VWFC vs Merrow
10/12/2016 Virginia Water 4 - 3 Merrow
Surrey Elite League Reserve Division
Report by Steve Cox
Football has some highs and plenty of lows , some games in one 90 minutes of action can alone generate enough highs and lows to last in the memory for an age , and therefore be revered as a match never to be forgotten. This game became exactly one of those matches, Roy of the Rovers stuff that you think you can only read about in a comic book.
The game began with Waters being forced to make 6 changes from last week’s squad, disappointing after the Farleigh fight back from last week. However the return of Luke Sperling being a massive plus and the Waters squad strength in depth showing its worth the 14 man team still looked more than capable of doing themselves proud against an improving Merrow team.
Unlike some recent performances Waters started pretty well and gave as good as they got, they were solid and organised in most areas of the pitch and the only area they let themselves down was in the chance taking department where really by halftime Waters should have been at least a couple of goals in front instead of level at 1-1. Waters opened the scoring in the 22nd minute as fine link up between debutant Sam Meadows and Scott Ancell allowed Meadows to race through and confidently fire Waters ahead past the on rushing keeper. It was a deserved lead but Merrow were a plucky outfit and constantly probed for a way back in to the game that was quickly becoming a good contest. With 35 minutes gone Merrow were back level as, following a freekick, the ball broke on the edge of the box to a Merrow player and his low drive beat an unsighted Matt Hargreaves in the right bottom corner. It was Merrow’s first shot on target. Halftime arrived leaving a slightly frustrated Waters as the collection of missed chances meant honours even from a half that home side should have been ahead.
Waters’ management felt a reproduction of their first half performance would ultimately win them the game, this assumption would in the end prove to be incorrect as it turned out they would need to produce far more.
For the first 20 minutes Waters pressed hard to get back in the lead playing some great football, Alex Saunders having an outstanding game on the right of midfield leading the way with many fine bursts of pace, power and skill down the flank and then delivering some impressive crosses to boot. Joe Moore hit the post after some fine team build up play and it just wasn’t looking like Waters’ day. Then things turned against Waters as firstly a knee injury to the hard working David Guy brought an end to his effort. Then minutes later a breakout from defence by Merrow saw them take a 2-1 lead as their right winger fired home when put clean through, it was only their second shot on target.
It was not looking good for Waters, but as they showed last week they do have a fire in their belly as they regrouped and went in search of an equaliser. Once again fine play down the right flank resulted in some fine footwork in the penalty box by skipper Sperling which bamboozled a defender into a clumsy foul and Waters were correctly awarded a penalty. Last week’s penalty hero Dave Atkins stepped up again but the keeper made a brilliant save. It could not have been anyone else really as man of the match Alex Saunders arrived first to smash home the rebound!! It was 2 -2. The gloom as the sun went down went unnoticed as the game went into overdrive. Five minutes after Waters equaliser in the 83rd minute, after conceding a couple of needless free kicks and ultimately forced to concede a corner, Hargreaves’ decent enough punched clearance was well volleyed straight back past him to put Merrow 3-2 ahead.
Surely Waters couldn’t lift themselves again and find a way back into the match! If anybody doubted this team’s resolve and fighting qualities they would have to admit they were very much mistaken! Forcing Merrow back into their own half and forcing numerous corners, wonderfully delivered by the substitute Callum Taylor Waters had Merrow on the rack. Then in the 89th minute another sub Tom Flower drew an unnecessary tackle from a beleaguered Merrow defender and Waters were correctly awarded another penalty. This time another Waters hero emerged as big Dean Guy stepped up and smashed home the penalty to level up this amazing football match. Believe it or not it wasn’t finished yet as in injury time more Waters pressure, another devastating Taylor corner and a thumping header from eight yards by colossus Dean Guy put Waters in ecstasy as he put Waters 4-3 up. The referee allowed the restart and then blew his final whistle which must have felt like a dagger to the heart of a gallant Merrow team, only seconds away from a battling 3-3 draw, phew!!
This was fine team performance today with every player in the side playing their part in unforgettable match, well done lads!
MoM = Alex Saunders