The scribe of this report had lost his pen in goal movement activity. But have no fear, Brian Smith had a pen. This was a lucky pen! This was our day!!!!
The game kicked off against Onslow on time after a thorough talking to to both captains by the Enforcer. William started very lively with a decent interception and Raff was composed and strong at left back (something he showed throughout). Onslow won a corner very quickly and this was expertly delivered and deflected towards goal, it bounced off a Loxwood head and 0-1 it was with only 2 mins gone.
Loxwood remained unfazed and Sam and Oscar showed some sensible containing defensive play. The first Loxwood chance came to Jody who industrious effort led to the ball flashing across the goal.
The game ebbed and flowed. Harry J was clearing solidly from defence however Onslow maintained pressure and a second corner hit the post. Sam sprinted up the left-hand side and it was surmised that the accuracy of the touchline straightness had provided him another 6 feet in width from halfway line to the corner post!!
Onslow won a 3rd corner and at this point George tipped it onto the post, it bounced around like a pinball and the Vipers got lucky. Onslow were shooting on sight (watch and learn Vipers) and a ball recovered by George was slippery and he couldn’t hold, the rebound resulted in a second goal (0-2) at 13 mins. These corners and the obvious practice that Onslow have put into them was showing.
At the other end of the pitch Charlie went through the middle and although it looked like he was upended it was a fair challenge by the Onslow central defender. He picked himself up and continued to press. Cody was now on in a left back position, there was an outcry from the crowd as he used his right foot – this wasn’t thought possible. Raff played to Jody and he was through but his knock-on ball was a touch too heavy.
The 19th minute may have been pivatol. Our linesman was caught 17 Gatwick runways away down in the bottom corner by the post as Onslow broke. They were only 16 feet offside as they took advantage to make it 0-3. The “Enforcer” wasn’t having it as the crowd protested. Marco had not raised his flag over in Croydon (or wherever he was) and therefore the goal stood!
At this point confidence was down. Onslow onslaught, we couldn’t clear lines, lost shape and their number 10 had nice, neat touches everywhere. A rare break saw Jody unsupported although as he managed a long attempt in from the right. Then a disastrous 2 mins….. A mishandled long shot was a lesson to all. Two players from Onslow followed up. 0-4 in the 26th min (watch and learn Vipers). Shortly after the kick-off Onslow charged again and Sam didn’t put his foot in, a shot over the keeper makes it 0-5, 27th min.
Jody finished the half with good endeavor. A simple ball from Charlie allowed Jody and he beat the keeper but was a little wide and it flashed past the post. End of half…. A mountain to climb….. hairdryer from Coach Paul inbound in what was a sloppy half.
So 0-5 down after 30 mins, how is this going to end? Why would you even go back out on the field? Because we are Loxwood, because we are Vipers! Because we have pride….
The 2nd half started brilliantly. Charlie actually decided he wasn’t playing FIFA19 live on the field and started knocking the ball past players rather than dribbling. As Coach Paul pointed out “guess what? That is easier….” The balls were being played into channels and shots were being unleashed from distance. Guess what? That causes confusion! Especially when the ball/ground is slippery, and you follow it up. Using this tactic a long shot went in and Harry Smith converted. Joy all around. Hang about…….. Hang about…… Hang about…….. 17 minutes later a decision comes from Stockley Park, their linesman flags it offside and Enforcer goes with the decision. Argh!
Undeterred the Smith brothers were strong on the right, Charlie crunched their keeper, George made a good save from the right, William was stella in defence stopping Onslow having another very dangerous corner. Jody was back on for Charlie who was getting frustrated and Sam came on for Oscar who was losing his way.
Sam made an immediate difference and carried on his good hard work from the 1st half by driving the ball forward and causing issues between midfield and attack. The boys continued to play the ball rather than running with and were finding success – in particular Raff through to Jody a few times.
Cody found his positioning and had a couple of strong tackles. Dads advice of trusting his central defenders to do their job and hold position was sound advice. 13 minutes into the half and no advancement on the score and Loxwood had probably had the better of the play. Onslow then show their ruthlessness again. A Loxwood defender is drifted past who backs off and a thundering shot that hits the post and an Onslow player follows it in to score the rebound (Vipers take note again). 0-6, 43 mins.
What we can never be beaten on is spirit. I would welcome comment on this piece, but I believe that last 10 mins passage of play was probably the best and most sublime I have seen from the Vipers in a long time. A passion for switching play, one to one passing, understanding where others were on the field, knocking balls into space and chasing it. As Steve Smith stated after the game “you can’t run faster than a well passed ball”. The voices are missing but the talent is there, the effort cannot be doubted.
Special mention for William for the Vipers goal. A long looping chip from the right-hand side of the pitch (think Matthew Le Tissier-esque) which chipped the keeper who was left in no mans land. It was a contender for man of the match (I wouldn’t take anything away from Onslow). this made it 1-6. The final score.
It wasn’t without danger; George continued to be a mountain in goal and his enthusiasm and effort was an example to all. Rightly so, he won Player of the Day from coach Paul - for the 2nd week running!
A tough result in the end, sure Onslow deserved the win on that first half performance. Loxwood dominated the 2nd half for a while and it was joy to behold. The vision is there. No need to call Poch yet!
Quote of the day from Charlie at full-time “I wanted to throw my shirt to someone in the crowd at the end of the game but they all went home at half-time”
Oh, and f**k that lucky pen, what was the point in that?
A brilliant interview from Cody below……