Oxted and District Reserves 0 Keens Park Rangers Reserves 1

County Cup First Round

Goals: George Searle

Man-of-the-match: George Searle

The reserves have won a match! It had to happen eventually of course but it was typical, perhaps, that the ressies chose to win their first match while their manager O’Shea was away on a well-deserved break.

As usual O’Shea was not the only one absent as an entire team’s worth of players were unavailable to caretaker manager Mungo. The ‘excuses’ varied greatly although Jake Ladd’s absence due to an international bowls competition must be a first (we are pleased to interrupt this match report to reveal he won “easily”).

In local terms the County Cup can often feel like an international fixture with the competition taking the club to the uncharted backwaters of Surrey. Many of the team had never been to Oxted before but with the sun out and spirits high, it soon became clear that KPR were by far the better team.

The energy of James Nixon, Scott Whittaker, Vic Hamilton and Dave ‘Agent’ Wilkes was proving hard for the Oxted players to deal with. As much as everyone was playing well it was George Searle’s performance that stood out. This may have been in relation to last week’s match but Searle had clearly remembered to eat his Weetabix and he was dominant in breaking up the opposition’s play and allowing Nixon, in particular, the freedom to attack.

The ressies looked most dangerous from set plays however. Before he was nobbled by a tackle he himself would have been proud of Adam East was delivering some excellent free kicks from the right but it was his long throw-ins that were causing the greatest panic in the Oxted penalty area.

The Oxted keeper was clearly struggling to see in the sunshine and on two or three occasions he had fumbled relatively straightforward balls into the box but, with no KPR player anticipating, these mistakes went unpunished. That was until Searle found himself the most advanced player as the keeper failed to deal with another ball from the right and he bundled the ball into the goal.

Having taken a deserved lead the ressies continued to dominate play and almost scored a second following some good play down the left that resulted in a powerful run and shot from Connor Reeves that hit the post.

Mungo’s half-time team talk was as measured as co-contributor Rasher’s was ‘direct’, but it looked as if the Oxtead manager’s instructions had the greatest effect. As if from nowhere the Oxtead players were demonstrating some startling pace and they looked most likely to score in the opening minutes but for some good defending from Rob Partridge and Jonathan O’Shea.

Partridge was clearly enjoying his afternoon and as much as he was winning every header that came his way, his vocal encouragement throughout the match was as crucial as O’Shea’s blocking of the best of Oxted’s chances.

These chances soon dried up however and the ressies regained control of the match. Such was this dominance the ressies really should have scored more but, for all the fine approach play, the final shot was consistently off target.

Despite this profligacy, confidence on the touchline remained high as the ressies play, which included an overhead kick from Whittaker, solid tackling from Searle and the marauding runs of Nixon, proved most entertaining until the referee blew the final whistle.

The ressies, in keeping their first clean sheet of the season had won their first match. Hopefully this represents a turning point in the season.

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.