Benson Lions v Faringdon Town Vets Match Report
The Don Vets went back to league action, following two cup group games and travelled to Milton Utd to face Benson Lions in Hellenic Veterans Division One. On arrival at the ground, the heavens opened but as the sides warmed up the rain had stopped but a swirling wind was evident. The pitch was surprisingly hard considering the rain, but it made for a quick passing surface.
The management warned the side that the hosts were going to be physically fit being an RAF side and we had to at least match them and then let our football do the talking. The opening minutes saw the match become a midfield battle with neither side playing any flowing football, however on 20 minutes it was Town who opened the scoring as a quick breakaway saw the ball pulled back to the arriving Patrick Graham 25 yards out and his crashing effort sailed into the top corner, to open his account for the season.
Town were now in the ascendancy and were catching the hosts on the break with regular attacks, but a similar story to previous weeks missed chances went begging. Paul Smith saw his left foot drive from the left-hand side of the penalty area, hit the foot of the right-hand post and roll to safety and then Graham should have doubled his and the sides goal tally, when from 6 yards he hit the keeper from Mike Marsh’s pullback, when it seemed easier to score.
The hosts were gaining a bit of momentum and they made Town pay for the missed chances as they scored a well-taken equaliser and shortly afterwards, Town No. 1 Lee Ruddle saved well with his feet moments before the half closed.
At half-time, the management told the squad that we needed to work harder without the ball, track our runners and close the hosts down quickly and not allow them to start passing the ball, with the remaining three substitutes introduced into the game. One of these then created what was to become the winning goal, as our own RAF lad, Aidan Streete played a defence-splitting pass to striker Smith, who held off the defender before coolly placing the ball high and wide of the keeper with his right foot to put Town into the lead with only 5 minutes of the second half gone.
Town were doing as the management had requested, giving Lions no time on the ball, hunting in packs and breaking away when stealing the ball. The home side were applying pressure at times, however, they never tested Ruddle and Town had their own opportunities with a number of corners etc. As the half came to a close, Smith should have put the game to bed as he once again broke through the Lions defence, sat the defender on his backside, but dithered too long and his shot was tipped over the bar by the diving home keeper. Town saw out the remaining minutes and took away a valuable three points to make it 5 wins from 5 league & cup fixtures.
Next week, we are back to the Veterans Challenge Cup, with our final Group D match at Abingdon Town, playing OUP from the Premier Division, kick-off 7.45pm.
Final Score: Benson Lions 1 – 2 Faringdon Town Vets
Squad: Lee Ruddle, Dave Legg, Steve Pugh, Nick Wojcik, Gary Sutton©, Glenn Townsend, Paul Hulme, Paul Smith, Colin Yates, Mike Marsh, Patrick Graham, Aidan Streete, Troy Redman, Phil Thompson, Gavin Stevens, Craig Gaynor
Man of the Match: Patrick Graham (Cracking goal and worked hard in the midfield to gain the side an advantage)
Dick of the Day: Paul Smith (Awful late miss!)