St John's School, Leatherhead Boys-U15A vs Tonbridge School
On: Saturday, 07 Jan 2017
Venue: at Home
The season opened against Tonbridge School. The visitors started well, controlling and passing the ball comfortably and with intent. They dominated possession for the opening minutes as the home side struggled for composure but Tonbridge created no obvious chances. St John's picked up the tempo and began to gain some possession, through Thomas and Loy in midfield. Sellick worked well too, coming back to assist. After twenty minutes a Tonbridge attack broke down, the ball was cleared to the left where Mead forwarded to Sellick; he beat the defender out wide before crossing low into the six-yard box. The keeper failed to gather a straightforward ball and Ralph tapped in from close range. The goal was very much against the run of play but showed how threatening the team were on the break. Within minutes, St John's broke again, Sellick charging at three defenders; he played a good ball through to Ralph, who out-ran his marker and slotted neatly inside the left post. Confidence began to flow through the team and Marvin and Salter at centre-back looked increasingly comfortable. Tonbridge rallied well and pressed on forcing a corner. Salter got his head to the ball first but a Tonbridge player met the loose ball to score and at half-time it was 2-1 to St John's.
The second half followed a similar pattern as Tonbridge had greater possession and St John's looked dangerous on the break. Marvin and Salter were building a good partnership but one misjudged attempt to head a long ball saw a Tonbridge striker run between Salter and keeper Farnsworth to level the scores. Tonbridge continued to dominate possession and pressed again but to no avail. As the players tired greater spaces opened up and Bednall found himself in good positions on the wide right. His crosses and later shots proved troublesome for the away defence but the score did not change. A further Tonbridge break saw the main striker shoot low from a narrow angle to beat Farnsworth and gain the lead. For the remaining minutes Tonbridge dropped deeper and St John's pressed and pressed. A late corner saw the ball cross the box to Bednall who was unable to connect and Tonbridge broke against a thin home defence. Pace favoured the attackers as Tonbridge snatched a final goal at the death to make the result look more uneven than was merited. It was a spirited performance from the home team but there is much to work on.