Loxwood Cobras 3 Cranleigh Blues 1 (words Andy Leete, pics Garth/Helen)
Up first with the Cobras with a local derby against Cranleigh Blues, despite having bragging rights from a pre-season friendly for the Cobras, the emphasis of the pre match team talk was very much to guard against any kind of complacency. The Cobras were missing Ben 'The Warrior' Gwilliam and also the influential Willem due to injury, however they welcomed back Barney and Sam fresh from their escape from Peppa Pig World ;) ;)
The match started brightly for the Cobras with some great inter play between Sam, Harry and Archie with the Cranleigh keeper having his fingers burnt by a rasping shot, which he somehow managed to keep out and palm away out of danger. In return Cranleigh countered down the Cobras right with Barney saving well from a long range effort.
The remainder of the half was closely contested and chances were few and far between, with both sets of defences coming out on top. Thankfully Kelsey was marshalling the Cobras backline with great maturity and calmness with timely interceptions and determination in the tackle.. Luc and Marco snubbed out any raids down the flanks and restricted Cranleigh to long range efforts. Lots of endeavour and industry in the middle of the park from Angus, Archie, Dan and Sylvester but without the cutting edge in the final third, with the Cobras not making use of the Great Common slope in the first half.
Buoyed by this the Cobras again stormed forward with early passes now finding Sam,Oscar and Harry in more dangerous areas, causing Cranleigh problems with their pace through the channels. Some further nice work from Sylvester and Archie found Oscar free running through the centre, with a fine turn of pace leaving the defender trailing and with a calm head he beat the on rushing keeper with a lovely rising shot that found its way into the top corner 2-0 Cobras. Another excellent finish under pressure.
As we know with the Cobras, we always like to keep the supporters entertained and rarely do we make things easy for ourselves. The foot then seemed to have been removed off the pedal and intensity levels dropped allowing the visitors back into the game. A fine sweeping move down the Cobras left resulted in a deep cross bypassing all the defenders allowing a Cranleigh forward to sneak in at the back post and sweep a shot past the outstretched hand of Angus. 2-1 Cobras. The home support were now starting to sweat...
Cranleigh sensed something and poured forward, some last ditch defending from Marco, Kelsey and Dan proving vital in keeping the Cobras ahead.With time running out and the game stretched Cranleigh left gaps at the back and and quick Cobras counter attack found the every lively Sam free with space to run in on goal. Showing an excellent turn of pace the defender was left disappearing in the rear view mirror and Sam finished off a superb performance with another excellent finish into the net. 3-1 Cobras and a huge sigh of relief was felt among the home support, a much needed two goal cushion.
Thankfully the remainder of game was managed to the final whistle and another fine Cobras win was recorded. Two pretty well matched teams in a thoroughly enthralling game decided by three excellent goals.
Another great team performance with Kelsey deservedly taking the Coaches choice for player of the day with his outstanding performance at the back and Sam taking the parents choice award for another fine performance up front.
A big thank you to coach Paul and Ken for enabling the game to flow with their excellent refereeing and line running performances.