Keens Park Rangers Reserves 1 Staines 1
Goals: James Crouch
Man-of-the-match: Ryan ‘Chinga’ Mitchell
Having outplayed the opposition for most of the afternoon, a draw could have been a case of – in the words of Shaun Ryder, the UK’s premier philosopher, “call the cops!”. Although a self-inflicted result, it took nothing away from what was a very mature performance from a very young and promising team.
Leading from the front in this regard was Oscar, who was not giving the opposition’s defence a moments peace. In fact he really ought to have opened the scoring early in the piece. But, having latched onto a great through ball, he took too long to sort his feet out, and thus allowed the defender to get a block in when he finally pulled the trigger.
The tables were turned moments later when he nicked the ball off the defender who was far too casual in his attempt to usher the ball out of play. Sadly, nothing came of it. But a marker had been laid that would set the tone of the afternoon.
Well. One says this. But had the referee been less lenient on the opposition defender who, as the ‘last man’, upended Oscar when clean in on goal. A yellow sufficed in his eyes, and he dished out another to a midfielder who mistakenly thought he’d been sin-binned.
Stomping off the pitch manager Liam foolishly asked if he’d been sin-binned and when the referee said no, a bizarre opportunity to play against ten men was lost. As it turned out, he may well have been forced to leave the field after kicking out at Wallis off the ball.
Clearly the referee hadn’t seen it, but the potential red cards were evened up a little after Callum ignored a loud cry from keeper Leighton and nodded the ball from point blank range forcing an instinctive ‘save’ outside the box. Again, a yellow sufficed and the half looked to be ending on a stalemate until Oscar’s energy led to a penalty.
Having been denied the opportunity to take the first free kick, it was Wallis who stepped up and as much as he struck it with some venom it was straight at the keeper who hurt his wrists in deflecting the ball onto the crossbar before it was cleared away.
A poor end to the half, the second began in a much more positive fashion, with Watto winning an unexpected corner having chased down a lost cause. The resulting corner led to something even less predictable as Crouch Jnr, James, topped off his engagement this week with a nonchalant looking goal from the corner kick.
If Crouchy was, in fact, having an excellent game in defence. He was not alone. Callum, despite his earlier error, appeared to have rediscovered his mojo. But it was man-of-the-match Chinga in the midfield who was shining brightest with a calm performance against some talented players.
Talented as they were, the opposition didn’t really look like scoring. And yet, talk on the touchline was of the missing cushion of a second goal. Almost inevitably, this absence proved crucial after tricky forward hit the deck inside the box after the merest of touches.
This time the penalty was slotted home, and as much as manager Liam mixed things up by introducing fresh legs (and pushing Crouchy into midfield), the ressies had run out of ideas long before they ran out of time.
Although a tad disappointing, the young’uns had performed superbly against a side seeking to win the title this year. Indeed, they’d made them look a tad ordinary in certain cases and it was a great performance to end the season at Fortress Pyrford.
A handful of games – including a cup final for the first team – remain. So we’re far from done yet. But for the rest of the season we’re ‘on the road’.