O’Shea, had added a degree of urgency and quality but it was not enough to create any further chances before the final whistle.
However, with time almost up for O’Shea’s fixed-term tenure the need for a new manager, rather than a win, might be the most troubling issue for the club.
Keens Parks Rangers is a Guildford based football club and we are always looking for new players and sponsorship opportunities. Get in touch with us through our website or our social channels.