Vipers vs Albury (words & photos Garth O'Mara)
An absolute thriller at Great Common today as the Vipers toiled through the variable weather conditions against a courageous and well organised Albury side to win 4-3.
Prior to the game the weather had been very poor however as warm-up completed, the wind died and it became perfect footie weather on a fast, wet surface. The opening phase was well poised with both teams working hard to string passes together. For the Vipers Harry J was notable with some lovely controlled passing out to the wings from centre back transitioning us from defending to attacking positions. As the game progressed though Albury started to make their possession more dangerous calling on George for a number of saves before they Albury broke through the LYFC defenders who were player watching, After nutmegging Sebby the Albury striker pushed the ball to the far left corner just out of Georges reach. 0-1 Albury.
Raff came on, and it made an immediate difference. In a Redknapp-esque restyling of the team Paul has moved Raff (Bale like) from his dependable left back position into a more advanced position on the left where he charges up that wing whilst providing service for Jody. A one-two between the pair flashed just past the Albury post and an added impetus was clear., Albury remained dangerous and a shot thundered against the post which would have gone in without the fingertips that George got to it.
A long kick resulted in a clear handball, Viper free-kick. From the free-kick the resulting pressure meant the keeper was beaten but an Albury player handled off the line and with no VAR required ref Colin Ramsay signaled for the penalty. Cameron converted calmly. This buoyed the Vipers and William continued the pressure immediately (which he continued throughout the game) to slot Jody through. 2-1 Vipers.
Confidence starting to lag Albury switched their keeper. The game was in a pattern and the teams were tightly matched. Cameron had a commanding performance in midfield all game. His winning of the ball and trying to turn play to transition was key. The difference however really showed when the Vipers pressured off the ball. It was pressuring by Jody on the new keeper that resulted in what was a chance of nothing into a desperate clearance. Calm and controlled Raff slotted the ball home first time from distance to make it 3-1. The defence was better organised towards the end of the half and the boys started to show some maturity by managing the game to HT. Time for the Half-time team talk sponsored by Fortnite.
Re-enter the man of the moment… William Fielden. Will continued his relentless effort from the 1st half immediately and was covering every inch of the pitch – it was almost like two of him were out there! The linkage of Charlie, Jody, William and Raff were now showing some real danger. However, it was to be a linesman decision that turned the pressure back on the Vipers. Unfortunately, it was our linesman! Marco (Stevie Wonder) Vettese signalled for an Albury penalty for a foul just inside the box which they converted to make it 3-2. That’s Vitesse losing his bonus this week for sure! (Note:if anyone from Albury is reading it may have been a penalty and this maybe tongue in cheek!)
Albury were buoyed, the crowd volume increased, the Albury linesman waved his flag for offside…. Then the Albury linesman waved his flag for offside…. Then the Albury linesman waved his flag for offside…. Then the Albury linesman waved his flag for offside…
Anyway, on the 15th attempt Jody beat the offside trap (whether he was in his own half or not) as Charlie slotted through a beautifully placed ball that he ran onto and in Jody style there was only going to be one result. 4-2 Loxwood.
A 3rd GK for Albury who still remained resolute. The heads never went down and they remained a dangerous prospect throughout. It required some strong Sam and William defending to keep them out and with William covering the ball a shot just flashed wide. The Vipers had 2 quick corners, the first beautifully weighted by William (commented on by the opposing fans) that Charlie met beautifully to header just over the bar. However it was short corner well worked from the Albury side where they managed to sneak the ball in the far post from the right to make it 4-3. The Albury crowd were now rallied, and the excitement grew (in a respectful way!) as the game was coming to a climax.
Max made a couple of vital clearances and it was end to end. Notable was a long-range chip from Jody over a keeper that was miles out of his area to see it bounce just wide. The boys saw the game out and I think most were relieved to hear the final whistle for a fair, well fought and entertaining game come to close.
There were many notable performances and to be honest the author doesn’t always give his open opinion, but William Fielden should be called out specifically for covering every single inch of that pitch and battling throughout. Additionally, the physical presence from Cam makes a huge difference (literally) in that midfield area. The players gave the award to Raff who as I have commented also had an excellent and to be fair – he is the poster boy of the team J
Last word this week goes to Sam and Will (with a special photobomb appearance from George!)... Come on you PIES……..