Abbey Rangers vs VWFC
08/10/2016 Abbey Rangers 1 - 1 Virginia Water
Surrey Elite League Reserves Division
Report by Steve Cox
This local derby, played on a perfect pitch in perfect footballing conditions, served up to a healthy crowd of spectators an enthralling game of football. Waters, after two recent lacklustre performances, managed to produce a much more committed and gutsy performance that earned them the right to a share of the points. Nothing less would have done against a strong Abbey Rangers side who, on the day, would have beaten most teams in the division.
Waters started well and played the better football for the first 20 minutes. They took the lead after 15 minutes as Levi Jefford rifled home from 15 yards from the centre of the area as the Abbey defence hesitated. Abbey slowly fought their way into the match as a succession of free kicks - some harshly awarded by a fussy referee - put Waters under pressure and knocked the wind out of their sails.
20 minutes from halftime Abbey grabbed an equaliser. It was a poor goal to concede by Waters as lack of communication - a Waters trait - between keeper Matt Hargreaves and central defender Dean Guy allowed Abbey’s centre forward with ease to lob the stranded Hargreaves. Now Abbey’s tails were up as they camped out in the Waters half. However resilient defending mainly from Guy, Dave Atkins and Billy Cox, and some solid goal keeping from Hargreaves weathered the storm.
Waters managed to finish the half as the slightly stronger team as they threatened the Abbey goal on a couple of occasions. Waters’ midfield working hard and led by an inspired performance by skipper Luke Sperling had regained the initiative. The wide midfielders Joe Moore and Alex Saunders’ hard work caused Abbey problems down the flanks and the returning Sam Devoil showed his class in the midfield battle alongside Sperling.
The halftime break didn’t do the away side any favours as Abbey, with renewed vigour, came hard at the Waters defence. Once again they held firm and it was wonderful to see 16 year old Tom Flower at left back play such a mature part in this Waters defensive masterclass. On the hour Ollie Rosborough came into the fray in replace of debutant Dave Guy who had played a fine part in this gutsy Waters performance. Rosborough going up front with the tireless Jefford made a significant contribution showing good skills and body strength, caused Abbey some problems and produced the save of the match from Abbey’s keeper as his fine turn and shot from an acute angle was beaten away. Then Henry Sperling replaced the tiring Saunders with 20 minutes to go and he too, showed a great attitude rallied round the Waters flag as they battled for victory.
When the final whistle came both teams had given everything , maybe Abbey’s direct long ball style of play had put the away defence under more pressure but Waters deserved their point simply because as a team effort you couldn’t really ask for more as they stuck to their task in fine style.
MoM = Luke Sperling