‘A’ Team Match Report: Godstone 4 – 0 Reigate Priory ‘A’

The Redhill & District Intermediate Cup fixtures took place this weekend with Priory A travelling to division 2 side, Godstone. Godstone had been having an excellent start to the season having won all of their games so far, Priory knew this would be a tough test even if they had still been on their good start-of-season run.

Again there were a few changes to the side with some players making their first appearance for the A team this season and others coming back up into the team. Marc Connelly took the gloves this week, the team’s fourth keeper so far this year, Luke Smith made a return to the side at right back. Dave Hall took the left back position with Gilo and Steve Gardner maintaining their partnership at the heart of the defence.

The captain Aaron Lawrence return to the centre of midfield for his first start in three weeks along Wes Green, Lawrence Mayanja and the returning Ben Vezza made up the midfield. Matt Bone started up front with the fit again Sean Doyle. Tim Austin made the step up to the A team as the versatile substitute.

The game started well for both sides but the only decent chances fell to Godstone. Priory were unable to complete an effective final ball and the attacking players didn’t really trouble the keeper in the open 15 minutes. Godstone were having better luck on the attack however and forced a corner 20 minutes into the game. The Godstone corner was whipped in with pace, height and curl beating Connelly and causing confusion at the back post. The defender at the back post was unable to get a head to the ball before it crossed the line. Priory founds themselves one nil down to a freak goal.

Godstone shortly after the first added a second. The Priory defence was caught napping as a midfield runner over lapped the strikers to latch onto the through ball, slotting away the chance inside the box, unchallenged.  To be fair to the defence there was a decent argument for offside against the Godstone forward who was walking back onside as the ball was played through. Was he interfering with play? Probably, given he had to skip out of the way of the pass, but the flag stayed down and the referee let the goal stand.

A few minutes from half time Priory were made to suffer again for poor defending. Godstone’s centre midfielder made his way forward with the ball and managed to get to the edge of the box almost unchallenged. The Priory players thought about closing the player down, but left it too late and the Godstone player picked out the bottom corner beating the outstretched Connelly. Yet again the Priory were punished for standing off of the opposition.

The first half finished 3-0.

The second half, as always, started better than the first, however, as with last week’s game, it was perhaps too late to salvage anything from the game. Unless of course, Priory could get the next goal. However, this wasn’t to be and the Godstone fourth goal really took the wind out of the sails of the Priory players who had up until that point been holding their own and putting together some nice pieces of play. Perhaps it was the manner of the goal that really damaged the spirits of the team? A Godstone free kick found its way into the box and was slashed at by a number of players before falling to Hall. Under pressure to clear the ball and with Godstone players closing in, Hall unfortunately knocked the ball into his own net with his knee. Hall will undoubtedly be annoyed with the own goal but to his credit he did very well to pounce on the loose ball in an effort to clear the danger, something that other players weren’t switched onto quick enough. The last 20 minutes saw Priory try and salvage some pride from the game with decent interchanges between the forwards and midfielders, but as in the first half, no clear cut chance were created and the keeper was ultimately untested throughout the second half.

The game finished 4-0 to Godstone.

Priory now only have the league to focus on, but this was and still is the main focus of this season. However, if the Priory A team are to get out of the third division some more desire will be needed. If the Priory players continue to stand off decent attacking sides, they could find themselves conceding a lot more soft goals.

The A team has a weekend off with the league campaign taking centre stage again on the 12th November with the visit of Wallington.