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RPV 0 Hartley Wintney 4

Post by KOB - 02-10-2016, 10:41

A dominant first half team performance and hat-trick from captain Sam Argent pretty much put the game to bed by the break, though the boys still needed to see it out, especially after a second yellow for Ross meant we were down to 10 for a good portion of the second half.

Sam opened the scoring with a far post 'tap in' on the end of a superb low cross played in by Steve Duff. Sam's second, a beauty swept in to the far corner from the edge of the penalty box, leaving the keeper rooted on his line, reminded me of his goal at Eastbourne Borough last season. And his third was a clinical half-volley low to the keeper's right. It was a masterclass of finishing, much in the way Ross gave us in midweek, and all the more impressive since Sam needed four stitches in the head wound he sustained at Badshot Lea. Despite the bandaged head, it didn't stop him from going for aerial balls as normal, and the reward of a first half hat-trick for his commitment was well deserved.

Drew Matthews made a solid start to his Hartley career in the centre of midfield. With Dean Stow likely to be out for several weeks, Joe Paris now with Abbey Rangers, and Ian Jones currently unavailable, it was important to bring in a good quality player.

Ross picked up a booking in the first half I assume for dissent; I can't say it was obvious and while I'm never happy when players get booked for dissent, it seemed a soft one. A full-blooded challenge in the second half - the kind Ross has made in the past but to be fair I've not seen him make this season at all till yesterday - sparked the RPV players into a huge reaction. I can't pretend I was close enough to see if the challenge merited the reaction, but it wasn't a tackle Ross needed to be making by their corner flag and I've no doubt he knows that himself in hindsight. Shame, because this season Ross has been so focused on his game and able to shut out the taunts he inevitably gets, and it has shown in his play and goals. He has been superb, in his play and in his character. Hopefully yesterday was just a blip prompted by something on or off the pitch - it certainly wasn't representative of how he's conducted himself out on the pitch this season.

Down to ten men, we obviously came under more pressure from the hosts and Craig Bradshaw pulled off a very good save after a deflection forced him to quickly readjust and get a strong hand to the ball, which was heading in by his left-hand post. We hadn't started the half well, allowing RPV more possession, but in truth I never felt we weren't in control of the game, and we were still mounting plenty of attacks, even Louie Paget running through into the RPV penalty box and only narrowly being beaten to the ball by their keeper. Louie had another excellent game before being substituted late on by the returning 'old head', Tom Walsh. And Walshy was soon back into it after his lengthy layoff.

Our 4th, if memory serves, came from a free-kick out wide right. Liam Eagle rose for the ball at the near post but it was a little too high; however the unfortunate RPV defender behind him didn't have time to adjust and the ball came off him for an OG, which wasn't going to prevent Liam from celebrating :-)

Julian Sills came on for Drew Matthews and the renowned midfield dynamo (yes, Sillsy!) put in a classy performance, dominating the centre circle. Seriously, Sillsy did a very good job of helping to see the game out. Must also say that Shane was again terrific at the back, winning a lot of the crosses and corners that came in - Liam won most of the rest!

My MOTM? Well, Steve Laidler worked very hard and would have got my vote in any other game probably, but for his commitment (because I didn't expect to turn up and see Sam out there at all) and terrific hat-trick, for me it has to be captain Sam Argent. But who was responsible for that Twitter image!? Brilliant.
  • Hartley Row

    03-10-2016, 07:00

    As usual a comprehensive report from KOB which perfectly sums up the game. My only gripe would be that officials should be giving talented players adequate protection from the kicks and provocation that comes their way. it has always been and remains the easy option to caution the 'sinned' against player for his reaction rather than to deal with the root cause.
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