VWFC vs Sutton Common Rovers
17/09/2016 Virginia Water 4 - 1 Sutton Common Rovers
Surrey Elite League Reserves Division
Report by Steve Cox
The visit of Sutton Common was on paper and turned out to be a tough test for the Waters.
The score line makes it look like a comfortable victory but doesn’t tell the whole story. Waters were magnificent in defence throughout led by two colossus performances by Billy Cox and Dean Guy in the centre of defence and well supported around them by Dave Atkins, Alex Saunders, goalkeeper Matt Hargreaves, Luke Sperling, Steve Mills, Sam Devoil and the magnificent Joe Moore. Then to add to the superb team performance Waters had two strikers in the shape of Martin Peters and Levi Jefford up for a tough afternoon upfront, who defended from the front as well as carrying a serious goal threat all afternoon. It was as good a team performance seen at the Timbers for a long while.
Waters first goal after 1 minute summed up the team effort. Straight from kick off with brilliant ball retention which probably involved 7 or 8 of the players as they switched the ball eventually from right to left, coach Colin Hodgkinson said 20 uninterrupted passes was finished off in scintillating fashion as Moore’s accurate pass from the left hand goal line was in two touches brilliantly curled into the far right had corner by the gifted Levi Jefford, definitely goal of the season contender and will take some beating for sure.
Sutton dealt with this setback well and with pace and power strove hard to get back into the game. They came up against a resolute Waters defence with the miserly Cox and Guy letting little get the better of them through the middle. Sutton’s main wing assaults came down Waters left but Joe Moore and the old warhorse Dave Atkins teamed up well to supress any imminent dangers.
This was turning out to be a great game of football, a game that could go either way. Sutton hit the post from a slight defensive mix-up but Waters after 23 minutes gained further advantage as another fox in the box goal - scored with a sniping header by the in-form Jefford from a Peters cross - made it 2-0. Sutton still played with a belief that they could get something from this game but Waters magnificently held firm and then rubbing salt into Sutton’s wounds plundered a third goal as Peters, a thorn in Sutton’s side, powered into the penalty area from the right. His first shot was well saved but he quickly seized onto the rebound and drove the ball low and hard into the net. It was 3-0 and summed up Waters effort on the day: strong and resilient in defence and confident composed and deadly in front of goal. Halftime brought to an end a brilliant Waters effort.
Manager Rob Lamb underlined to his players at the break that Sutton were still in this match and he was right. They came at Waters hard; Hargreaves had more to do now but still defensively Waters were rock solid although the pace down Sutton’s right now started to pay some dividends as some legs began to tire. Replacements Henry Sperling, Paul Butler and Jamie Kemp were brought on to give more energy to the battle that was still raging fiercely and stoked up further by Sutton’s 1st and only goal in the 69 minute. It was scored following a free kick, as through a packed penalty area, a Sutton player somehow squeezed a shot through a crowd of players into the Waters net.
Of course this lifted Sutton to even more effort although they were doing pretty well in the effort department before the goal anyway. Waters were not going to be denied today though. Still defending resolutely they always looked secure. Steve Mills epitomised the effort by playing a proper right hand midfield role second half by constantly being back in defence to help out team mate Alex Saunders at right back but then bombing forward and having significant contributions to Waters’ attacking effort.
Thankfully the game was finally won by the team’s heartbeat and driving force Luke Sperling in the 87th minute. This had to be a signature Sperling goal as he tenaciously scrapped for possession in the penalty area with a couple of Sutton defenders. Luke somehow has the knack of wanting the ball more than his rivals and getting it and this paid dividends as somehow he emerged with the ball and left footed curled the ball over the advancing keeper to give certain victory to a magnificent Waters effort that was accentuated by a great effort by Sutton Common who on another day would have beaten most teams in this division with ease.
One footnote to this afternoon’s action was the sad news of Paul May’s fractured collarbone he has been a great club man for many seasons and we all wish him a speedy recovery.
MoM = Joe Moore