VWFC vs Chalvey Sports
24/03/2018 Virginia Water Reserves 2-2 Chalvey Sports
Hellenic Division Two East
Report by Steve Cox
Virginia Water’s Reserves produced their best performance of the season so far, as they held the Hellenic League 2 East juggernaut that is Chalvey Sports to a well-deserved draw. Earlier in the season Waters were on the end of a 5-0 drubbing and the odds on denying Chalvey a victory today would not have been good. However, with an upturn in form in recent matches hopes were high that the home side could make life a bit more difficult today for the champions elect. A great all-round team effort based on a 4-5-1 formation and a disciplined and organised performance laid the platform for this impressive effort.
Waters in the first half spent long periods in their own half of the pitch, which was expected, but defensively they were superb; the back four were resolute throughout as they denied Chalvey very few clear-cut goal-scoring opportunities. Dave Atkins and Mike Chambers had fine matches but additionally young Dan Stevens and Billy Cox played at a very high level. Backed up by a 5-man midfield, which was driven on by to outstanding performances by Ross Miller and Skipper Luke Sperling, Waters continually held their own in a well-contested match. Halftime came with the score locked at 0-0 and Chalvey were looking just a little less confident than they had begun the match.
Could Waters keep up their performance levels in the second half? The answer basically became an emphatic yes as the half unfolded. After 53 minutes, almost unexpectedly, Waters took the lead as yet another great Sperling tackle gave possession to 16 year old Harrision Duff on the right side of the corner of the Chalvey penalty box. Showing great skill and awareness Duff clipped a 20 yard shot over the goalkeeper into the far corner for a brilliant first senior goal. Chalvey’s response, however, was immediate as from the restart they equalised. Waters were still celebrating their goal and switched off to allow an almost unchallenged Chalvey striker to level from 8 yards out.
Waters responded well and Duff reminded Chalvey that there was still a game to win as he fired just over from the edge of the penalty box. Alex Saunders and Scott Ancell replaced Sam Meadows and Harry Brooks in the 60th minute and these fresh legs, along with the introduction of young Tom Flower 10 minutes later, lifted Waters to a rousing finale in the final quarter of the game. First of all they had to get over the disappointment of going 2-1 down as Chalvey’s left midfielder was given a bit too much room to hit a brilliant 25 yard screamer into the far corner giving the valiant Mark Pisani no chance.
Maybe Chalvey thought they had the game in the bag and eased off a little - it didn’t seem that way but Waters responded really well to going 2-1 behind and for sure the last 15 minutes were their best moments in the match. Scott Ancell was the Catalyst for the Waters revival as his strength and commitment up front gave Chalvey real defensive problems. Then there was a performance of real quality from Flower who, for his 20 minutes on the pitch, made a real impact down the left flank as Waters looked for an equaliser. But with time running out the last word came from Alex Saunders and Steve Mills as Saunders showing pace and strength down his right flank fired in low and hard a wonderful cross that a Chalvey defender did well to get behind for a corner and not into his goal. From the resulting Steve Mills corner the Referee spotted a Chalvey defender holding Tom Flower on the goal line and awarded Waters a penalty. Mills, striding up to the spot, brilliantly lashed the penalty kick home with unstoppable power to make it 2-2. The game did not even restart as the referee blew for full time.
It was a deserved draw for this hardworking team, and the blend of youth and experience that manager Rob Lamb is putting onto the field is paying dividends with some impressive performances in recent weeks.
MoM: Ross Miller