Hersham Res 5
Keens Park Rangers Res 6
Goals: Ryan Wallis (4), Ryan Midgley (1), James Blackburn (1)
Man-of-the-Match: Ryan Wallis
A game winning day to remember or a performance to forget… This was definitely the question following the conclusion of today’s fixture.
Again, a very strong side was selected for the game this week, however with it being very wet under foot and with the persistence of rain all morning and the night before the boys were not too enthusiastic during the warm-up. Where the main topic of conversation instead happened to be the events leading up to how/why Ryan Midgley got his new tattoo, rather than concentrating on the important fixture at hand.
As it happened though this minor distraction did not take away KPR’s strong start to the game, as within the first 25 minutes the score was already 5-0 to the away side. With our impulsive display Ryan Wallis claimed 4 first half goals as well as Midgley also getting in on the act. It was all too clear to see that the Hersham backline had the speed of an aging tortoise, whereas our young long-legged hares were running riot. Yet, as the match progressed, we were very close to forgetting one of the most famous of Aesop’s fables that “slow and steady wins the race”.
It was hard to see how Hersham had let this happen considering that historically defending was their forte, as the current Manchester United left-back ‘Luke Shaw’ grew-up and played youth football in Hersham. Therefore a strong defensive display, especially at home, we thought was a given going into this game.
Before the half was over there was further drama as Alex O’Shea managed to not only claim KPR’s first yellow card of the game but also had his nose broken in a badly timed challenge, to which after rising to his feet resembled Jean Claude Van Damme’s character in ‘Kickboxer’.
The game was descending into chaos and as we closed in on half-time 2 goals were quickly conceded when our indecisive goalie Jake ‘that’s my ball’ Simms tried to claim two crosses to which the opposition forward line got the better of the ageing veteran and stuck the ball into the net, 5-2 into the break we went.
We were clearly confused as to how this score-line had come about as we were nowhere near our best after the 5 goal sprint at the start of the game, and heads were down at the half-time whistle. Not only were the players confused so was the co-manager James Nixon, as his first words of a team talk was to turn to Jamie Hunt to say, “you are playing well at the moment but in the first half you were poor”. Which was not only an unsolvable riddle but was also untrue (‘whatever you say gaffa’ was the unspoken thought of the moment).
The second half began with Hersham on the up and KPR not being able to keep a foot on the ball. The tortoise was catching up fast and the hare had fallen asleep, as we appeared unconscious in so many fundamental areas of the pitch.
Hersham pulled a goal back to make it 5-3 after some significant periods of play, and keep ball, got the better of our defence. It was looking like that the game was back on and the o-so comfortable lead was a million lifetimes ago. We needed to steady the ship!!! However, as the rain continued to fall our goalie seemed to jump ship from a badly taken free kick and was stranded out at sea when he was lobbed from 25 yards, f**k 5-4.
The panic however was short lived as a late corner, after battling through the last 15 minutes of high pressure from the opposition, resulted in a game winning header from the other half of the managing ‘dynamic duo’ – James Blackburn swooped in with a strong header at the back post to effectively end the game for the visitors.
The last goal of the game was virtually the last kick of the game as Hersham had their own corner to capitalise on from KPR not being able to deal with the second ball, when the ball dropped from a defending challenge, (where this is fastly becoming a common theme to our season thus far and a lot of work in this area is overdue at training)
Nevertheless, the final whistle blew, and the hare was not caught by the tortoise. Lessons to be learned in defence, a strange win, MOTM – Ryan Wallis and top of the league we still remain. Next week we must be more attentive for the upcoming cup game.
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.