This Match Report is sponsored by Aalto Construction,  H&H Construction & Green Tangerine Catering


Keens Park Rangers 1 Cranleigh 0

Goals: Josh Downes

Man-of-the-match: Rob Partridge

After the turgidity of Chelsea versus Fulham the previous night, the massed supporters were treated to a breathless top of the table clash that saw KPR emerge victorious over leaders Cranleigh.

Expectations being high, there were concerns among the supporters given the absence of a number of regulars. But, on arrival at the ground (utterly piss poor parking by the Mazda owner notwithstanding!), any potential upset was quelled by the presence of Alex O’Shea and Bruce McPhail in the starting eleven. And their proven quality was soon evident once the game got underway.

Need to bring more milk for half-time teas!

It was Aidan on the left, however, who was shining brightest in an opening quarter of an hour dominated by the home team. Indeed, although tame, it was Aidan who got the first meaningful shot away after some good footwork.

On the other wing Courage was covering every blade of grass (twice) and he also had a great opportunity to score that was deflected wide for a corner. In fairness, the opposition defence was looking, for all the KPR pressure, very solid. And yet, one one occasion they didn’t have to intervene at all, as a cross from the left managed to traverse its way across the penalty box unencumbered.

Bulldog sets off after a pass from Aidan

The game had already provided more excitement and entertainment that the previous week by the half-hour mark, with both teams ably contributing, as it was Cranleigh who provided the move of the match after some patient defence led to a basketball style ‘fast break’ down the right and a volley at the near post that was a little too adjacent for comfort.

In some respects KPR were playing to the opposition’s strength, as the forward duo of Bulldog and Luke were unlikely to get any joy in the air up top. Even in the midfield, Bruce and the tireless Doug had their work cut out. As it turned out, so did Rasher’s lad and his mates as the match ball went into the neighbouring school no less than three times in quick succession.


This led to a portion of the game being played with a training ball that raised a few eyebrows by swerving in the air like a Wembley Trophy (ask your dad). Rather than the tools of the trade, it was the relentless pace of the game that hindered a number of players from demonstrating the skilful (in the aesthetic sense) play we know they are capable of.

Aidan and Alex did more than most in this regard, but it was a towering performance by man-of-the-match Rob that kept everything on an even keel. A goalless first half was anything but frustrating, with talk in the pavilion buzzing with how good a game it had been.

Once the second half was underway, it was quickly apparent that KPR had raised their play a notch, with the first flash of brilliance absent if the first half coming from Aidan who played a defence splitting pass for Bulldog that he took in his stride but failed to strike cleanly. And there was more to come after a lovely pass inside the fullback from Courage set Luke in on goal. But his strike that went in off the near post was ruled out for offside.

Woodsy heads (off the pitch)

With so much riding on the result, and already engaged crowd got further involved after a few decisions by the referee upset them. There then followed an even more frantic period of play (if that were possible). As much as some slow play from dead ball situations suggested Cranleigh may have settled for a draw, both sides deserve credit as the game’s competitiveness never looked like spilling over, despite a minor flurry of bookings.

Few of the players looked to be tiring even, but manager Gary brought off Aidan to bring on the paces Josh, who has been causing much havoc for the ressies this season. And before he really had any time to settle he was set free on goal by an astute pass between the centre backs by Bulldog and within two touches Josh had cooly placed the ball past the keeper to loud cheers and much punching of air among the supporters.

Aiming for Rob

Knowing the significance of the goal, the players went a bit loopy n’all and bundled young Josh, who must have almost had his formidable fringe rubbed off his head!

Once play got underway again, Gary was able to eat up some time by bringing on his remaining subs. But as much as Seamus almost made a telling contribution, it was merely a matter of running down the clock before the celebrations could commence.

Still a long way to go as far as the league is concerned, but this win will have given the squad belief they can repeat the title success of last year. It might also, if certain players are enticed back from their exiles in London, give Gary and Nico some selection headaches!



This Match Report is sponsored by Aalto Construction,  H&H Construction & Green Tangerine Catering