Keens Park Rangers 1 Shottermill and Haslemere 0
Goals: Josh Bullen
Man-of-the-match: Doug Noble
The KPR first team secured top spot in the league this week with a deserved victory over Shottermill and Haslemere. But it was a very scrappy affair with little of note – despite the frenetic pace of the match – occurring for the first quarter of an hour.
Blows were being exchanged, but nobody was landing anything that might make the opposition wobble. Courage, in particular, was proving very energetic. But neither he, nor Bulldog, were testing the keeper.
That was until a block tackle by man-of-the-match Doug set Courage free to run at the defence and fire off a shot. Although anything but a clean strike, the keeper failed to sort his feet out and was forced to make a diving save. Worse was to come, for he then spilled the ball. Anticipated by Bulldog, he pounced on the opportunity and forced the ball over the line despite a last ditch effort by a defender.
The game then regressed into a rather unattractive sparring contest. Indeed, the referee was proving the most obvious participant until a series of goal attempts that regrettably involved each players ‘wrong foot’.
As good a game as he was having Ben Wicherek’s right foot is solely for standing on. Then his brother Michael and Bruce had equally wayward efforts with lino Seamus mockingly signalling a throw-in.
As far as humour went, that was it for the first half. The second half was shaping up to be equally joyless with a second goal, despite bar manager El Boy’s attempts at ‘bantering’ with the opposition number eleven and significant territorial dominance, high on the wish-list.
And yet, a second goal may well have come, for the opposition, were it not for some brave keeping by Kieran and a last ditch block from Rob after the referee ignored a foul on Woodsy. If the patience of the home players had been tested, there was no ignoring a daft challenge on Doug and a minor fracas ensued before the referee brandished a deserved yellow card to the opposition player.
The storm weathered, KPR’s dominance ensured it was the opposition’s defence who were busiest. Bulldog was toying with them and he drew a foul that resulted in another booking. While he wasn’t able to create much in the way of shooting opportunities, the resulting free kick led to the the best chance of the half, but Michael Wicherek’s volley was well saved by the keeper.
Matters being too close for comfort, manager Gary brought on Nico, Rees and the luckless Seamus who was immediately booked after a great challenge at the edge of the box was deemed a foul. Ably defended, it was now clearly a case of running down the clock until the referee called time on what was a hard fought victory that now places the defence of the title in KPR’s own hands.
Let’s hope the lads maintain their grip on proceedings.