Keens Park Rangers Ressies 1 Knaphill Reserves 2

Goals: ‘Open to question’ but possibly Callum Toone

Man of the match: ‘undoubtedly’ Callum Toone but great stuff Matt Kear

Keens Park Rangers Ressies stumbled to their third consecutive defeat on Saturday. Let us be frank, there were plenty of excuses – including your humble narrators current inebriation – but one can only conclude the opposition had a superior level of ammo available.

What was obvious from the beginning was the ressies lack of ‘strength’. Only two substitutes told its own story but, in many positions, it was frequently a case of men against boys. This isn’t to denigrate the ressies performance however as this was a far more spirited performance than they managed against the students in their last match two weeks ago.

Even if most of us watched the opening salvos from the shelter of the pavilion to escape the driving rain, the opposition’s strength was most apparent to the assembled management and supporters and the ressies were incredibly fortunate to go into half time only one down.

That said the opposition were most canny in exploiting their apparent association with the referee. Poor Matt Kear was hoodwinked by a blatant dive but few would have begrudged the resulting free kick had it gone in. In the end it hit the foot of the left hand post at pace, but the opposition’s pressure was relentless.

A well-delivered corner was tipped past the oncoming central defender in this regard but, such was his size and commitment, the very fabric of the goal – the goal as a whole that is – was threatened as he ‘followed through’ into the net.

In a matter of moments the same player probably wished he had demolished the goal to avoid such analogies as he missed an easy opportunity from very close range. This, at least, allowed bar manager Chainey to test out Chairman Crouch’s new investment.

The new ladder may well be the only thing KPR are climbing of late but fellow bar fly El Boy was enjoying his verbal joust with the ref. Who was coming out on top exactly is open to debate but a decision finally went KPR’s way when a midfielder handled the ball.

This did not, however, alter the set pattern of play and just before Tig and El Boy reached the pavilion to make the tea and heat up the sausage rolls Knaphill scored a disappointing, but superbly taken, goal.

Keeper James Mullins cut a statuesque figure (although we’re not sure ‘David’ has his hands in non-existent pockets) as the ball flew, missile-like into the net. Going in at nil-nil would have been an excellent position to play the second half from but an extended team talk (that kept the opposition and the ref waiting outside for almost ten minutes) from temporary assistant manager Mick Harrison conveyed just how open the match was.

In many respects he wasn’t wrong. The ressies, as Knaphill had in the first half, exploited the slope and the prevailing wind. But their increased urgency and physicality still couldn’t quite master the (let’s be honest) freakish strength of the opposition. Everyone except Adam East who, of course, somehow managed to ‘wipe out’ two players in one go. Both of who had to leave the field.

Sadly, East, like everyone else, to be left frustrated, particularly by the clear denial of a handball by the smaller centre back that could have drawn the ressies level from the penalty spot. As it was the back four in particular had more reason to be miffed, given their strong performances, Jake Ladd’s injury might well have warranted Knaphill’s second goal being called back for a free kick.

There was still over twenty minutes to play and the ressies were beginning to pose a few problems. Indeed, the ressies created better opportunities than the opposition coming down the ‘hill’ but all, especially a great chance by Matt Kear, were squandered before man of the match Callum Toone conjured up an own goal / self proclaimed “worldie” from all of fifty / sixty yards!

As it turned out it proved to be a consolation but the team had battled harder than they had against the students two weeks previously. The question is: will they ever learn their lesson?

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.