Campbell heads firsts to victory
A Michael Campbell goal just shy of the hour gave the ten man first team a hard-fought win over Spelthorne Sports on Saturday.
It was a fairly tepid start to the game, with neither side gaining the upper hand in the opening exchanges. In fact the only points of interest in the opening minutes were a free kick from Liam Holden into the near post, which was fumbled by keeper William Price, but no SCR man was on hand to fire home the loose ball, and on ten minutes Sam Blowers was forced off with an injury.
We had a reasonable spell of possession whilst we were waiting for Danny Fernandez to replace Blowers, with Jordan Johnson-Palmer and Adam Allen linking up nicely to release Matty Auletta, but no-one was on hand to turn home his low cross.
At the other end, looking to make their temporary numerical advantage count, and George Murphy did well to intercept a ball from Lee Staples to Lewis Flatman as Spelthorne put us under a bit of pressure.
On the quarter hour Tommy Mooney and Keano Robinson had a good battle on the left hand side, with the ball eventually reaching L.Flatman but his low cross was well gathered by Craig Bradshaw.
We were almost caught over-playing when Robinson found Jeff Addo-Dankwa, but he let the ball run and was forced into a desperate toe in to prevent Staples picking up the loose ball, and seconds later Addo-Dankwa put in a stiff challenge on Jake Flatman, earning himself a booking.
Midway through the half and Spelthorne had a good chance to take the lead. A deep free kick was nodded back into the path of Qaseem Sotonwa, but we were able to half clear to J.Flatman, and his shot from distance was comfortably gathered by Bradshaw. At the other end and Johnson-Palmer did well to find Auletta, but his shot went high over the bar.
Allen found his way into the book on 29 minutes for handball in the Spelthorne area, before we found ourselves under a spell of Spelthorne pressure. We dealt with the danger and broke quickly through Michael Campbell and he was denied a shot by a superb challenge by Sotonwa. From the corner Addo-Dankwa thumped a header high over the crossbar.
L.Flatman fired a free kick straight into the wall after a foul by Fernandez on Joe Gregory and a minute later and our task was made harder, when Mooney was fouled by Addo-Dankwa and the big defender was shown a straight red card.
We managed to see out the rest of the half without incident, allowing Darren Salmon and Donny Rennalls to regroup the lads at the break.
Early in the second half and a contentious issue, when Fernandez fouled L.Flatman and was shoved to the floor in retaliation, with Flatman only shown a yellow card. Shortly after and Spelthorne replaced Flatman with Samuel Bello-Balogun.
On fifty-three minutes Johnson-Palmer did superbly on the left and set up Auletta, but he fired high over the crossbar.
Ten minutes into the half and Salmon made his second change, replacing Auletta with Marlon Pinder, and two minutes later came the only goal of the game. Fernandez was fouled on the left, Liam Holden swung over the free kick and Campbell powerfully header home, and celebrated to the fan who had been giving him grief all game long.
The scores were almost level a minute later after Bradshaw picked up a mis-directed Bogle backpass, leading to a free kick inside the SCR area. After a first effort was pulled back for encroachment, the second led to a spell of pinball in and around our six yard box, before the ball was somehow hooked off our line by Fernandez. From the loose ball Luke Richards fired goalwards, Bradshaw saved, and the pressure was relieved.
Spelthorne continued to put us under pressure, but our backline was holding firm and preventing Staples and Mooney from getting any joy. At the other end, Johnson-Palmer was too strong in the tackle for Jack Horsfall and fed Fernandez but his effort curled just the wrong side of the right hand post.
We had a spell of pressure, around the 70 minute mark, forcing several corners, and from one Campbell put a volley over the crossbar. A long ball forward then caused problems in our backline with Murphy fouling Mooney leading to a free kick twenty five yards from goal, but fortunately the strike came to nothing.
Former SCR man Ben Ewing, who had signed for Spelthorne on the Thursday, entered the fray on 71 minutes. With 15 minutes remaining, Bogle and Johnson-Palmer combined to set up Fernandez, his dinked ball to the back post was heading for Campbell, but Price did well to divert the ball away and out for a corner.
Fernandez denied J.Flatman on 76 minutes after a long Ewing throw had only been half cleared and another long throw was again half cleared, this time by Murphy and Josh Remedios dragged an effort wide of the right hand post.
With eight minutes remaining neat link up between Thomas Peel and Ewing, ended with a final ball in by Peel which was well defended by Murphy. The more defensive minded Anson Cousins replaced Johnson-Palmer with just over five minutes remaining as we looked to keep what we had.
A huge clearance on 87 minutes by Price dropped to the feet of Ewing but his shot went wide of the right hand post. Two minutes later and Staples headed a Peel cross over at the back post.
Deep into stoppage time, and desperate defending led to a foul on the edge of our area. The free kick by J.Flatman went wide of the left hand post, and the ten men had survived and picked up three vital points.