Keens Park Rangers Reserves 2 Woking and Horsell 0

Goals: Vic Hamilton, Tommy Newell

Man of the match: Vic Hamilton

The appearance of mince pies in the shops can only mean one thing: James O’Shea’s time as reserves manager will soon be coming to an end. But the ressies go into what may prove to be a pivotal week for the club in a very positive frame of mind following a hard fought victory against a very competitive Woking and Horsell side.

The victory, as is now customary, was looking doubtful in the opening minutes. The opposition got out of the blocks by far the fastest and a series of good balls into the space behind the defence gave Adam Way, in particular, a torrid time.

The defence, at this point, was really struggling. Charlie Pocock appeared most uncomfortable but it was Matt Kear who looked as if he’d put his feet on the wrong way round. Only Callum Toone looked remotely composed and, once again, the ressies were grateful to goalkeeper Tom Coles who produced a stupendous save from a point blank header.

Having weathered this early storm the KPR players adjusted to the pace of the game, which was relentless to say the least. Seldom has a game been played at such a frenetic pace from the kick-off to the final whistle and it is testimony to the fitness of both sides who really entertained the assembled KPR ‘tifosi’.

Following on from last week Tommy Newell was at the heart of this. Ably assisted by James Kear it was Newell who created the opening goal. Having ghosted past two defenders he tee’d up man of the match Vic Hamilton who then placed the ball into the corner of the net. The volume of the cheer that went up was indicative as to how good a goal it was.

The physicality of the game was beginning to take its toll however and O’Shea was forced to make a substitution before half time after Elliot Westwood suffered a head injury. Although he’d been playing well, his absence did little to blunt the KPR attack and Ryan ‘Chinga’ Mitchell ought to have put the ressies two up before the break after a good run and low cross from Connor Reeves from the left wing.

The second half not only saw the return of Westwood but some very robust tackling from the opposition. The referee clearly didn’t fancy the paperwork and he let two or three fouls go unpunished, but it was not long before KPR were similarly grateful for his leniency. A low ball into the six-yard box looked to have set up the opposition’s centre forward for a goal until he, Pocock and Coles collided leaving all three in a heap while the ball continued along its path unimpeded.

Although both KPR players required the ‘magic sponge’, they were able to continue but, given Westwood’s knock, O’Shea gave him a break so that Scott Whittaker could get a run out. Whittaker was at his enthusiastic best and his positional play was causing problems for both sides. But his introduction had posed a different question to the opposition and, within minutes, Newell was able to exploit the space created with another lung-bursting run that resulted in a shot that the defender deflected past his own keeper.

It was fist pumps all round but the feeling on the, ‘always positive’, touchline was that a third was required. Somewhat unfairly Gazza (or was it Ru Paul?) was imploring Hamilton to “work it!” up top but Hamilton, who must have easily run 10 kilometers, continued to do an excellent job in defending from the front. Fatigue was beginning to effect others however.

James Kear, in what was his first start, was certainly relying on previously unknown reserves of energy and the inability to form a wall demonstrated how mentally tired everyone was getting. Miraculously, for something Chinga had a hand in building, the wall stood firm. Despite few clear chances for either side what was left of the game was mostly played in the opposition’s half and it did look as if some of the opposition had accepted the result.

Nixon and Fatboy celebrating the win whilst reminiscing about Oktoberfest.

Although it wasn’t easy, the KPR players and their supporters also knew the best team had won. Three back-to-back wins bodes well and, if the players remain available, there is hope that whoever takes over from O’Shea in the new year may have the chance to challenge for some silverware.

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