RHP 3-2 Holy Trinity
Fine lines between two title contenders in intense opener.
The first day of the month. The first game of the new season. And what a game to start the campaign. Two teams who are being heavily touted as THE title contenders battle it out in the season opener.
RHP with a few names missing, field a strong eleven, which saw Daryl Price and Luke Boddy come back into the starting eleven. Ryan Ashley and Craig Self starting at full backs where they left off last season. Conor Scott partnered with Jordan Boas and Kieran Conway defending the net as goalkeeper. Luke Boddy and Nick Walker in the middle of the park with the in-form Rhuel Samuels and Leighton Nicholson starting on the wings. Daryl Price came back into the side upfront alongside captain Chris Self.
RHP wearing the unfamiliar blue strip as Holy Trinity wore green and white. The teams shook hands and play began on a sunny day at the YMCA Sports Arena.
The game started with Holy Trinity passing the ball around well and trying to start the game on the front foot and take the game to RHP.
Liam Moran, captain of the greens, was pulling strings early doors and trying to make things happen.
The front pairing of Holy Trinity looked lively and created a few early chances to put RHP on the back foot.
A couple of efforts, worked well from Trinity could only be put wide by the front men.
RHP continued to look slow and lethargic as Trinity carried on with the early pressure, this time, a run from deep midfield turned into a pacy attack, but the effort from the front man was saved by Kieran Conway, who would have an eventful match.
RHP began to get the ball from defence and try and play football, but pressure from the Trinity front line made it difficult to really get the game going for RHP.
A foul on the halfway line gave RHP a free kick, and a chance to pump a ball forward in the effort to try and pattern a chance.
Conor Scott took charge and launched a dangerous ball into a packed penalty area which was attacked by Luke Boddy. The Trinity defender headed the ball away from the RHP midfielder but inadvertently headed into his own net and made it 1-0 to the home side. A goal out of nothing for the team playing in blue, but they wasn’t complaining. First blood to RHP.
Soon after the goal, Trinity came back at RHP, the ball being played out to the right winger who had a strong game. He used his pace to beat Ryan Ashley but couldn’t find a cross to match the run and the chance fizzled out.
RHP started to wake up and began to pass the ball around confidently. Some good link up play between the front men and some chances were finally coming but they weren’t good enough to beat the young keeper in net for Trinity.
RHP continued to attack and got another reward. Brilliant link up play down the left between Ryan Ashley and Leighton Nicholson created plenty of space. Leighton Nicholson weaving his way through two challenges to push the ball into the path of Daryl Price who happily accepted the chance and coolly slotted home to make it 2-0.
From the restart, Trinity looked deflated, and it cost them as the ball was stolen almost immediately by an alert Daryl Price who used his slick footwork to get away from three defenders before smashing a right foot shot into the near top corner from the edge of the area. A wonderful solo goal which was applauded by both sets of fans and players alike.
3-0. Utter shock from everyone watching. Trinity who had played well, crumbled in a crazy 5 minutes. RHP making the most of some sloppy mistakes and making them count.
Trinity restarted again from the centre circle and almost immediately responded with a lovely move down the right again. The ball going over the top to the right winger who created some space inside the box and lashed the ball off the post. The ball had beaten the defender and goalkeeper but the post came to RHP’s rescue.
More pressure came from Trinity, which saw them win a free kick on the edge of the area after a clumsy challenge by Luke Boddy. After lengthy discussion, the ball was placed down by the Trinity right back who went under the wall and slotted home into the bottom corner. 3-1. A goal which was deserved for Trinity but a disappointing one for RHP to concede.
The half time whistle came moments later and bought a close to an eventful first half with plenty of action. A brilliant game so far for the neutral with both teams showing moments of pure class and brilliant football.
The second half begun much like the first with Trinity trying to get back into the game with flowing football. The midfield of Holy Trinity continuing to win every ball and trying to pattern some early chances which were saved well by Kieran Conway.
Conor Scott and Jordan Boas with plenty to do, defending well and forcing the Trinity players to long shots from outside the area. Ryan Ashley and Craig Self also limiting the wingers as much as they could.
RHP created some chances of there own. Some brilliant work once again down the left saw Leighton Nicholson create some space and play in Daryl Price who blasted the ball at the onrushing keeper. Chris Self followed up but shot just wide.
Ryan Ashley who played well came off for Luke Willows and Luke Boddy who was struggling with an injury came off for Joe Powell who returned to the side after a couple of weeks away.
Trinity carried on pressing and got some luck, Liam Moran running past two challenges and smashing the ball in off the crossbar to make it 3-2. Kieran Conway who had made some crucial saves before couldn’t get his hand to that one.
Trinity carried on pushing and the biggest controversy came on the 65th minute of the game. A silky run from the midfielder was halted inside the penalty box with a last minute challenge by Jordan Boas. The referee blew instantly for a penalty. The RHP player incensed with this decision shouted abuse at the referee and saw red for dissent. On closer inspection, if VAR was available in Sunday league, the penalty decision definitely would of been overturned as the ball was won fantastically by the RHP defender.
The home side had to play the rest of the game with 10 men and after all the commotion, the ball was put on the spot for the penalty. The Trinity captain stepped up to take and missed. The ball went wide of the post and some would say justice was served as the penalty was wrongly awarded in the first instance.
George Ryan came on for Rhuel Samuels to try and help out in midfield and fill any gaps that would be missing due to the red card.
The game plan changed for RHP and they had to defend for their lives as Trinity continued to pour forward and were camped in RHP’s half.
Attack after attack was dealt with by the defence and Kieran Conway who strongly collected shot after shot.
Adam Boddy came on for Nicholson to add some height in the midfield and win some vital headers to keep the ball away from the RHP penalty area.
Every player worked hard for 25 minutes and saw the job through to the final whistle. Trinity heads dropped and RHP heads relieved after what was an intense battle for the opening game of the season.
Respect and handshakes at the full time whistle between both teams who will be challenging for the title come the end of the season.
Plaudits went out to the defence for the hard work and determination shown to prevent Trinity from scoring the all important equaliser. The midfield battled and worked hard. Recognition to Daryl Price for scoring two excellent goals and showing his Sergio Aguero-esque play which made the difference between the two sides.
But, the man of the match award was awarded to the RHP goalkeeper Kieran Conway. He made numerous saves in the second half to keep the score at 3-2 and demanded his area very well. A performance which helped RHP walk away with all 3 points and gain the first blood in the race for the Newark Alliance title.
Special mention to the lads of Holy Trinity. A brilliant team who have improved once again this year. After two tough tests last season, they really pushed RHP all the way this match and will definitely be up there fighting for the title and challenging for the cups this season.
Next Sunday sees RHP play away to newly promoted Collingham. Some vital players coming back into the side next week with a couple of injuries and Boas who will be missing due to suspension, and a chance to build on a win that was very tough to gain.
Managers Match Ratings:
Kieron Conway - 8.9
Craig Self - 8.4
Conor Scott - 8.6
Jordan Boas - 8.6
Ryan Ashley - 8.4
Luke Boddy - 8.6
Nick Walker - 8.5
Leighton Nicholson - 8.6
Rhuel Samuels - 8.5
Chris Self - 8.4
Daryl Price - 8.7
Adam Boddy - 7.9
Luke Willows - 7.8
George Ryan - 7.8
Joe Powell - 7.9
Man of the Match:
Daryl Price x2, Own Goal
Conor Scott, Leighton Nicholson