Surrey County Premier Football League
Keens Park Rangers 7 Ripley 2
Goals: Vic (4), Wallis, Watto, Josh
Man-of-the-match: Vic Hamilton
After scoring ten (TEN) in their last outing two weeks ago, the ressies entertained the troops once again at Fortress Pyrford this week with a surprising demolition of neighbours Ripley.
For those who rely on match reports rather than witnessing matters with their own eyes, the scoreline would not suggest a surprising win. And yet, matters looked pretty grim given the visitor’s explosive start. In fact, they could have scored twice in the first minute were it not for a timely intervention from Owen and the ball hitting the crossbar from point blank range.
The ressies were barely laying a glove on the opposition who would have scored had there been anyone to tap in a ball that rolled across the six yard box unencumbered.
Inevitably, the ressies woke up and a good chance fell to Wallis had he not fallen over himself in fluffing his shot. He achieved instant redemption, however, as a beautiful first time pass set Vic free who struck a terrific finish in off the crossbar. Totally against the run of play, we were always going to take it. But matters got even better soon after when Wallis attempted to break the world step-over record before curling the ball round the defender inside the far post. A good goal the touchline were not certain it warranted his Messi ‘crucifixion [with nod to crowd]’ celebration, however!
It was then Watto’s turn to go from zero to hero, after two fluffed chances were squandered trying to get the ball onto his favoured foot. But his third he smashed in at the near post after some lovely interplay inside the box. This also led to an exuberant celeb ration as he scaled the fence at the road end to celebrate / antagonise the non-existent fans in the non-existent stand (one day eh Osh?)!
The supporters were not simply amused, they were cock-a-hoop! And matters got even better when Wallis set Vic free once again for another delightful chipped finish from some 25 yards out. 4-0 at half-time!? We could hardly believe it, but the game was far from over and the second half was certainly more even, even if the ressies were n ow the better of the two sides.
Well. I say that. But Callum at centre back gifted them a toehold in the match. It was then stand-in keeper Liam’s turn to keep the supporters on tenterhooks by poleaxing their forward. Even though he’d headed the ball clear it didn’t look great and he was, perhaps, lucky it was only a yellow on first impressions.
If the free kick amounted to nowt, Cal then set up a second goal for the visitors before promptly (and sensibly) bringing himself off. Such was his haste to leave the scene of the crime none of the super subs (a real embarrassment of riches on the bench this week) were ready, and there was a delay for shin pads to be secured.
Mercifully, with Jambo at the back, and Jake in midfield, playing superbly, the ressies were still creating chances for themselves, and Watto forced a terrific save out of the keeper from a direct free kick. Given the frantic state of play – and no little frustration on certain players account – there were a few bookings flying around even if it was mostly handbags rather than genuinely naughty tackles. But it didn’t stop the ressies playing some excellent football with Substitute Oscar setting fellow bench-warmer Josh free down the right who then squared the ball for man-of-the-match Vic to secure his hat-trick.
If the referee had given the visitors the overwhelming benefit of the doubt in the first half, decisions appeared more even as the visitors’ frustration grew. Nevertheless, the ressies conceded a penalty. But rather than help the visitor’s cause Liam’s unorthodox save only increased them.
Bar manager, and driver of the KPR ‘Banter Bus’, El Boy was certainly enjoying his afternoon, and even ticket inspector Chains chipped in with a spiky barb at the unfortunate player. Normally, it is Seamus who delivers the most acidic lines. Instead he delivered one of the passes of the match to tee-up substitute Josh up a goal – having allowed the ball to roll across him before slotting it inside the far post with a first time shot – he made look easy.
The supporters now knew the game was undeniably safe and celebrated wildly. But there was one last Crimbo present following a disputed throw in. Playing to the whistle Vic bombed down the left, cut inside, and scored, yet again, with casual aplomb.
Slow substitutes, bickering etc. etc. led to some fifteen minutes of added time and it was getting seriously dark by the final whistle. But not, regrettably, as dark as some of the visitors moods and there were a few handshakes refused and grumbles all the way from the pitch to the changing rooms.
By the time everyone had a shower all was calm once again, and the Crimbo spirit prevailed further down the King’s Head where what must now be three (if not four) generations of footballers had a whale of a time celebrating the first team’s 8-1 victory, and no less than three hat-tricks across two games.
Overall, 2023 has been another vintage year for the club. The first team’s promotion is going better than we could have expected, and the ressies are top of the league. Well done everyone. Enjoy the Crimbo break, and here’s to a successful 2024!