Match Report: Penn and Tylers Green v Holmer Green
By Alan Lever
Holmer don't get the rub of the green
Whatever the outcome today, conditions certainly couldn’t be to blame. Gorgeous sunshine, a flat, well-kept pitch and a cool breeze were about as much as the teams had to contend with. Holmer Green were eager to impress today after being on the wrong side of a 4-1 score line a fortnight ago away to Slough. The anticipation was tangible in the moments pre-kick-off as infectious rallying cries could be heard passing from man to man amongst the Holmer starting 11.
Seconds in, a strong challenge by Thomas Martin that cut a Penn attack stone dead left no doubt in the minds of the home team players that they would be up against steely opposition. After an initial nervy period of heading tennis punctuated by long balls from both teams, it was Holmer Green who settled down first. Dogged in midfield, the Greens won a high percentage of 50/50 balls and once in possession Jack Wood, Gabe Abdussamad and James Alexander displayed some nice, short, one touch passing in triangles. Penn responded with some neat 1-2 play down the left but Holmer Green started to properly threaten as Alexander picked up a long pass and ran it close to the Penn box, his cross needed more on it, Pat Coyle couldn’t stop quick enough and got more of the keeper than the ball. Onward the Greens went with Nathan Mayor winning the ball and releasing front man Alexander down the left, who was on target this time, the shot parried by the keeper. More pressure from Holmer as a chip through-ball from James was unlucky not to find Jodie Stotter. Penn quickly turned defence into attack though resulting in a great shot hitting the high side netting. 12 minutes gone and the wind picks up stifling the goal kick from keeper Jude Jeffery, presenting a good opportunity to Penn, but Mayor’s timely intervention blocked the shot. Thomas Martin soldiering in midfield showed strength, good work from Marcus Chalk to cut out a long ball then control it and find a man inside, half chance for Alexander. More frustration though as the shot is blocked.
On 17 minutes and rather surprisingly it was Penn who registered first. A long ball was chased down and collected by the Penn number 8 who finished clinically, the shot, hard and low across the keeper finding the corner of the net, no chance for keeper Jude, 1 - 0 Penn.
Holmer heads did not drop though, as they continued to probe with Martin winning more tackles and linking with Rory Lawson who tried to release James on several occasions. Then a half clearance fell to Lawson who’s accurate strike from outside the area was cleared of the line! This was a great response from Holmer Green after conceding. Then a pin point corner from Coyle landing on the penalty spot resulted in the ball being cleared off the line for the second time in a minute, followed by a great 20 yard strike from Martin, just missing the target.
Despite the admirable grit shown by the Greens, it was Penn on 28 minutes who found the goal next. A free kick swung left footed into the Holmer box, was eventually brought down and smacked on the half volley unstoppably in to the bottom corner of the net, 2-0.
Penn grew in confidence and looked calm on the ball, the next attack culminating in an admirable strike hitting the Greens crossbar. Penn, now with their tales up, were linking well with multiple attacks that looked easy on the eye. With a change required, new boy Elliot Lever looking full of purpose joined proceedings taking up a position on the right wing. Jude in the spotlight next though making nothing short of a heroic save having to come out a long way to foil the Penn number 8 who was free and clear. Then Lever, who had started making his presence known got into a great position 6 yards from goal, received the ball, pulled the trigger but a last ditch Penn boot nicked the ball wide. Half time came as Holmer, who would not lie down, enjoyed spells of possession with Intelligent 1-2s from Lever and Stotter.
Holmer made a good start to the second half playing it about well. Then a real chance as Lawson’s shot rebounded off the keeper into the path of Lever who was unable to convert. Ding dong battle now as Penn set up a 1 on 1 with Jeffery who was out to the edge of the box like a greyhound and saved valiantly to keep the status quo. Penn then started making use of their big dynamic number 19 who was full of pace, his shot went wide. Good passing moves from both teams and strong challenges as time ticked by. With 12 minutes to go the Penn number 9 showed electric pace to collect a long ball then cut inside nicely and try a chip, the ball going behind after glancing the Greens crossbar. Then Jeffery atoned for a goal kick error by racing out to smother the ball at the feet of the dangerous Penn umber 19, a third immense save. With 4 minutes to go Lever had a clear chance and tried to finish by slotting under the keeper who fell on the ball rather than saving it but denied him never the less. Final score 2-0.
In summary, probably a fair result all things considered. Although possession was about equal, it was Penn who produced the more meaningful attacks. Holmer Green should be heartened by this performance though, they showed a big improvement from 2 weeks ago with some neat passages of play. Their tenacity and attitude was impressive and they kept their chins up till the end. With a smidgen of luck this match could easily have ended 2-2.