The Reserves continued their strong start to the season with 2-0 away victory over St Brelade Reserves on a sunny October afternoon, in a game which defined the well known footballing cliche “it was a game of two halves”.
The game started awkwardly as it was quickly apparent that both match balls were flat! Once the required amount of air was administered to the footballs the game began to flow but the team struggled to get used to a deceptively slow pitch which meant a few missed placed passes unsettled the teams usually reliable passing game. As the first half progressed the players adjusted to the conditions imposed by the playing surface and the more familiar passing game returned leading to chances for Dan Parry and Richard Streets but they couldn’t find the target on either occasion.
With about 20 minutes played a good passage of passing down the right hand side led to David Streets with ball at his feet on the edge of the St Brelade 18 yard box. After some neat footwork David spotted the clever run of Gary Freeman to put him through on goal. Gary’s intial shot was saved well by the legs of the St Brelade’s keeper only for the ball to deflect back into the middle of the penalty area where the teams top scorer, Dan Parry, was on hand to calmly tap in from 10 yards out.
St Brelade immediately began to press for an equaliser but some good defending, including a particularly emphatic strong but fair challenge by Gavin Toudic on the edge of our 18 yard box, prevented any quick reply by St Brelades. The tough defending at the back allowed us to get back on the ball again, we began to press for a second goal and within minutes Dan Parry was at it again. A neat move which started on the left of the pitch and then switched to the right, ended with a clever exchage of passes between Gary Freeman and David Streets on the egde of the St Brelade penalty area. Dan Parry was slipped the ball to the right of the goal and finished well from an acute angle nestling the ball into the far left corner of the net. 2-0 at halftime.
If the first half was for the most part controlled and influenced by our passing, the second half was to be all about hard fought defending and a bit of luck. To St Brelade’s credit they started the second half with more purpose than we did and they had several chances to get on the scoresheet but a mix of some good saves by our keeper, Jeremy Johnson, and some wasteful finishing by the St Brelade’s forwards kept our clean sheet in tact. For some reason our defence got deeper and deeper as the half wore on, maybe it was a subconcious desire to not concede or possibly the predominantly more youthful legs of St Brelade slowly starting to out pace our maturer side.
The second half wasn’t without chances for St Peter. Most of our best opportunites coming from counter attacks by finding the feet of Gary Freeman and Dan Parry in the centre circle who then tried to find the wingers running off of them. Jay Lynch and Scott Welsh replaced David and Richard Streets on either flank, their fresh legs giving an out ball for our tiring side. Gavin Toudic’s freekick from the right hand side of the St Brelade penalty area cannoned back off the wall straight back into his path and he hit an insticntive first time shot on the half volley that went just over the bar. If Gavin’s effort was close, Jay Lynch’s freekick from the left hand side of the area only a couple of minutes later must have been a hair’s breadth away from finding the corner of the net. Jay hit a deceptive low freekick whipped around the edge of the wall but the ball crept agonisingly past the foot of the left post.
As the match drew to an end St Brelade continued to have more of the play, almost scoring a header from a corner but Jon Jefferson manged to hook the ball clear before the ball crossed the line. In the end we held on to win the game albeit a completely contrasting performance to our dominating 4-0 win over St Paul’s Reserves in our previous game. Today was a game that I don’t think any of the players particulary enjoyed but sometimes you have to win ugly!
Jeremy Johnson, Gavin Toudic, Tony Robinson, Jamie Roberts, Tom Hayden, Jon Jefferson, Harvey Austin-Vautier, David Streets, Richard Streets, Dan Parry, Gary Freeman, Jay Lynch, Scott Welsh.
Scorers: Dan Parry 2