Saturday 12th December 2020

Richings Park 0    Wraysbury Village  2

(Currell,  Sillah)

The Stags stay unbeaten this season and keep a clean sheet after comfortably defeating 10-man Richings Park away in SL0.

This was a fixture that was due to take place back at the end of October but heavy rain meant it was called off and then the league went into lockdown. The pitch was still quite soft even today so there was always going to be some sliding tackles in this game and there certainly was. We began, in our all blue away strip, with Josh Christopher and Stan Anum started in place of Mitch Dunstall and Sam Sillah from last week with George Dewhurst moving into defence with Anum up front with Andrews. Mark Sangster returned on the bench.

After a slow start to the match, the first talking point came in the ninth minute when Matt Andrews was put through on goal and was always going to get there first ahead of the on rushing Richings Park keeper. Maybe the keeper knew that too as he dived in with a high foot on Andrews taking him out just outside the box. Despite what seemed to be a goalscoring opportunity the referee only showed the Park number 1 a yellow card. Maybe being so early in the game the ref gave him the benefit of the doubt? This though began a bit of a slurring match between the pair for the rest of the game.

The first real chance came after 16 minutes Andrews was put through again by Codie Sumner and had the pace to get to the ball ahead of the defender but his shot was blocked by the goalie.

But on 27 minutes came the first goal of the game when some great link up play between Pitt and Currell down the right created an opening for us. Currell continued his run into the box and despite orders from skipper Paul Reed urging him to get back he still ran forward and was good thing he did as it was he who latched on to a pass from Gary Homes and Currell controlled and poked it past the keeper for his first of the season. Already Gary Currell was making up for last weeks performance. 1-0 to Wraysbury!

The first sniff of an opportunity for Richings Park came not long after we scored when a corner looked as though was going straight in was tipped over from Bonnett. But we couldn’t seem to get them out of our box as two more corners threatened one after another but eventually came to nothing.

Five minutes from half time another big chance fell to us when this time Stan Anum was put through but he was forced inside by the on-rushing keeper again, this time he kept his feet on the ground. Anum laid the ball off to Andrews who seemed to have time to pick his spot as the keeper was out of goal but with two defenders now in his place he took the shot on a little earlier then he wanted and screwed it wide.

Before half-time and a few hefty challenges started to appear. First of which on Andrews when in a scramble to get the ball his ankles were taken clean out from behind. Unfortunately, it was his own team mate who tackled him amongst the scramble. After some treatment he was good to carry on but Dewhurst was the first to go into the referee’s book for a late tackle and he was joined by Josh Christopher after the half time whistle was blown for refusing to go and talk to the referee. But at half time we lead by that solitary goal.

It took a while for the second half to start as the officials seemed to take their time coming out but once it did get going the first chance of the half went to Richings Park when a soft freekick was awarded in their favour which was lofted into the box and fell to their striker but he was unable to keep his shot down. A bit of a let off for us as we seemed to not really get going just yet and again from our throw in Park broke away looking for that equaliser but again they fire wide. Andrews picks up a yellow card aswell now before being subbed for Sam Sillah on 66 minutes. It didn’t take Sillah long to get involved as within a minute of entering the field he latched onto a long ball from Reed and cut inside the box only to shoot over. We could sense now the momentum was with us and another goal was inevitable. On 72 minutes that is just what happened when their keeper’s kick out failed to reach the halfway line straight into the path of Sumner who sets Anum off down the right where he looks up and slots a ball across the box for Sillah to grab a tap in. 2-0!

Looking comfortable now with the two goal lead but within a minute of doubling our advantage we almost conceded from a corner. The ball goes into the box for a free header for Park from 6 yards out but somehow he manages to head about 10 yards wide. Huge let off for us! This was the opportunity to bring more fresh legs on with Ben Landi coming on for Christopher who put in a decent shift in midfield.

Then with just 6 minutes of normal time remaining, Sillah was put through one on one with the keeper and like all afternoon he was out to close the attack down but on trying to get to the ball first he took Sillah’s legs. He was walking off the pitch before the ref even got the red card out of his pocket as he knew he’d stopped a goalscoring opportunity. So the home side are now down to 10 men. Surely no way back for them now, but 3 minutes later they got a free kick on the edge of the box which rattled the frame of the goal and eventually cleared away.

Gary Black was brought on with a minute to go and not long after we almost made absolutely sure of the points when Homes slotted in Sillah to get his second goal of the afternoon but he wasn’t able to get great contact on his shot and screwed it left of the post.

That was the last real action of the match as the full time whistle blew for yet another win on the road and even better, kept a clean sheet. We stay 2nd in the table after this result but we keep the unbeaten run going and with one match left before Christmas, we hope to keep that going through into the new year.

Man of the Match today went to Gary Currell, certainly made up for last week. Not only solid at the back but managed to avoid getting a nose bleed running so far up the pitch to get a goal strikers would be proud of. Well done.

The Stags (3-5-2): Bonnett; Currell, Dewhurst, Reed (c); Pitt, Sumner, Christopher (Landi 77), Homes, Hart; Andrews (Sillah 66), Anum (Black 89).

Unused Subs: Abbott, Sangster

Goalscorers: Currell 27, Sillah 72

Booked: Dewhurst 44, Christopher 45+3, Andrews 64