Assists from Jowitt and Bone (2)
It has been 4 weeks since Reigate Priory ‘A’ have had a league match and after 2 defeats in cup competitions and a much needed week off last week it was time for the ‘A’s’ to focus on the league against Wallington, who they lost to 5-0 in the opening game of the season.
With Sean Doyle the manager not available Aaron Lawrence stood in as player manager and played a new 4-5-1 system. Last time Wallington had dominated the midfield and won the match from there.
Priory started very strongly. Matt Bone whose work rate was exceptional, defended from the top, putting their centre backs under pressure continuously, which led to Wallington attempting the long ball over the defence to their quick forward to run on to, but it was dealt with well by the back line and Gus.
The whole team battled through the first half against a very physical Wallington, but the difference seemed to be that Priory wanted to keep the ball and play decent football. The aim was to keep the ball on the floor, exploit the wings and pace of our own wingers, Ben Vezza and Martin Baxter, who definitely did not disappoint with superb movement and energy. As the half went on the new centre midfield partnership of Jowitt and Herbie began to gel and the link play throughout the team gave Priory the belief that this match was there’s for the taking. Priory’s best opportunity came from a corner which saw Gilo hit the crossbar when the ball dropped at his feet. The first half finished 0-0.
Priory started the second half with more confidence and it was obvious that Wallington were getting frustrated with the constant pressure and their physical presence bordered on dangerous with many players being kicked up in the air. Priory dealt with this well and continued in vain to play football and get the much deserved goals that they had threatened throughout the match.
Priory’s first goal came from a long ball from Aaron Lawrence to Matt Bone, whose tenacity led to him having a shot blocked by the goalkeeper, then winning the ball off the defender who collected the loose ball. Bone then laid the ball off to a supporting Ben Vezza to slot home from just outside the area: 1-0! With half an hour left on the clock, both Tim Austin and Wes Green came on for Lee Wilmot and Martin Baxter. Making these substitutions were difficult as every player on the field was having a superb game, but the fresh legs just added to the desire wanted by the whole team.
Wallington continued to make Priory work for their victory and got back into the match by hitting the ball low through a crowd of defenders. Gus saw this late and could not react as it went in just under him, but Priory were not going to be disheartened by this.
The second goal came from a free kick that was won by Wes out wide on the right, just outside the area, Pete Jowitt lined up the delivery and Luke Smith made a late run into the area towards the front post, as directed by Aaron. He was not picked up and Jowitt placed the ball right onto his head which he flicked past the keeper into the net: 2-1.
Priory’s focus had slightly changed now and the aim was to keep the lead for the final 15 minutes. The solid, organised defence of Tim, Dave, Aaron, Luke, and Gilo as defensive midfielder, continued making the important tackles supported by the disciplined midfield four, to see this game out. But when Wallington’s defence had the ball, Matt Bone continually put the pressure on. The third goal came from a defensive mistake which saw a defender slice a clearance and it dropped kindly into the net: 3-1.
With about 7 minutes to go Priory were under pressure as Wallington used their best asset, their lightning quick forward and managed to put him through. Aaron struggled to keep up with him and accidentally took him out in the area for a penalty. The same forward took the penalty and put it into the bottom corner to make for a dangerous final five minutes.
A few minutes later saw the same tactic used and Aaron was against him again. This time Aaron took ball then man but the referee saw differently and gave a free kick. Priory defended this superbly and the sense of victory seemed a lot closer!
The final minute of the game saw Carl Giles taken out in the opposition half and kicked in the back by the frustrated Wallington midfielder who Gilo had kept quiet throughout the match. Gilo came up arms swinging and hair thrashing, when another Wallington player threw him to the floor. The referee then sensibily decided to call full-time and Priory had won this intense battle.
Every player contributed to this vital win and picking a man of the match is going to be near impossible task. Where will the returning Sean Doyle and Steve Gardner fit in next week?