First league defeat for RPV
RPV 1 - 3 Sutton Common Rovers
Goalscorers - James Curran
Attendance - 103
RPV Starting Line Up
Nathan Lewis (c)
The scene was set for a special affair at Grand Drive on Tuesday. Two in-form sides met on the late-summer evening for their third fixture of the Combined Counties Premier League season. Sutton Common Rovers had collected 4 crucial points from two away fixtures in their previous league matches as well as two brutal wins over AFC Croydon & Broadfields United in the FA Cup. Meanwhile, Raynes Park Vale were looking for their third win in as many games following strong wins over Camberley Town & COVID-19 struck Redhill.
The match started brightly. Sutton Common Rovers launched several attacks in the opening minutes but these were duly dealt with by the Vale back four. Raynes Park Vale had some opportunities of their own, with their front three attack consisting of Sam Jordan, stalwart Jack Williamson and newcomer Darren Thomas having several touches of the ball. It wasn’t until the 14th minute of the game when the first goal was scored as the SCR right-winger cut in from the by-line, sidestepped several Raynes Park defenders before slotting home from just inside the 18-yard area into the bottom right corner.
Raynes Park Vale forced their way back into the game with plenty of passion and dogged work, and eventually received their reward with a penalty won by Sam Jordan, only for Jack Williamson’s penalty to be well saved by the Sutton keeper.
Jack Williamson almost immediately made up for his missed opportunity as he hit a well-struck shot 25 yards out which clanged the top of the crossbar. Minutes later, the shift in momentum had all but stopped as a Sutton Common Rovers midfielder had hit a volley from around the 35 yard mark, looping over Dan McKerrarcher’s head into the Raynes Park Vale goal. The Vale found themselves 2-0 down at halftime.
With a lot to make amends for, Raynes Park Vale started the second half well. Winning several freekicks inside the Sutton Common Rovers half, Raynes Park Vale pushed to get a goal back. Taking a refreshed approach to the wide players, Gavin Bolger subbed Sam Jordan & Darren Thomas off to bring on creative maestro Faiz Yuusuf & iron-lung Pat Gibson. A further ten minutes later Bolger’s side still found themselves 2-0, and with little to show other than a high number of freekicks and corners in the second period, Bolger made his final change of the evening, bringing on utility forward Conor Turner for the Boe Fowler who had run himself ragged trying to tame the Sutton Common Rovers widemen. It was not long after this change where Sutton Common Rovers broke from a Raynes Park Vale corner, counter-attacking back across the pitch in a 3-on-2 scenario only to put another ball in the back of the net. 3-0 Sutton Common Rovers.
The game wasn’t yet over, and following a long and arduous pre-season, Raynes Park Vale showed their fitness as they rolled forward searching for a goal. Almost expectedly, it was a set-piece that bought the Vale their consolation goal. James Curran’s second goal in as many games brought a sense of pride back into the step of the Raynes Park players.
Not long later, the referee signalled the end of an entertaining game, which brought over 100 sets of feet through the gate at Grand Drive. Many felt the displeasure of losing against bitter rivals, however, there were some elements of promise from Bolger’s side including visible doggedness to grind at opposition in the late stages of each game, something we have come to expect from the Vale.
Our next fixture is at home to Rusthall in the F.A Vase on Saturday 19th September, we look forward to building on our biggest attendance of the season so far.