Ashridge Park 1 Camberley Town Youth Renegades 4
13 mins: 0-1
50 mins: 0-2
62 mins: 1-2 (James Riley)
74 mins: 1-3
77 mins: 1-4
Star Player: Tim Wyper
I am no golfer. Far from it. In fact, I am to golf what the leader of the free world is to humility, natural hair and normal size hands. But the great Gary Player is famously reported to have said, in response to an accusation that he was lucky, something like: "The more I practise, the luckier I get". This is true of most things in life, including football - and I wish I had understood it better when I was 16.
Our support at kick-off was heavily outnumbered by the opposition. but the chat among parents on the touchline was right on point. Mainly about state-of-the-art audio visual equipment as it happens. It reminded me of the story of when John Logie Baird invented the TV. He invited his friends round to have a look. “Fantastic”, they remarked, in awe-struck amazement. “Aye”, JLB replied in his slightly dour Scots accent, “But there’s **** all on”. Maybe he saw the future because arguably his comment applies equally today, when everyone has access to about 700 channels.
Anyway, we were back at St Crispins, and Graham had a starting squad of 12 against a team that beat us (narrowly I think) back in the Autumn.
We were soon on the back foot, as Camberley’s organisation, physicality (and in truth skill) gave them the upper hand. Joe made a couple of excellent saves, getting down very smartly to push a shot round his left post, and then clutching the ball bravely as the Camberley striker pounced onto a rebound. We were restricted mainly to long balls over the top which their defence handled pretty comfortably. Our cause wasn't helped with Jamie picking up an arm injury early on, and although he soldiered on for a while, he had to come off before half-time and took no further part in the game.
Eventually the pressure told. Their winger found space on the right, swung a ball into the box, and their striker hooked it in with his heel, almost over his shoulder. It was either a stroke of genius or a fluke - take your pick. But either way it was 0-1 on 13 minutes. That seemed to wake us up, and we started to play some decent passing stuff and began to ask questions of the Camberley defence. However, we didn’t really trouble their keeper, and went in a goal down at half time. 0-1 was to be honest no more than Camberley deserved.
It was to be hoped that the boys would take heart from Graham’s half time team talk – that we had been better towards the end of that first half. But Camberley started the more lively. They soon had us pinned back and a break opened up the defence and their striker finished smartly in the corner. 0-2 on 50 minutes.
That was the kick up the backside Ashridge needed and we started passing the ball quicker, and matching Camberley’s physicality. We won a free kick about 30 metres out, which James swung in with a bit of curl, from the left. It passed everyone in the box and into the corner of the net. 1-2 after 62 minutes.
We then had our best period of the game, with Felix and Antonio both slotting wide when through on the keeper, and Alex planting a header just past the near post from Felix's corner. That was a shame, but the fact that the chances were created was really encouraging.
Camberley, with options off the bench, finished the stronger. Twice in the last six minutes they capitalised on our tired legs. 1-4 the final score.
Graham was right that the final score was not a fair reflection, but in my view Camberley deserved the win, having done the simple things well. Slightly more hunger, physicality and shape. And their no 15 and 7 (who had a good game) found too much space in the midfield.
Can we do better next game and for the rest of the season? Yes we can. If the boys remain switched on throughout, make sure they are first to the loose ball and keep up the physicality they showed in the middle third of the game. And especially if we remember Gary Player's very wise words. In general, if you get the basics right, the luck will follow. Roll on next match.
Report by Max Galla
Certainly no argument from me about the result as Camberley were the better team overall and their pace and width up-front asked us questions which we struggled to answer. The shame was that we did get on top for a substantial period of the second half and had the opposition coaches pacing the touchline in anxiety as we set up a grandstand finish, only to make careless errors at the back that allowed them to kill off the game and rack up a margin that didn't truly reflect proceedings. As Max says, some of the basics went awry for us. A couple of shout-outs: James Riley again showed well whilst in central midfield and helped us wrestle control back from the opposition, whilst Alex did well in all three positions he played during the game, winning most of his tackles and getting some good clearing headers in; he also now seems to be posing a threat in the air from set pieces. Today's nod for star player goes to Tim, who at left back was up against a skilful and pacey striker, but managed him well - indeed as an example of how to do the basics well, you couldn't really do better.