Match Report Monday 24th April 2017
Allied Counties East Division
Abbey Rangers 3 Holmer Green 1
Holmer travelled to Addlestone Moor on Monday for their penultimate game of the season against an Abbey Rangers side who have only lost two league matches this season and have led the table for most of that time. For Greens players and their supporters watching it was almost unbelievable that we didn’t come away with at least a point out of this match as the Holmer lads put in one of their best performances of the season and for long periods outplayed their much heralded opponents. However, in the words of Manager Lancaster in his Post Match Parents Conference, ‘you have to score more goals than the opposition to win games’ – a simple but effective coaching strategy.
With Sam George out for the season having broken his finger in the Maidenhead match, Olly Humphreys took over between the sticks and certainly didn’t let anyone down. Dom Santaniello and Josh Todd made their first full starts, both making good impressions, Alex Rice his first start since December in a lineup that had Leo Blackman unusually for him, at left back.
As an Academy team, Abbey like to play out from the back and although they had a fair amount of early possession they rarely entered the Greens half in the opening twenty minutes and it was the visitors that created early pressure on the home goal with Rice, Riley and Todd prominent. Abbey’s first attack saw Dada demonstrate the danger of pace when he latched onto a pass in midfield beating three defenders before Parry cleared the danger. Holmer thought they’d taken the lead on fourteen minutes when Rice and Riley combined well and the later crossed to Bryon whose sweetly struck volley was blocked and rebounded for Todd to fire home what would have been a debut goal. Unfortunately the young Assistant decided Todd was offside, a very contentious decision, at best fractional and the attempt disallowed. Within a minute Humphreys was forced to a diving save again from Dada, then at the other end Todd was again denied a goal when his fierce goal bound shot was blocked after he did well to nick the ball off a defender.
Inevitably as often happens in football, midway through the half, with Holmer again on the offensive, Abbey took the lead when a ball was given away in midfield, Dada brushed aside Horwood’s challenge and Tushan Tyrese Walters burst away and fired past Humphreys’ despairing dive.
Not deterred by this disappointment Holmer continued to press forward and create chances. After Todd was fouled, Rice’s free-kick into the danger area was headed over his own crossbar by Antwi, and soon after Rice’s effort was headed out by Jones. Rangers were leading a charmed life and from another corner won by Rice, the ball came out to Bryon who fired just over before Greens had three efforts in a minute when Horwood’s free-kick deep into the Abbey area fell to Santaniello who fired against a post, the ball came out to Bryon who looked to have scored with his header, but somehow it was cleared on the line and Greens couldn’t force the next effort in and the ball was cleared. Alex Rice who was really enjoying a return to full-time action after a long injury layoff and showed Holmer followers what they’d been missing during his enforced absence. He and Adam Riley made good progress down the right but as Riley cut along the byeline good defending by Tanner eased him out. Another deep Horwood free-kick found Rice at the far post, but he could only divert his header into the side netting before a rare Abbey move into Greens territory saw Humphreys watch a speculative long range effort by the diminutive Warren drift wide of goal.
It was more of the same at the start of second period with Holmer pressurising their opponents and after seven minutes good team-play down the left resulted in an equaliser. Great pressing by Blackman won the ball, he fed Riley who played a delightful ball into Todd who laid back for Dom Santaniello to fire a measured shot past Ferreira. Greens really had their tales up after the deserved equaliser and Byron and Williams combined to give Rice a run inform the right and fire powerfully across goal. Another good opportunity arose when a foul concede on the edge of the area gave Rice a shooting chance, but his first effort hit the wall and the second volleyed wide.
On sixty-five minutes Olly White replaced Josh Todd who had made a very encouraging full debut as the visitors continued to dominate possession, but they always needed to be mindful of the quick breakaways that Abbey could produce with three speedy forward players although for the best part, Holmer had limited any kind of service to them. Good play by Parry fed Rice who set Riley away, but he was just unable to control the ball, then minutes later a great flick by White set Bryon away and his low cross was deflected for a corner which came to nothing. Abbey responded and Horwood did well to block a run by the pacey Walters, before Olly White held the ball up well, drew a foul and Rice drilled a right footer at the goalkeeper.
Despite all the pressure, Holmer couldn’t create their chances and in the eighty second minute fell to another sucker punch and hotly disputed decision by the Assistant Referee. One minute Rice broke away and won a corner, less than thirty seconds later Abbey broke at pace, forced a corner from which they hit the crossbar, but fell at the feet of Jalen Jones and he slotted home to give the home side an unlikely lead. Jones, slow to come out, looked suspiciously offside, although not shown conclusively on film by Helen, our newly recruited highlights recorder, on her camera video. It could have been worse a minute later as another quick break let in Antwi, but Humphreys did well to come out and make a good save.
In the last minute of added time, as Holmer pressed forward in search of an equaliser they fell to another swift counter attack when Adebambo Akinjogbin took on and beat three defenders in a mazy run and crossed for Babuana to fire home.
The final scoreline was harsh on the Holmer lads after a good performance against an Abbey Rangers side that could well end up Champions, though the scoreline flattered them in this match. Football is often decided by fine margins and clearly the two incidents involving the young Assistant, one goal given and one disallowed, had an effect on the result although Holmer must find a way of converting more of the chances they create. After all, to win games you have to score more goals than the opposition!
Next week we face Slough Town in our last game of the season on Tuesday 2nd May 2017, at Arbor Park, Stoke Road, Slough, SL2 5AY, kick-off 1945hrs.
Team: Olly Humphreys, Sam Parry, Aaron Bryon, Luke Williams, Luke Ryll, Marcus Horwood, Dominic Santaniello, Leo Blackman, Josh Todd, Adam Riley, Alex Rice.
Updated 19:29 - 8 May 2017 by John Anderson
Substitutes Used: Oliver White, Elliot Britton, Ryan Parsons.
Substitutes Not Used:
Report by John Ostinelli