Tongham Reserves 0
Keens Park Rangers Reserves 2
Man-of-the-match: Juan Canal-Mortis
In a game that harked back to the banger racing at Tongham’s old Aldershot Raceway, the Keens Park Rangers reserves did a decent demolition job on the home team – even if it was Tongham who seemed keener to bash into their opponents.
The pattern of the match was set early with the ressies squandering two good chances before the Tongham right back clattered into Midgers from behind. Potentially nasty, the referee righty called the offending player over for a chat. His deadpan response of “What for?” created much mirth among the ressies supporters (that’ll be Crouchy and Tigger).
He may have evaded a booking he’d riled up Midgers who then appeared to get the ‘zoomies’. Seemingly all over the pitch, Midgers even stole the ball off one of his team mates to fire off a shot that shaved the outside of the post. Indeed, the ressies really ought to have been two or even three up were it not for the opposition keeper.
Having already demonstrated excellent handling when dealing with a well struck shot from George, an excellent one-on-one save from Kempy was then followed by another from Josh. Nevertheless, the ressies pressure continued and a corner eventually led to the ball finding Kempy outside the box. A cheeky drag back created the yard required for a low shot that finally breached the oppo’s defences.
No less than the ressies deserved the chances continued with an ambitious volley from Midgers and another shot from distance from Kempy. In doing so Kempy tweaked his ankle and he had to come off for solitary substitute Will who had been getting grief from the right back and the opposition’s ‘centre forward’ who would clearly love to lick himself were he an ice cream.
This shift gave your humble narrator the opportunity to run the line and watch what became an increasingly funny performance as the opposition number nine continually fell foul of the disciplined defence. Central, literally, to this was an impressive man-of-the-match display from Juan who demonstrated poise beyond his tender years.
While the ressies dominated, there were no further chances until the second half, where the difference in ability (and the all-important fitness) became increasingly obvious. The ressies still had some serious defending to do, but so resolute were they that the reluctant keeper Liam had precious little to do except shuffle the pack once more after captain Chinga tore his hamstring in a committed challenge.
This meant Kempy returned to the fray and he soon teed up Midgers for an easy finish to make it two-nil. As in the first half it really ought to have been many more, but Kempy missed an absolute sitter before the keeper pulled off another good save from Midgers.
Unlike last week, where we were begging the referee to end the game, this was an attacking performance more in keeping with the ressies DNA. The game was being dragged out, however, as the opposition players began to drop like flies all over the pitch. Although it was a ridiculously warm day for mid-October, the heat was no excuse yet it was inevitable that the opposition would get a chance at some stage.
And come it did to the opposition number nine who, having berated officials, opposition, his manager and team mates alike, finally timed a run properly only to blast the ball way over the bar. Only then did he, finally, abuse himself verbally, yet worse was to come when he found himself one-on-one against Liam. Odds on to score, his afternoon got even worse as his legs appeared to collapse beneath him and he skewed his shot, according to Crouchy, “seven yards wide”.
The fun and games were not over, however. And, in the dying moments, he ran into Liam (who had the ball in both hands), leaving Liam on the deck, and the ball in the back of the net. Although a foul so obvious it could be observed from space, he (and the right back) continued to roar as if he’s scored a winner at Wembley even after the referee had disallowed it.
I wonder if anyone has ever ‘willed’ a goal into existence? To be sure, this was a valiant effort. While it was us last week, this week it was the opposition’s turn to wish the end of what must have been very contrasting afternoons for the players.
A deserved win, it was good to see the ressies rediscover their mojo. Let us hope they don’t mislay it.