Men’s 1st XI vs Reading (Home) | 14 Nov 21

Won 1-0

Scorers: Tom Bean

MoM: Toby Vaughan

DoD: Tom Bean

On Presidents Day, Canterbury welcomed league leaders, Reading to the Polo Farm with their 100% record in tack with 7 wins from 7.

After acknowledging a minutes silence for Remembrance Sunday, the team quickly joined their huddle where captain, Tom Bean stumbled through his speech before securing DOD before the day had started in earnest… forgetting to count down and shouting ‘Canterbury’ by himself to a deafening silence from the rest was ‘un-style-out-able’ and wrapped up the unfavourable award without any chance of reprieval.

As the growing crowd filtered out of the Presidents’ Day lunch, the expectedly confident Reading lined up as Canterbury got the game going with a ball back to Craig Boyne who threw it over the top to get the green and white on the front foot from the start.

Some sustained possession and pressure on the league leaders was welcomed by the home spectators and a penalty corner for Canterbury bought about some early excitement. A save from former CHC junior, Chris Wyver kept the scores level but a promising first quarter from Canterbury saw them have the majority of the chances.

As the half went on, Reading began to get more of a foot hold in the game with a couple of corners for themselves, one breaking down and intercepted by Matt B-B and another well-saved.

But it was MOM, Toby Vaughan, back from a hamstring injury, who really split the difference in the teams, keeping the Reading forwards at bay from getting any real open-play opportunities at the Canterbury goal. With some masterful blocks and expertly timed sliding interceptions, his new London lifestyle has made his skills spicier than Saturday nights crispy chilli beef.

Going into half-time at 0-0, the team talk was very much that the game was there for the taking, and more of the same was the order of the day.

The team came out of the blocks fast and Toby, Tom Richford, Matt Carney and Matt B-B were soon feeding the midfield with Hamish Roberts (nipping at the heels of Toby for the MOM award) looking to constantly receive under pressure and turn to make things happen further up the field.

As a result an array of chances fell, most notably to Conor Annand who saw a glorious opportunity on the volley squirm agonisingly past the post. When later questioned why he didn’t just pass it to an open man, he likened himself to Hamilton, Schumacher & co. claiming ‘when you stop going for an overtake, you are no longer a racing driver’ – arguably, Conor has never been a forward, so it’s quite tricky for him to ‘no longer be one’… but make of that as you will!

Anyway, we digress…

Chances also fell to Bean, with him spurning numerous penalty corners and hitting one from open-play off his back foot to force a stick save from Wyver to keep his team in the game once again.

As the match progressed and the Reading chances were few and far between, there was a lingering dread that they could just nick one on the break, despite the way the game had gone but fortunately for the home side, this never really materialised.

Then in the final minutes, Canterbury rallied again and with youngsters Miles Coode and Dan Gent growing with every game they play, they got on the ball well to build through the lines and win a last gasp corner, moments before the final whistle.

At the 7th attempt, the crowd, orchestrated by Matt Lea & co. had some sound advice for Bean from sidelines, who eventually managed to get the ball past the stoic Reading defence after the full-time whistle.

The low flick managed to squeeze its way through the keepers pads and into the back board to spark jubilant scenes at Polo Farm with the whole team embracing in the corner, celebrating a hugely important three points.

Despite the rain, spirits were far from damp amongst the crowd on Presidents Day who applauded on, arguably more through relief than that of adulation.

But on a great day for the club, with all three pitches packed full of juniors pre-game, a busy clubhouse for lunch and a last minute winner against the top of the table, Sunday 14th November 2021 will go down as the day Craig Boyne turned just a bit soft, saying in the huddle after the game that he was ‘almost emotional’… I suppose that’s what age does to him!

This win means the team hold onto second spot and cut the deficit to 6 points as they travel to the bottom placed team, Havant next week to try and back up their good performance for the final game before the Christmas break.

N.B. On behalf of the team, a thanks to all those who attended on Sunday and endured the weather to offer your support.

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