The Keens Park Rangers First Team edged a cup thriller against Cranleigh for the second time this season.
The Golds have been poor in the opening stages of the league but there is no arguing that they have been well up for the cup competitions, with this win marking the third victory over higher league opposition already this season.
Without Mick Harrison there to lead the warm up, the pre-game ritual was somewhat disjointed. Arguably, the most intensity was shown when a number of players clocked the traffic warden slapping tickets on car windows and duly sprinted over to make sure their car wasn’t next. They were too late…
Just like the first meeting between the two sides, Cranleigh took the lead. Bruce McPhail’s tackle on the strong centre forward resulted in a questionable free-kick just outside the area. Cranleigh’s standout performer duly dispatched it into the top corner.
Keens Park had started brightly and they weren’t behind for long. Michael Woods flicked the ball on after some work down the right and Radu’s presence was enough to force the Cranleigh defender to bundle the ball into his own goal.
Creating chances wasn’t a problem for the Golds, with Liam Harrison striking off the under side of the bar and Ryan Wallis coming close from a corner. But again, they found themselves behind after a cleverly disguised through ball split the defence and the Cranleigh winger slotted home for his second of the game.
Gary Mitchell and Dave Harris weren’t displeased with the first half performance but asked for a bit more intensity from their side.
Just like the first half, it was Keens Park who looked the better team and Michael Woods, making his first appearance since his facelift, had the chance to level the scores after a delightful through ball from Ben Wicherek. Woods sliced wide after a comical bobble despite the ‘keeper leaving his entire goal open.
Displeased that his annual assist had been robbed from him, Wicherek decided to do it himself after picking the ball up just outside the box after a slick move and he confidently drilled his shot into the bottom corner.
The equaliser should have been the catalyst for Keens Park to go on to win the game, but another straight ball split the defence and incredibly, they found themselves behind again!
With time running out in the tie, Mitchell and Harris switched to a 3-5-2 to really take the game to the home side. The remainder of the game was played in Cranleigh’s half without creating that one clear cut chance to level the score. That was until Ben Wicherek clipped another inch-perfect through ball, this time to Liam Harrision to convert after trying his hardest to miss.
Just like the previous meeting, Keens Park were not satisfied with a late equaliser, and they continued to go for the kill. Michael Woods may not have been his usual self in front of goal, but his never-say-die attitude remained. The ball looked lost as the defender looked to shield the ball out for a goal kick, but Woods managed to nick the ball on the line and run towards goal. The defender, perplexed that he had just been dispossessed, tried his best to scythe his man down. Woods tried to stay on his feet but nothing came of the attack so the referee brought play back to award the penalty, much to the dismay of the home side. Owen Stutchbury stepped up, and in ice-cold fashion, thumped the ball into the corner to secure Keens Park’s place in the next round of the County Cup.
It’s only a matter of time before the Golds take their form in the cups into the league.
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