Battersea Ironside vs VWFC
25/02/2017 Battersea Ironside 3 - 1 Virginia Water
Surrey Elite League Reserve Division Challenge Cup
Report by Steve Cox
This afternoon’s League Cup quarter final, the last chance of any silverware for Virginia Water’s Reserves, was removed from the to-do list in no uncertain fashion by Battersea Ironsides who thoroughly deserved their victory as they marched into the semi-final of the league cup.
The desire, attitude and teamwork of the two sides were oceans apart. There was only one team on the pitch today that, as a unit, looked like they really wanted victory and it wasn’t Virginia Water. Too many of the players had no stomach for the battle today as Battersea dominated in the tackle in the air and in front of goal. At times it was pretty embarrassing and proved that egos do not win football matches, only real desire and hard work do.
With the wind behind them, Battersea were all over Waters and on a tight narrow pitch there was nowhere to hide. Waters’ midfield were bypassed as long, searching balls from the Battersea backline bombarded the Waters defence. Somehow for over 20 minutes a beleaguered Waters held out until Dave Atkins, left one on one, was outpaced by the Battersea number 9 and he poked the ball into the net past the stranded Michael Chambers.
The goal seemed to allow Waters some breathing space as Battersea eased off a little. Feeding off of scraps a couple of chances came their way. From the touchline view Callum Taylor missed the best chance of the match as confusion between himself and Aaron Nevitt ended with his shot at a seemingly open goal missing the left hand post. Then Billy Cox’s header from Taylor’s corner going powerfully straight into the keepers arms. To be honest Waters looked clueless in the attacking third; Scott Ancell worked hard but had virtually no support in any shape or form throughout the match, a problem this team has had for most of the season.
Battersea scored their second goal in the 33rd minute as the referee awarded a penalty against Cox for handball. It was unlucky but looked like a penalty from the view of the dugout - the ball ricocheted off the Battersea striker’s knee and hit Cox’s arm. 2-0 down Waters looked down and out. However a lifeline was grabbed when confusion between the Battersea keeper and a defender allowed Ancell to poach the ball and slip it into the unguarded net, against the run of play the away side were back in it 2-1 down at halftime.
With the wind behind Waters in the second half, what could they do? The answer, not a lot. Plenty of possession and territory but the desire and determination to score the equaliser was not there and outweighed massively by Battersea’s desire not to concede. As a team Waters were second best, barely creating one good goal scoring opportunity second half as they huffed and puffed their way out of the league cup. Battersea put the final nail in Waters’ coffin in the 80th minute as their number 10 was allowed far too much time and room down the right, 10 yards out just outside the angle of the 6 yard box, to fire home powerfully past an unprotected Chambers. It was weak defending.
Today’s overwhelming defeat was a watershed, as it has proved what manager Rob Lamb has suspected for weeks, that many of the players who expect week in week out to be picked to play in this team are, when put to a real footballing test, quite frankly not up to it when faced with winning mentalities like Battersea Ironside. Something needs to change.
MoM = Ross Miller
Luke Sperling (c)