Men’s 1st XI vs Old Cranleighans (Away) | 30 Oct 21

Drew 2-2

Scorers: Annand, Taggart

MoM: Chris Rea

DoD: Ronan Taggart

A rare Saturday game saw the 1st XI travel up to Thames Ditton for an evening fixture against Old Cranleighans as they sought to continue their run of form and put pressure on leaders Reading.

Pre-game was a smooth affair despite a change of personnel, with Rich Keir coming in for a Gary Wyver who’d opted for a weekend in Jersey rather than a drizzly, cold evening on the outskirts of London.

Canterbury started the game well with plenty of telling balls into the attacking circle from the midfielders finding their way to the forwards who created good chances but to no real avail.

All of Conor Annand, Ronan Taggart and Tom Bean could have seen their name chalked up on the scoreboard early if they had shown a bit more composure and guile in the circle… a lesson sorely taught but Old Cranleighans former Pakistani international and talisman at the other end.

He found himself in space on the shoulder of the Canterbury circle to slot home a firm strike on the angle and bring Cranleighans one goal to the good.

In a fairly even affair, with neither team afforded the opportunity to build any rhythm in the game, partly thanks to the scrappy nature and early brandishing of cards.

However, Annand did manage to pull one back with a back hand strike that found it’s way high into the Cranleighans net to go into half-time level.

Without so much of a rousing speech, more a reminder of the levels we can play at from Craig Boyne at half-time – and not repeated by Tom Richford [for this week anyway] – Canterbury began the second half the brighter with Matt B-B, Carney, Richford and Ben Young, playing his first game of the season, finding Tom Degiovanni, Bean and Hamish Roberts in the midfield to turn.

Cranleighans still looked dangerous in attack and Canterbury were soon down to 10 thanks to ‘god knows who’ for fouling their advancing player. A green was brandished to the melee of players however no one, not even the umpire, was sure of the recipient.

Eventually, Ronan Taggart trudged off a minute or so after the game had continued perhaps slightly aggrieved that the umpire picked him out as the suspected culprit.

With the deficit, Canterbury found themselves a goal down too with their opponents managing to scramble the ball past MOM Chris Rea to take the lead once more.

After a flurry of corners for Canterbury, one bouncing off the goal keepers shoulder and onto the top of the bar, it felt like it was going to be one of those days before Ronan popped up with a timely deflection to equalise.

Canterbury were very much in the ascendancy at the end but were unable to break through the OC’s defence with the final score 2-2 and a feeling of two points dropped rather than one point gained.

Chris’ marshalling of his defence won him a much-deserved MOM despite his grievances about the two he did concede, this is reward for his great start to life at Polo Farm.

The team will hope to reinstate their charge for Division One South top spot away to Bath next weekend.

Squad: Chris Rea, Matt Burton-Bowen, Matt Carney, Ben Young, Tom Richford, Craig Boyne, Tom Bean, Tom Degiovanni, Hamish Roberts, Jamie Tritton, Miles Coode, Conor Annand, Ronan Taggart, Cal Brown-Lea, Dan Gent