St John's School, Leatherhead Boys 1st XI vs Eton College
On: Saturday, 04 Mar 2017
A Charlie Kerslake hat-trick saw his side to a 5-4 victory in the last couple of minutes of a ding-dong affair under the leaden Slough skies. St John's were easily the more competent side and should have won at a canter but they were drawn into a battle by an Eton side who defended bravely, rode their luck and looked to play direct on the counter. Indeed, it was Eton who scored first, profiting from a loose ball from the back to win a corner which was worked neatly to beat Bulkeley in goal.
But this spurred John's into action and soon after they were in the lead. Much of the first half was marked by mis-traps and elementary errors but the visiting side found a purple patch where they strung together some classy moves. Kerslake was on hand to put away two in quick succession and his replacement, Sam King, added a third with a great lead and expert back-hand finish. It looked like John's were starting to stamp their authority but two more mistakes at the back allowed their hosts back into the game and kept them well in the hunt. Thankfully for John's, Will Freeman re-established the lead following a good move involving Sam Laslett down the left and, as half-time came, surely this would be enough to break Eton's confidence.
Into the second half and John's certainly dominated, creating opportunity after opportunity. But, once again, corners failed to click and shots flashed wide. With 20 minutes gone, Eton fired a long, hopeful ball down the middle. Somehow it managed to find its way through to the centre forward who slotted into the net to equalise, This was the sole time Eton entered the John's area in the whole half but now they had some belief as John's continued to squander good chances.
To their great credit, though, John's continued to press forward. Timpson found plenty of ball high on the right and Brassington was finding space in the D. But it was the re-introduction of Kerslake which finally made the telling difference. With two minutes left on the clock, the captain drifted onto the penalty spot, latched onto a neat pass, completed his hat-trick and sealed the game 5-4.