Battling display just falls short
By Steve Rolfe
Wars go in front twice but Banstead get the points after a hard fought battle
Combined Counties League Division One—Monday 1st April
Banstead Athletic 5 Warlingham 3
This has proved to be a difficult season for both clubs so both teams were hoping for a positive result to build on as the season draws towards a close. At least it has stopped raining which has meant we have played some football with mixed outcomes over the last week. Now all we have to contend with is the bitter cold!
Trevor and Darran had many players not available due to work commitments and the eater holiday but those that stepped up had a chance to impress and impress they certainly did.
Wars started with an unfamiliar line up but in positive mood and on the front foot in a game that turned out to be dominated by attacking intention. Within 10 minutes of the start Lewis Blake, starting for the first time, finished with a well struck shot from the end of the box and Wars were in front. Unfortunately the changes at the back had not had time to gel when Banstead came calling. A curling ball was knocked into the box from the right and Wars were found wanting as the Banstead centre forward made a late run and had an easy finish to make it 1-1.
Blake and Spencer were proving to be a handful up front for Wars and no sooner had Banstead levelled and Wars were back in front. Spencer made progress down the Wars left and arrowed a cross into the near post where Lewis Blake did the rest to put Wars back in front at 2-1.. Straight back up the other end and a cross into the Wars box was met on the penalty spot by an unchallenged Banstead forward who finished well with his head leaving Dilley in goal no chance.
Just when the Wars supporters were beginning to believe it could be our day Banstead scored again as Wars failed to clear and the ball was fired home from 18 yards to put Banstead 3-2 up at half time.
The late arriving Elliott Blake was introduced at half time for Biggy Big to shore up the centre of the Wars defence but unfortunately there was no time to see any improvement as Banstead came straight out and went 4-2 up as Dilley came rushing out of goal but was beaten to the ball and the forward slotted the ball into an empty net from 25 yards. Wars kept battling to get back in the game and Wilson was introduced and made an immediate impact with his composure and uncanny ability to find the feet of his own team mates in intricate forward moves. Despite this and the stellar efforts of Spencer Wars could not break down a more resolute Banstead defence.
This continued for much of the 2nd half with Wars “banging on the door” without creating any serious chances. At the other end Banstead were trying to play on the break and their extra pace up front was always a threat. To add further insult to injury they went further ahead with just 10 minutes left on one such break leaving Wars with a mountain to climb.
Despite this Wars kept battling and eventually one their reward when Robson following in as the Banstead defence failed to score and slotted in well from 12 yards to set up a tense final few minutes for Banstead who eventually ran out winners 5-3.
Team: Dilley, Gladwin, Nicoli, Coates, Balugan, Giles, Robson, Marks, Spencer, Blake (L), Abbott Subs used: Blake (E), Wilson, Sewell
MOM: There were lots of good performances despite the disappointing result.Nicoli held things together at the back and Gladwin was his normal combative self. In midfield Giles did well on his return after a long lay off and Robson never stopped running. Balugan and Coates coped well despite playing out of position. Lewis Blake up front took two excellent goals and always looked a threat. And Spencer battled for everything and added some extra guile and intelligence and didn't deserve to end up on the losing side.
In view of the nature of the circumstances and the performance I have to give the MOM award to the whole team for what was an excellent effort, showing great character.