Cobras vs St.Pauls (Andy Leete)
Right from the off the Cobras were on the front foot taking the game to the Panthers, with the 'Smith' boys proving a constant menace with their high pressing and intelligent running both on and off the ball. Kelsey, Marco and Angus looking assured and holding a tight line at the back, Ben pulling the strings in midfield and providing some much needed steel.
With ten minutes on the clock the Smith boys combined sublimely with some neat interplay with Harry breaking free in the penalty box and finishing with precision, 1-0 Cobras. It could have been so much better for the Cobras with a Ben G 'thunderbolt' rattling the Panthers crossbar soon after. This seemed to stir the opposition into life and they finally got themselves back into the game and started to ask questions of the Cobras. Only some excellent work in the midfield from Luc & Willem and Marco at the back kept the Panthers at bay. It was only a matter of time and the Panthers finally got their just rewards after some indecision at the back by the Cobras 1-1.
The second half started at a frantic pace with Chris, Fin and Ben all providing the ammunition for the Smith boys up front with with Oscar going close on several occasions. Oscar's perseverance was to pay off as he managed to wriggle free in the box and made it 2-1 with a neat near post finish. Bravely struggling with illness Angus finally made way for Marco causing a re-organisation at the back with Fin on the right and Marco on the left, both unfamiliar positions for them both but they showed great determination and grit to keep the Panthers at bay.
A Panthers substitution proved pivotal to the game with a Dorking giant of a forward proving a real handful for the Cobras back line. Only a string of excellent saves from Willem in goal and last ditch tackles by Fin, Kelsey & Marco preserved the lead. Unfortunately it was not to be as two quick goals in a five minute period all involving the recently arrived Panther sub turned the game on its head.
With the clock ticking the Cobras desperately tried to engineer the equaliser they so deserved with Chris,Ben and Luc all searching for the ever industrious Smith Boys to try and chisel out one last chance to save the game, the Cobras so deserved.
Unfortunately it was not to be, another 3-2 defeat. This was cruel on the Cobras who all individually had given their all, playing some lovely attacking football and showing great team work and determination. Both Oscar and Marco were rewarded for their excellent performances receiving the weekly awards.
Vipers vs Milford (Garth O'Mara)
The boys were entertaining Milford and handshakes took place before the game. Milford dressed as Inter Milan for intimidation purposes I guess and Loxwood dressed as, errr… Fulham.
The game started very sluggish with both sets of teams looking out of sorts. Jody however bucked the trend and held the line well to have a good initial break. Harry J started in goal which is a position that he always looks strong and confident playing – and kept Milford at bay initially with a strong one-handed save.
On the far-left Cody showed a very deft touch and some nice touches and turns as he controlled the ball well when receiving possession. Seb+Cam looked assured as a central defence pairing marshalling the area well.
Cameron drove the ball out of defence well with a strong forward run and the pass was out to Jody who unfortunately was pushed wide and unable to whip it back in quickly enough. The Loxwood flaw in the first half though was exploited quickly within a 2-minute window when 2 goals were succeeded in quick succession. The number 22 (there were two of them, I think it was the blond one!) exploited the space between the midfield and the defence lines and split the central defence pairing in half to score – a well taken goal.
Sam came on for Cody with a slight change in tactics to use the young Maldini as extra cover for defence. However, it was his backing off that led the 3rd goal for Milford as Harry J was caught in no mans land and the ball sneaked past him.
There was no real pattern to the end of the 1st half as Raff was valiant in closing down an attack, Barney thwarted a 1:1 and Jody had a wide attempt that looped past the far post.
The 1sthalf finished at 0-3 and a team talk was required.
The 2nd half started brightly. Sam was nobbled off the ball unfairly and a free kick provided. In the aftermath of this lobbed ball Charlie had some bad luck as his rebounded shot hit the outside of the post. You felt it just wasn’t going to be the Vipers Day.
The 4th Milford goal came as Barney turned his back and being caught in the wrong direction provided a clear line of sight. The ball was poked past Sebby (who had replaced Harry J in goal for the 2nd half).
A break in the Milford dominance and ray of sunshine was provided as Cameron continued to work tirelessly and provided the ball to Samuel who scored with assurance. A goal on his debut!!!! Was the recovery on?
Errrr… No, it wasn’t
The team invited pressure in the 2nd half and when they did have a chance in the opponents final 3rd turned into Arsenal and tried to pass the ball into the net. Charlie was particularly guilty in this and just not “having a go” as is father and author of this report bellowed from the touchline.
The game was settling into a rhythm. Good pressure from Milford, chances on the break for Loxwood. Cameron injected a lease of life into the front line and was caught just offside as he poked the goal into the net – where is VAR when you most need it?
A strong Milford attack was repelled by William, who had worked tirelessly all game, but possession was lost and the final blow was then dealt as a long range effort looped towards Sebby who parried it into his own goal.
The boys had a few more chances but not enough quick-fire shooting was occurring. Most notable efforts were Cam just missing a rebound, a looping shot from Cam going past the post and Charlie over the bar when the ball came quickly to him at short range.
The game finished as a 1-5 defeat. A victory deserved by Milford but probably on balance not by this score line. They simply took their chances extremely well and we didn’t trouble their well organised defence enough.
Most encouraging though was the enthusiasm and effort. 0-3 down at half-time and a lot of boys would throw in the towel – but not our lot!. They toiled, worked hard and encouraged one another and each one had a smile on their faces.
Samuel finished as Loxwood man of the match and his post-match interview with Harry J is below……