Whites vs St.Pauls Panthers (Simon Gwilliam)
Q2. The second quarter saw a much more composed performance from Loxwood as they started to take more control of the game. Two great chances from Ben G and Jody were the result of a more aggressive mentality, the whole team working well to pass the ball with more accuracy and patience. Excellent ball control from Smiley Ben and Willem allowed play to be held up while other players got forward and applied pressure to their opposition throughout the quarter. Credit, though, to St Paul's defence who kept Loxwood at bay to keep the score at 0-0.
Q3. The game significantly opened up in the second half following a cracking Loxwood opener to break the deadlock shortly after the restart. A great show of strength from Ben G took the ball passed two players before slotting the ball onto Jody's forward run. Jody finished the move exquisitely with a powerful shot past the helpless keeper. The Whites then came to life with a long period of pressure, Angus, Luc, Willem and Kelsey pushed right up the pitch to keep the ball in the Panthers' half. More chances followed as a result; a stinging shot from Jody sailing just wide, a huge shot from 20 yards from Ben G equally close. A really switched-on performance from the whole team, buoyed by their lead, with some accurate throw-ins from Willem, great tackles from Kelsey, Angus and Luc and some incredible saves from Chris in goal on the rare occasions St Paul's got forward. Attentive marking, some beautiful close-control from Willem and some clever passes from Luc in particular made it hard for St Paul's to progress. However, as the quarter drew to a close, the Panthers started to get forward more and more and were able to even things up, following a great run and top corner finish from their right winger, to leave it at 1-1 at the close.
Q4. Loxwood Whites, enthused by their performance in the 3rd quarter, came out strongly again in the 4th. Fatigue started to show with both teams giving a huge amount of effort to find the elusive winner. A great pass from Kelsey and a mistake from the Panthers' fullback left Jody on goal, but their keeper was a match for his confident strike. The Panthers then surged forward themselves with a great chance knocked wise by their disappointed forward; the (apparently impartial) referee dropping to his knees in disbelief.... Loxwood were finding themselves under increasing pressure as the game neared its conclusion. Despite some great tackling from Smiley Ben, Angus, Big Ben and Kelsey, the Panthers eventually slotted the ball past Chris whose outstretched leg couldn't prevent. The Whites started to lose their composure momentarily but continued to fight to the end with some great running from the wide players. Hope remained as another long shot from Big Ben forced a good save and two great shots from Jody, one shaving the left post and the other requiring an epic save, continued Loxwood's frustrations. A confident performance in goal from Chris, meanwhile, limited the deficit at the other end with a good command of the goal mouth. Unfortunately, St Paul's had the strength to see the game out and win the game 2-1, despite being second best for much of the game.
Coach Andy said after the game "very unlucky today and didn't deserve to lose. Everyone was awesome!"
Post match interviews from Angus Leete and Big Ben
Blacks vs. Dorking Whites (Garth O'Mara)
One thing that remained unchanged was the slope of the pitch and Loxwood elected to play the first half of the game defending base camp.
Game 1 – Dorking Whites 2 Loxwood Blacks 1
The first game started brightly will the sweet smell of freshly cut grass, with the crowd wondering about the tactics to be deployed and exciting chatter regarding the new curtains that Karen might be purchasing soon. Harry J started in goal and right from kick-off there was some beautiful Loxwood passing moves played left to right and back again across the pitch. Dorking started to settle and created the first moments of real danger with the ball flashing across the goal and Harry J having to be deployed to save a deflected shot. A handball just outside the area resulted in a Cameron free kick which he curled around the wall but just flashed wide of the post.
Moments later a long Loxwood throw-in up field went past 3 sets of players and landed to Charlie who ran onto, charged at goal and confidently slotted the ball into the bottom right-hand corner to make it 1-0. The restart and Dorking were energized and Loxwood started to back-off – “what is this ballet football?” was the cry from the sidelines. Harry Smith powerfully headered a ball out of the area and to shore up defence Sebby came on for Harry. However Dorking continued to up the pressure and in a brilliant demonstration of Tottenham Hotspur on a European night the score line went from 1-0 to a 1-2 reverse. The first was a good break by Dorking and the 2nd was straight from kick-off as Loxwood struggled to deal with pace of Dorking charging at them. The whistle went and the boys could draw breath.
Game 2 – Dorking Whites 1 Loxwood Blacks 0
Not content with having one number 17 on the field and second one joined the Dorking Whites for the restart. Was this number representative of his favourite number or was it his age the crowd wondered? Sebby went in goal and Harry J moved outfield. Loxwood had acquitted themselves well and William hit the side netting. However, Dorking asserted control with a thunderbolt of a shot from the number 17 and it was 1-0. Sam and Oscar had some good interplay however Dorking were well versed in a pressing tactic game. Charlie accidentally caught one of the brave Dorking lads with a boot to the head and a stoppage was had. Dorking controlled most of the attacking until the end and only valiant defending/goalkeeping probably kept the score down. The crowd were very encouraging with words such as “You are playing like a fairy” :-)
Game 3 – Dorking Whites 2 Loxwood Blacks 0
Charlie went into goal, Harry J into a defending role and William made way to play as sub. The score this game was not reflected of the play. There was nice work by the boys and an attempt by Oscar who blasted at the keeping with strength, Cam played some beautiful football which included a long pass being slotted through their defence. However, it was Dorking who took their chances. A long shot parried by Charlie into the path of a Dorking player for a simple tap-in and then a little later a wicked deflection off William beating the keeper for a second time. It left the crowd wondering how the boys could get back in this and whether that number 17 was in fact a “teacher from the school”.
Game 4 – Dorking Whites 0 Loxwood Blacks 0
Loxwood started the game under pressure but Harry J went back in goal and the boys were organized at the back. A lovely Zindane-esque turn won Loxwood a corner and Harry Smith was unlucky with a powerful header that just went over. Dorking were certainly tiring and Loxwood looked to be entering a purple patch. There was brave keeping from Harry J and the boys continued to press with a number of corners. Charlie had a long effort denied and was replaced by Sam after putting in a long shift. Sam had some of this best play of the morning which did all include one curious moment when he decided to mark the corner spot. Overall the boys had finished well and deserved a goal during this period.
The game finished 5-1 overall but they were in good spirits knowing that although on balance Dorking deserved the win with some skillful players who took their chances the margin of the win was a little flattering.
After the game Coach Paul recognised the effort by the boys and the skillful player of both the number 17s of Dorking as well as the number 26. Also some questions as to whether the Blacks need to get into the gym to beef up and assert themselves more physically :-)
Post match interview from Cameron Ramsay......