Finley Buckle making his debut

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Penn & Tyler Green 2017

Andreas Latta

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Penn secure third place despite losing last game

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Penn & Tylers Green FC’s last game of the season at home to Sandhurst Town produced a 4-1 defeat, but they still came a creditable third in the league at the end of a long season. Penn’s crippling injury and suspension list which has deprived them of 12 first team players for the last two games proved a burden ultimately too much to bear, and so they suffered back to back defeats to distinguish any championship hopes and a third championship was taken from their grasp. and that honour will go to Virginia Waters in their first season in the league, with Bicester Town taking second place.

Penn started well and for the first thirty-five minutes matched their opponents toe to toe and indeed after 20 minutes they could have gone ahead as a good ball into the box found Chris Hurst in space but he turned and missed his cue and shot tamely at the relieved Sandhurst goalkeeper. Sandhurst used the width of the pitch well and were always dangerous down the flanks, and so it was that from a pinpoint cross in the 36th minute Sandhurst’s prolific goal scorer Charlie Oakley was left unmarked and from 8 yards out he guided a perfect header into the top corner of the net over the despairing dive of Matt Cannings in the Penn goal. Two minutes later Penn were undone down the left wing this time as Charlie Oakley progressed to the bye line and sent in a perfect low cross and Conor Harlowe came racing in at the far post and tapped in from 6 yards to give Sandhurst a massive advantage to take into the half time break.

In the second half Penn were a much more competitive outfit than the first and showed early signs of getting back in the game with a couple of promising attacks, but ultimately the final ball was not effective today and the Sandhurst goalkeeper was rarely troubled. In the 53rd minute Penn’s resistance and resolve was virtually ended when Matt Cannings was adjudged to have brought down the Sandhurst forward and up stepped that man Charlie Oakley to confidently despatch the penalty into the corner to give Sandhurst an unassailable 3-0 lead. Penn were now looking a spent force but one very bright light for them this afternoon was the performance of young Finley Buckle, a young 17-year-old, making his full senior debut at full-back (he is normally a centre forward!) and his maturity and use of the ball and general performance belied his youthfulness. This was certainly a case of “out of darkness cometh light”!

Sandhurst were not to be denied a fourth goal and when they were awarded a free kick on the edge of the Penn penalty area, up stepped Adam Barnard to shoot straight through the bedraggled Penn wall to make the score 4-0. After this Penn battled on and never gave up and were now causing Sandhurst some problems with a string of attacking moves and finally their persistence and endeavours were rewarded with a very good goal as Casey Bocarro was released down the left wing and he expertly pulled the ball back for veteran Jamie Hunt to sublimely and with great skill plant the ball into the bottom corner of the Sandhurst net from 12 yards out. So, and deservedly, after a dogged display against all the odds, Penn had the last word and their season was brought to an end soon afterwards final score 4-1 to Sandhurst.

Another successful season completed and if circumstances had not conspired against us in the last month, then who knows what the outcome would have been? Two championships and a third in the last three seasons is success in any club’s records!!

Team: Matt Cannings, Danny Blatchford, Luke Belson, Finley Buckle, Matt Clark, Jamie Hunt (1), Christopher Hurst (Captain), Stephen Rogers, Alex Sethi, Ryan Tisdall, Casey Bocarro.