Heroic Hawes shuts the door, while Keeper Kinnear shows no fear on a busy day for the defenders.
Copthorne was bathed in unseasonal sunshine as Pennthorpe arrived minutes before kick-off and hurried out to the pitch to start the first game of the most anticipated double header of the season. With captain Gore raring to go, we won the toss and kicked off and were soon under the kosh as the predictably strong Pennthorpe dominated the first 10 minutes. The defensive pairing of Abdulle and Hawes had their work cut out but managed to thwart any attempts to threaten our goal and also provided the new look midfield pairing of Blackmore and Voller with some quality passes with which they were able to stretch their legs down the wings. Such was the ferocity of the Pennthorpe attack that Kroeger was also forced to stay back and defend. Goalkeeper Khan showed his prowess with some fine saves and very long clearances towards the lone figure of Gore who was hovering around the half way line waiting for his chance to break. Half time was a blessed relief from the intense sun, and after the excitement of last weeks refreshments it is with a degree of sadness that I have to report that the Great Copthorne Half Time Fruit Experiment failed to deliver this week. With not an apple in sight, the boys tucked in to the oranges with gusto to try and replenish their liquids after an exhausting first half! Interestingly, Pennthorpe declined their oranges and as we started refreshed we were looking the far more threatening team. Still Pennthorpe attacked, and Hawes and Abdulle worked tirelessly to clear the lines. We had a couple of corners but couldn’t quite get the finishing touch, and with 5 minutes to go a scoreless result looked likely. Suddenly Pennthorpe attacked and managed to get a shot on goal. It looked in for all money, but Khan dived an improbable distance and managed to trap the ball with his feet- genius! This invigorated the team, and it was Abdulle who went for the route one ball down the middle. It found Gore who took it round the defender with a sublime touch and belted it in past their goalie for a late winner. A great finish and a well earned win for the team- everyone could have been man of the match, but the plaudits went to Hawes for his tireless defensive efforts. Well done!
The Colts A then took the field, and with the sun still beating down we knew it was going to be hard work, even more so when an early lapse in concentration gifted Pennthorpe an early goal. New boy Penlington showed some good skills, but had his work cut out trying to tackle back against possibly the quickest left wing in prep school football! A problem that was apparent with the team today was the lack of natural defenders. All members of the team are excellent footballers, but they all feel the pull of the opposition half which can leave us looking rather exposed! Fortunately behind the defence is Kinnear#1, a keeper who continues to show a flagrant disregard for his own safety as he dives in head first and almost always appears with the ball! He was busy today, and the gasps he drew from the audience with a spectacular diving save was certainly a moment to savour! We did attack back, and the effervescent Tennant worked well with youngsters Flavin and Hannah to keep the ball at their end for a while. Finally the pressure told, and it was a perfectly aimed Hayes corner that led to the rarest of sights- a headed goal! Tennant climbed above his opposite number and placed it in the top left corner to equalise before half time. We gathered in the middle and had a quick team talk as the boys got stuck into their oranges and fought over the water bottles, but knew we faced an uphill battle. Eades managed to keep his man at bay, but eventually the pressure told and a beautiful Pennthorpe move exposed us once again at the back and even the eventual MOTM Kinnear couldn’t keep out the fizzing shot. Penlington kept up his 100% effort and by the end managed to beat his man down the wing! Pennthorpe scored again to leave the score at 3-1 as the final whistle went. A disappointing result, but we were comprehensively outplayed by a quality side and there are some tactical changes that we need to make before next week when we entertain old rivals Cottesmore in what promises to be another cracker – see you there!