University of Surrey Reserves 4

Keens Park Rangers Reserves 3

Goals: Ryan Mitchell, Stephen Kemp, James Nixon

Bookings: Stephen Kemp

Man of the match: Ryan Midgely

After last weeks forgivable stumble, the ressies only have themselves to blame for falling to a consecutive defeat against an impressive University side. Unlike last week the conditions underfoot were perfect and it was only the strong wind travelling down the length of the pitch that the ressies found difficult to deal with.

As much as the facilities at Surrey Sports Park are excellent the layout is somewhat alien and this showed in a humourous, but slightly shambolic, ‘warm up’. The infamous scene from ‘Mike Bassett England Manager’ was brought to mind as Ryan Midgely was miming a fantastic run and shot with an imaginary ball (maybe he should do it every week?). Once the balls arrived a good deal of booting about ensued and the excellent spirit continued into the match.

The smiles were only preserved thanks to the opposition’s charity however as the ressies really ought to have gone one down. An excellent ball along the ground, having bypassed three KPR defenders, found the opposition’s centre forward free but, with only the keeper to beat, he blasted the ball over the bar.

It was clear that the wind was going to prove a factor in the match immediately but the first goal came from some similarly excellent play on the deck by the ressies. Midgely showed some good footwork and set up Charlie Pocock down the right to deliver a superb cross to the far post that was met by the oncoming Ryan ‘Chinga’ Mitchell at pace.

Although Chinga did manage to head the ball it was his shoulder that got the final touch in beating the keeper. Pocock was having an excellent first half in both attack and defence and Stephen Kemp was working hard up front chasing lost causes. It was this persistence that paid off as a long ball, having been caught by the wind, was badly missed by the University’s keeper for Kemp to run onto the ball and slot home into an empty net from the angle.

Two-nil was a bit flattering for the fact that Kemp had to chase lost causes all afternoon summed up the ressies performance. To say almost everything was ‘overhit’ in the first half would be an understatement with most balls forward going harmlessly to the defence or out for a goal kick.

Defensively captain Callum Toone and his troops were dealing with the oppositions attacks relatively calmly but a straight ball into the box was dropped by keeper James Mullins and slotted away for what was a soft goal. Matters could have got worse as a well hit free kick from distance hit the post before half-time.

It was during the second half that man of the match Midgers truly showed what he is capable of in creating a third goal that really ought to have seen of the students. Picking the ball up on the right wing Midgers showed strength and skill to leave two (maybe three) defenders in his wake before crossing the ball from the byline. Substitute Jonathan O’Shea missed his opportunity to score by appearing to step over the ball (a dummy?), which gave James Nixon an easy finish into an all but unguarded net. But the joy of extending the lead lasted all but three minutes.

Unlike the ressies, who now preferred to pass straight to the opposition, rather than find another yellow shirt, the students maintained possession and utilised the wind and their pace when attacking. Despite plenty of hard work from the defence they were unable to resist the frequent attacks and by the time the equalizer went in the students had already had one goal disallowed.

What turned out to be the winner was down to a greater desire (and fitness?) from the opposition but the ressies did have a few chances themselves to salvage what ought to have been a deserved point. The best of which came after another superb run and cross down the right from Midgers but, having traversed the penalty area, substitute Scott Whittaker was beaten to the loose ball at the far post by the defender.

Unlike last week there can be few excuses for this particular loss but all was forgotten during the belated KPR Crimbo meal later that evening with a record fifty-six players, committee members and supporters (some more official than others) attending. Midgers completed a good day, having won the ‘Heads or tails’, by treating our unfortunate fellow diners with a flash of his torso.

As disappointing as the ressies performance was on the day, all were grateful he left it at that! Win, lose or draw Keens Park Rangers is a special club – with very ‘special’ members – undoubtedly we’ll bounce back.

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.