Surrey Premier League Cup
Keens Park Rangers 5 Royal Holloway 1
Goals: Dan Way, Bulldog (three), Lucas Atkin
Man-of-the-match: Reece Killick
After last weeks match was called off, the first team returned to action with a comprehensive home win over Royal Holloway in the cup.
After a cut, the pitch at Fortress Pyrford looked in great condition and the play from both sides was certainly equal to it. Of all the players, it was the opposition number eleven who stood out with two or three rapid bursts from deep that certainly raised a few eyebrows among the home supporters. He was also raising the temperature (not unwelcome given the freezing conditions) with some rather robust attention that just remained the right side of the line despite the obvious pain inflicted upon Dan Way.
Despite this it was Dan who helped free Michael Wicherek on the left where he delivered a well directed cross that looked to have teed-up Bulldog Bullen for a tap in at the far post were it not for a crucial intervention from a defender.
So far, so good. But before Dan was subjected to any more close attention he and Woodsy switched wings. Initially, this didn’t appear to have worked as the visitors had the ball in the back of the net. Fortunately, it was ruled out for a fairly obvious off-side. And KPR’s luck continued when number eleven handled the ball in what looked like an attempt to stop Woodsy getting on the end of a searching pass from the right.
Normally the home supporters would expect Bulldog to slot one of his trademark side-footed penalties home, but the visiting keeper was able to merely fall upon what was a poor effort. Although a disappointment for all, it was acutely felt by Seamus who had – rumour has it – triple captained Bulldog in the KPR ‘Fantasy League’ (c).
Nonetheless, KPR took the lead just before half-time after the ball had hit the referee. We can’t say he got an assist, but KPR were more awake from the re-start and, having regained possession, Mikey provided an easy tap in for Dan at very close range.
A fair reflection of the first-half – just – the second was an altogether more comfortable affair for the home team who stamped their authority on the game with increasing confidence. Much of this stemmed from the defence, who mopped up everything thrown at them. While Bruce and Archie stood strong it was Reece at right back who was awarded man-of-the-match despite barnstorming performances in midfield from Rory and Doug and, as we are to reveal below, a hat-trick from Bulldog who soon put memories of his missed penalty to bed (well almost).
Before he could, he had an effort disallowed for off-side and then, after what was the best manoeuvre of the match, an air shot at the far post that had Seamus comparing him to Darwin Núñez! Profligate, yes. A ‘wasteman’, no. Yet he was not alone as Mikey failed to make the most of a sublimely weighted pass from Rory, although the keeper deserves credit for what was a well-timed intervention at his feet.
In fact it was their keeper who was keeping things interesting with a great save at the far post from a point-blank header from Bulldog. And yet, he couldn’t stop Bulldog notching after Dan Way pinged a pass across the field to Woodsy who provided a delicious lobbed pass that he simply couldn’t miss.
Two-nil was hardly ‘game over’, and yet KPR continued to was the numerous chances created. Well. I say wasted, when it was a brilliant double save from their keeper that, first, denied Luke Mitchell a free header and, second, Bulldog from the rebound when you’d have put your mortgage on him scoring. Home and away supporters burst into spontaneous applause.
While there was more applause for Mikey when substituted for Lucas, in the end it took the awarding of another penalty to breach their defence for a third time after Bulldog had cannily extracted a foul out of their defender. Having converted the penalty, the visitors scored a goal out of nowhere to not only keep everyone interested, but give poor Kieran in goal something to do – even if it was to retrieve the ball out of his net.
With Luke going off for Jack, H miraculously found time to declare him “an excellent player” just before he was booked for his very first tackle. He soon made up for it, however, with a sensible pass out wide to Dan who slid a pass across the goal that just evaded Lucas, but provided Bulldog with the easiest of tap-ins for his hat-trick and KPR’s fourth.
The fifth came soon after when substitute Jack delivered a delicious free-kick that fellow substitute Lucas headed in from the penalty spot. Job done, all were grateful for the final whistle and the opportunity for a beer in the warmth of the pavilion and then the King’s Head where a Spoof marathon took place along side the socialising.
All-in-all, a fantastic day.