Watlington Town Old Boys v Faringdon Town Vets – 1st November 2017
Town Vets travelled to Chinnor FC to face Watlington Town Old Boys in the Hellenic League Division One Veterans, looking to make it eight wins on the bounce. The home side was unbeaten from their opening four league games and so the Town Vets knew they were in for a tough match, especially with the squad stretched due to injury and unavailability.
Town’s Gaffer told the lads what to expect from the home side, with set pieces and long throw-in’s likely to be their attack options and that we had to win all of our individual battles for the full 80 minutes. Town got the start they wanted when they were awarded a free-kick 30 yards out, on the right wing. Damian Francis played the ball into the Old Boy’s area, which was misjudged by the home keeper and bounced into the unguarded net to give Town the lead after only two minutes.
Shortly after, Town put a ball into striker Paul Smith, who swivelled and volleyed towards goal, only for the home keeper to save under the crossbar. The home side were starting to take control of the match, however, Town’s work rate was first class and they stopped any kind of attack threatening Lee Ruddle in the Town goal. Town were playing mostly on the counter-attack and from one of these, we were again awarded a freekick when Smith was fouled 30 yards from the Watlington goal.
Paul Hulme clipped a great ball into the box for skipper Gary Sutton to beat the keeper to the ball, heading Town into a 2-0 lead on 30 minutes, somewhat against the run of play.
Halftime arrived and the Gaffer again told the boys it was down to them to keep the work rate going and introduced the three substitutes into the game, having not made any during the opening half. The changes made no difference to the work rate and playing up the slope, Town played far better football and on 43 minutes, put any chances of a home comeback to bed when a great passing move saw Hulme break into the home penalty area and cross for Smith at the far post, volleying sweetly past the home keeper for a 3-0 lead.
Soon it was four, the home side tried to play the ball across their own penalty area, Hulme pounced on a loose ball, his first touch was heavy and as the home skipper slid and challenged for the ball, it rattled off Hulme’s shin’s and past the stranded keeper. Town were controlling the game and frustrating the home side with their closing and breaking quickly in numbers and on 61 minutes the pressure told again when Smith closed down a ball over the top, causing confusion between the centre-half and onrushing keeper, with the pass back missing it’s target and allowing Smith to pass the ball into an empty net, putting Town 5-0 up with just short of 20 minutes to play.
For the remaining minute’s Town did take their foot off the pedal slightly, but still saw Sutton and Patrick Graham hit good chances into the car park behind (FINE!), whilst Hulme saw an effort well saved when well placed.
Ruddle was tested towards the end of the match, with one effort just going wide as he struggled to get down to the ball and another strike hitting his crossbar (great angle’s!!). With the final whistle blown, the Town spirit was high and the performance has set a marker for the squad going forward as they sit top of the division.
Gaffer Martin Harries commented after the game
This was our best performance of the season, all the lads here tonight put in a proper shift and did exactly what we asked of them. We knew the home side would try to bully us with set-pieces and long throws etc, but not once did we back down. We now have a week off, which will hopefully allow some injuries to heal and we can then try and make it nine wins on the bounce at Henley against Woodley United on 15th November.
Final Score: Watlington Town Old Boys 0 – 5 Faringdon Town Vets
Squad: Lee Ruddle, Steve Pugh, Dave Legg, Damian Francis, Gary Sutton©, Glenn Townsend, Phil Thompson, Paul Hulme, Paul Smith, Colin Yates, Matt Grantham, Iain Lawson, Nick Wojcik, Patrick Graham – Subs Not Used, Martin Harries, Joel Francis.
MOM: Paul Smith (Lead the line superbly, got the two goals he deserved)
DOTD: Lee Ruddle (shocking dive, the pitch has an even bigger slope after that attempt!)