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Riveting top of table clash ends all square at French School Meadow

 

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Penn & Tyler Green 2017

Andreas Latta

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Riveting top of table clash ends all square at French School Meadow

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The eagerly anticipated top of the table clash between Penn & Tylers Green F.C. and new boys Virginia Water ended in a 1-1 draw at Penn on Saturday. This was a pulsating match which kept everybody, including the large crowd focused right to the last minutes. Penn were forced to make changes this week and Bradley Holland slotted into the centre half spot and enjoyed a good competent match alongside Jack Harding and Anton Bradley had to fill in at right back for the absent Jordan Gumbs, and also excelled in this unfamiliar role.

After five minutes of the start Penn had a golden chance when a clearance from Josh Cockerill was headed on by George Weller to Andy Harman who side stepped his man brilliantly but shot tamely straight at the Virginia Water goalkeeper. From that moment Virginia Water had the better of the early exchanges and were proving to be a continual threat with their swift decisive breaks down both flanks and the Penn defence had to be at defiant best to thwart numerous assaults on the Penn goal.

On 35 minutes Josh Cockerill made a brilliant tip over save from a superb curling twenty-five yarder from the Virginia Water forward. Then a minute later the breakthrough for Virginia Water came when a long throw was back headed straight into the Penn goal to put the visitors 1-0 up. Virginia Water continued to press for further goals but Penn were resilient and kept the score to 1-0 at half time.

The boys in blue & white came out for the second half a different proposition than the first half and began to take control and push for the equalizer. Josh Fox sounded two warnings to Virginia Water with two trademark surges down the left wing with only the final ball lacking and being played behind the incoming forwards. However, Virginia Water were still a threat and Anton Bradley made one goal saving block in the Penn area to avert a potential second goal which would have put the game beyond Penn for sure. Penn brought on Danny Blatchford for George Weller and Jamie West for Fred Tripp after 70 minutes. This proved to be a pivotal moment as Penn now took control of the game and on 80 minutes Danny Jordan shot straight at the goalkeeper from six yards after another excellent Josh Fox cross.

With 82 minutes on the clock Penn finally secured their much-deserved equaliser. A stinging shot across the goalkeeper from the excellent Danny Blatchford was well saved by the Virginia Water goalkeeper resulting in a corner for Penn. Adam Davies, who was influential in midfield for Penn all game, sent over an excellent corner into the six-yard box and the ball was only half cleared straight to Adam Harman who took the invitation to smash the ball low into the net to the relief of the team and supporters alike.

This spurred Penn on and there was now a feeling around the ground that Penn could take all three points as the confidence and belief was visibly evident. With 85 minutes on the clock Josh Fox sent over one final cross to the far post and in came Danny Blatchford to volley left footed towards the goal and the Virginia Water goalkeeper produced another great save to keep the score at 1-1. The match ended and both teams were probably happy with the point but Penn probably gained more as the status quo with regard to points dropped so far, this season was maintained. An excellent game played in the right spirit by two teams committed to playing good football and the crowd went away happy and contented and no doubt agreeing that this match was worth every penny of the entry fee and a credit to step six football and the Hellenic League.

Team: J. Cockerill, A. Bradley, J. Harding, B. Holland, J. Fox, A. Davies D. Jordan, G. Weller, C. Bocarro, F. Tripp, A. Harman

Subs: D. Blatchford (G. Weller), J. West (F. Tripp)