A much changed RPFC A team made its way to Court Lodge for another pre-season friendly against fellow Redhill & District Division 3 side, Overton Athletic.
Only 3 players from last week’s win over RH123 ‘A’ were in the squad, Aaron Lawrence, Sean Doyle and Martin Baxter. Stu Jones and Ben Vezza had been called up for a reserve team appearance and as many as 6 others were unavailable this weekend.
James Richardson was between the sticks with a back line including John Braund, Gilo, Tony Evans and Nathan Philips, who was making his A team debut. The midfield still looked strong despite the number of absentees from last week. Lawrence and Paul Reece started in the middle of the park, Michael Williams and Martin Baxter taking the wider positions.
Sean Doyle and Matt Bone were in the attack looking to continue their good form of late. Paul Fatkin, Tim Austin and Oli Owens made up the bench, but all had significant roles to play in the game when they all came on.
The game started well with Priory making the first attack in the first few moments of the game. However immediately from the goal kick Priory found themselves under pressure and conceded a weak goal. This set the tone for the first half. A combination of short sharp passing and quick feet caught the whole Priory team napping with the score 6-2 at half time.
Baxter found the net from just inside the box after a Lawrence corner was pushed out by the Overton Keeper to make the score 4-1. Paul Reece popped up at the back post minutes after Baxter’s goal to volley the ball in the roof of the net after another Baxter cross sailed over everyone in the box and bounced up nicely.
A few serious words were exchanged in the dressing room at half time and changes were made. Tim Austin took the place of John Braund at right back and Oli Owens came in the centre of midfield for Reece for his Priory debut, with Paul Fatkin having replaced Matt Bone just before the break. But these changes didn’t prove enough to turn the tie, however Priory did manage to tighten things up at the back and the second half finished 1-1, Matt Bone with the finish, rising like a salmon to beat the defender well and connect with yet another Baxter cross.
The in-form Martin Baxter scooped this week’s man of the match award with another fine attacking display, having a hand in all three goals for the second week running.
The Priory players must now expect competition from those that missed this week’s game as they prepare for their penultimate preseason friendly against Charlwood Reserves next week.