ryans postKeens Park Rangers First Team’s Cyril West Invitation Trophy campaign started with a hard-fought 1-1 draw against Guildford and Woking Alliance leaders Hersham FC.

Due to the Reserves not having a game, a good crowd were there to watch the game unfold at Pyrford and they injected some much needed intensity from the sidelines.

Hersham took the lead after their number 12 powered home a towering header from a corner. With the First Team out of sorts in the league, it could have been expected for them to completely deteriorate after the early goal, but in reality, this was Hersham’s only real meaningful attack of the game.

The home side’s new-look formation was paying dividends, with the team looking far more solid defensively, without completely nullifying the attacking players. Captain, Michael Woods, was a constant thorn in the opposition’s side with his direct approach and shortly after Hesham took the lead, he looked to have been brought down when clean through on goal, but the referee decided to only dish out a yellow card.

The Golds (playing in blue) went in 1-0 down at the break.

Dave Harris delivered a passionate half-time team-talk to light a fire in the bellies of the players in an attempt to get themselves back in the game and that, along with attacking down the hill, resulted in a dominant Keens Park Rangers half.

The Reserve Side have been in impressive form of late, and the introduction of two of their standout players this season, Charlie Pocock and Tommy Newell, added that needed extra bit of aggression which earned the home side their equaliser.

Liam Harrison exploited the ever-increasing gaps behind the Hersham defence to expertly lob the goalkeeper. The visitors were incensed that the goal stood, as they argued that Harrison used an arm to knock the ball into his stride before scoring.

Shortly after, Michael Woods surged beyond the Hersham defence to put himself one-on-one, but after doing everything right, he failed to make the telling touch to put the ball in the back of the net. Owen Stutchbury was left red faced as he let out a shrieking celebration before the Hersham centre back swept the ball off the line.

Although Keens Park felt like they should have won the game, Hersham are a good side and it certainly wasn’t two points dropped. It was important to not lose the first game in the small cup group.

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