Keens Park Rangers Reserves 3 Milford and Whitley Reserves 0
Goals: Stephen Kemp, Connor Reeves, James Nixon
Man of the Match: Connor Reeves
Despite another victory the ressies match against Milford and Whitley resembled a race to the bottom as far as standards were concerned.
Everyone, it seemed, was somewhat distracted from the matters at hand. At least 80% of the players were extremely hungover and manager James O’Shea, in charge of his last game, appeared more interested in the nag he had money on at Cheltenham.
In all fairness this lack of enthusiasm was understandable as the weather was filthy but once underway it was clear that the ressies were the better side. This is not to say the players, with the exception of man of the match Connor Reeves, were anywhere near the performance levels of recent weeks. KPR dominated despite themselves and assistant manager Mungo was right in pointing out the opposition were even less ‘up for it’ than the ressies were.
As Saint & Greavsie used to say ‘it’s a funny old game’ and despite the turgid play where few (if any) attacks looked especially dangerous the ressies took the lead after some less than flowing football resulted in Stephen ‘Co Co’ Kemp (wearing the correct boots this week) with the ball at his feet for a simple finish inside the box.
Last week’s man of the match Ryan Midgely was similarly sporting some new boots but they clearly still require breaking in. As for Captain and, from next week, new manager James Nixon, he somehow made the stuttering ‘Midgers’ look like Ronaldo in a first half that brought a new meaning to ‘laboured’ and made a few of the old gits on the touchline feel so much better about themselves.
The weather was all too much for one however and El Boy ‘watched’ the entire match from the warmth of the pavilion. In doing so he missed what looked to be a good goal from distance from Reeves. Tig and Mungo also missed it when retrieving the ball from the neighbouring school but some eye witness reports claim the defender shunned an easy opportunity to head the ball clear.
2-0 at half time was probably about right. The defence, efficiently led by Matt Kear, had looked untroubled but it was inevitable the opposition would create some chances. Indeed, it did not take long for keeper Jake Simms, who appears to only play in horrendous weather, to be forced into action in producing a superb reflex save from close range. Not to be outdone the opposition keeper was also getting in on the act and he made an excellent save from Kemp who had almost begun celebrating.
Changes were afoot but, perhaps inevitably, it was Chinga’s body letting him down that instigated matters. Midgers was also brought off but as Scott Whittaker was still struggling to get his tracksuit bottoms off he was temporarily reprieved.
Unlike El Boy, club secretary Ian ‘George’ ‘Bluebell’ ‘Woodsy’ Woods was braving the weather and generously took over running the line to allow Adam Way to come on. The changes had little time to take effect, however, before Kemp was forced to come off thus allowing Midgers to return to the fray and Whittaker to play up front.
It did not take long for the pair to combine well with Nixon, who had finally woken from his slumbers, and they created a third goal that put the game beyond doubt. Nixon still had a bit of work to do on receiving the ball but, having cut inside the first defender, he then cut the other way to create the yard of space needed before slotting the ball away.
The rest of the game was largely without incident and, to be honest, everyone was hoping the referee would end the game so they could get back inside hug a radiator, check up on El Boy’s hangover and the racing results.
Manager O’Shea, undoubtedly pleased with the result, was even more pleased that his time as manager had also come to an end. ‘Never again’ might been his summation but all at the club are grateful that he chose to step up when he was needed.
It now falls to Nixon to take over the reigns (with Mungo). He certainly has an excellent platform to build upon and the rest of the season looks bright. One can only hope the weather also improves. If not, someone needs to buy El Boy some gloves for Crimbo!
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