Keens Park Rangers 3 Worplesdon Phoenix 1
Goals: Luke Mitchell (2), Dan Way
Man-of-the-match: Josh ‘Bulldog’ Bullen
Although recent performances have been inconsistent, the positive results have kept coming for the KPR first team. And it was more of the same this week in what was a comfortable victory over Worplesdon.
The day’s events began with news of an injury, however, as ‘Supporter No. 1’ Harriet turned up on crutches having taken a tumble in the pub the previous evening. Bar manager El Boy proved chivalry isn’t dead by carrying a seat to the touch line for her.
Having created what amounted to the club’s first ‘executive box’, H and the other supporters were treated to a much better performance than in recent weeks. Central to this was the return of centre forward Luke, who was a pest all afternoon, but it was last week’s hero Courage – shifted this week to right midfield – who picked up where he left off immediately.
Returning to Fortress Pyrford, ex-KPR keeper Pogo soon realised he and his defence were in for a busy afternoon. And they performed admirably in denying a string of opportunities in the opening quarter of an hour. But such was the pressure it was almost inevitable KPR would score after some great play from Courage set up man-of-the-match Bulldog. Although Pogo blocked the shot bravely, he couldn’t hold onto the ball which fell to Luke who whacked the ball in from a yard out.
Although the sun came out, the good fortune ended there for a few of the players with Courage and an opposition player having to leave the field injured before half-time.
If the pace of the game had diminished towards the end of the first, KPR began the second half at a frantic pace. Bulldog’s first chance ended up in the school, whereas Luke’s was pushed wide by Pogo before a shout for a penalty was turned down. Given the free kick was effectively on the line, El Boy took the opportunity of an adjacent referee to query the decision. And, having done, so claimed an assist when a penalty was given moments later after Bulldog was tripped up from behind.
Ironically, a few on the touchline doubted it was in the box, but Luke didn’t care as he calmly slotted the ball home. If the cushion of a second goal was always going to be important, the supporters were less than happy with KPR thereafter as they appeared to sacrifice possession and territory too easily.
The lads were now playing in frantic bursts that created a string of opportunities. The best of these fell to substitute Aidan who had all day to score only for his effort to shave the outside of the post. Luckily, it didn’t matter as fellow substitute Dan Way got the third after a superb run and unselfish cross from Bulldog.
The opposition were not to be denied, however, and a free-kick from range was sweetly struck into the top corner leaving Kieran in goal with no chance. Co-manager Nico was denied by a good tackle from Pogo before Gary gave Seamus – who would surely win the old Fairlands FC ‘Chandler Trophy’ for ‘sportsmanship this year – a run out before the referee called time on what had been a dominant performance.
With two players away next week, the management have a decision or two to make. But there seems to be sufficient strength in depth to suggest the winning run ought to continue.