Saturday 11th September – Today saw our first game of the season, away to Horley Town A. They were a young side and it looked like it would be a tough game. The pitch was good and the weather was ideal for football, quite warm and nice and wet!! With the new set up there were a number of new faces as the 3’s and 4’s had merged and we had a few players down from the reserves.
We started well and played some very nice football from the start. We were playing a 5 3 2 formation with a view to using the wings to greater effect. The defence was very strong and we were controlling the centre of the pitch when on 25 minutes Tony Manning burst through and struck an absolute cracker to put us 1 0 up. Nothing more than we deserved!! Ash and Tony were giving us much better options up front and we were causing Horley lots of problems at the back. We launched another good attack down the left which found Ash in front of goal with ball at his feet, it must have hit a bobble because it didn’t nestle in the back of the net as everyone had expected!! We surged forward again down the right and put in a great cross for the Crunch to head home, 2 0 and playing well. We continued to move the ball well and were attacking effectively down the wings but couldn’t increase our lead before the ref blew up for half time. We had played very well and could have gone in 3 or 4 up.
We had played well in the first half but needed to focus the second on talking to each other a lot more and playing our easy football. There was still a lot of football left in the game and we knew if Horley got 1 back it would give them the momentum. As expected Horley came at us from the start, we took too long to get our heads back in the game and after 2 minutes they found the bottom corner of our goal. 2 1, exactly what we didn’t want !! After that reality check we got our focus back in the game, we needed to strengthen it up in the middle so we went back to 4 4 2 with Jack Fortune going to left back and Daryl moving into left midfield. We started playing easy feet balls and using the pace of Tony and Ash which was paying dividends, Ollie Rolfe put in a beautiful cross which very nearly beat the keeper. On the 60th minute Ryan picked up the ball just outside the Horley penalty area and hit an unstoppable shot past the stricken Horley keeper. 2 minutes later Tony went flying through again and buried the ball in the back of Horleys net, we were buoyant now and Horley were starting to lose it!! We were dominating the play and Ash tricked his way into the penalty area where he was scythed down but to our amazement no penalty was given. However 5 minutes later Tony was treated just as badly and this time the ref did the right thing and Tony stepped forward to claim his hattrick and give us a 4 goal lead. It was just a question of how many we would get now and Horley were flying in to the challenges, to be fair we weren’t being particularly angelic. After being subject to an unwarranted attack Ryan let fly at some spotty little oik which unfortunately earnt him a booking!! We were playing really confidently and on the 79th minute Tony sealed a great victory with his 4th of the game and our 6th. It finished as 6 1 and was a great way to start the season.
Man of the match. A whole host of contenders out there this week but I have to give it to Tony, ran his heart out all game and scored 4 great goals.