Eddie Smith and Adam Everiss score the goals to secure a narrow win for the Row
Hartley travelled to Raynes Park Vale on Saturday afternoon. The opening exchanges were similar to that of a tennis match with neither side managing to get a foot in the game, but it was Hartley who carved out the first few chances. On loan striker, Eddie Smith, managed to slide past the RPV defence with some neat footwork and fired a shot off but struck it at the keeper who palmed the ball away.
A place very few teams go to and come away with points, so we knew we were going to be in for a difficult afternoon.
Smith had the second strike of the afternoon as he was put through by a neat ball by Toby Jannaway but once again the keeper saved well. The ever impressive Shane Hollamby gained an injury midway through the first half, so we welcome back Steven Duff who has been absent through injury. Callum Eagle moved to partner his brother in the centre of defence and Duff moved into the wide left position. Birthday boy, Sam Argent, was winning every aerial battle which allowed Ian Jones to pick up the ball in higher areas and link our attacks.
The hill plays a big role in any game at Raynes Park Vale, to be 0-0 at half time is not a bad situation to be in, so we took confidence in that and went into half time relatively positive but knowing we had plenty gears to cruise though.
A couple of subtle changes in the way we wanted to tackle the second half but nothing to spectacular in terms of approach. The boys went out with confidence knowing that if they raised their game and continued to play football in the right areas, they would get their reward. And that they did...
A well worked throw led to a neatly laid pass inside the box to the unmarked Eddie Smith, who slotted the ball back across goal and into the bottom corner of the net. Although Hartley had settled well into the game already, it certainly gave us a more free flowing approach and the spaces began to appear.
The opportunity of space was gifted to Adam Everiss who broke away from the RPV defence and on his first touch fired the ball across the keeper which bounced in off the post. A superb finish.
We were disappointed to concede a relatively soft goal by our standards, as the ball found its way out wide and the RPV winger delivered a low cross which the striker hit with some venom past Atko. The remaining moments of the game were seen out with grit and determination. It wasn't our prettiest win of the season, but as above, it's always a difficult place to go and play free flowing football. Another three points to add to the tally, a job well done and hard fought. [DB]