Men’s 1st XI 1-2 Old Edwardians
Saturday saw Old Cranleighans take on rivals London Edwardians with the sides tied on points in second place. Both sides knew the encounter was a must win game to keep any slim chance of promotion alive. OCs were keen to gain some revenge after the pre-Christmas meeting saw London Eds claim a 3-2 win despite OCs having the better of the match with numerous chances to win the game.
The home side came flying out the traps, causing Eds numerous problems early on. Driving runs through midfield from Murphy, Czerniewski and Hill created some good chances for OC forwards grab an early goal. OCs should have seized the early advantage were it not for Hill displaying his best footballing skills and Robinson using the lob wedge when a two-iron would have been more suitable in front of goal. Despite this lack of ‘composure’ and ‘measure’ in front of goal, credit must also go to the Eds keeper for good saves and smart work in the circle.
Eds slowly built into the game with some decent counter attack play after the home side turned the ball over high up the pitch. A speculative through ball saw the London Eds forward control the ball with a dazzling Cruyff turn and win a penalty corner after going through one on one with Doble. The rebound from the resulting drag flick was converted and the away side found themselves with an undeserved 1-0 lead. Eds gained confidence from the goal and with OCs slightly shell-shocked, continued to apply pressure for the remainder of the first half creating a couple of chances to double the lead.
At half time, the home side remained confident of creating more chances and overturning the deficit but found that task doubly as hard 5 minutes into the second half when a scrappy ball fell to an Eds player at the top of the D, who confidently buried it into the netting past the helpless Doble. The home side continued to dominate the tie, having the majority of the ball but left themselves slightly susceptible to the counter attack in pressing for goals. Soon after the goal, OCs suffered a blow by unfortunately losing Paddy Harman to hospital after taking a blow to the head for the second time this season.
The home side continued to press hard to reduce the deficit but Eds remained resolute with some excellent defending and keeping as well as nous in breaking down OC counter-attack. The game became more physical and scrappy and it was Jay Harman who saw the first card after a one-handed swipe near the touchline. However, OCs were soon back to 11 and it was the away side’s turn to go down to nine after some professional breaking down of play. With a numerical advantage, OCs continued to produce numerous circle entries but were unable to find the net until the final minute when Murphy converted a corner rebound to provide a small degree of consolation.
Despite a good performance and a plethora of chances the game finished in a disappointing 2-1 loss that all but ends our promotion chances this season. We now look forward to a tough away trip to Spencer and the welcoming of the league leaders Oxford Hawks to TD with the Vets out in full force.
Old Edwardians 2-1 Men’s 2nd XI
Men’s 3rd XI 5-1 Merton
Another potential banana skin overcome as we saw off a resurgent Merton side who pushed us hard for long periods but rarely threatened an upset. On a pitch which was verging on frozen at the start, we took the lead thanks to a route-one goal; Nick Lewis hammered the ball into the D from around the halfway line and Eds Copleston neatly deflected it past the keeper – which soon resulted in the same Merton players who had wanted the game to start five minutes earlier to call for it to be abandoned! We seemed to be coasting at 2-0 up before a Merton goal which left the OC defenders berating the umpire, but we dug deep, survived a few wobbles and then proceeded to dominate the last third of the game as Merton took to infighting. Seven matches to go and the league in our hands as we lead by two points with a game in hand over second-place Wanderers.
Epsom 4-3 Men’s 4th XI
Barnstormers 4-0 Bromley and Beckenham
A fairly easy win with three first-half goals settling the game,
Ladies 2nd XI 0-3 Wanderers
Friendly – no report