KVFC vs Wrington Redhill Reserves
Forget the theatre – you could not possibly wish for more drama than was offered up by Saturday’s scintillating fixture, leaving supporters breathless (not to mention both sets of players!). The old game-show, “Win, Lose or Draw” sprang to mind in a pulsating final 7 minutes which saw Wrington take the lead, before a creditable KVFC fight-back saw them equalise and then take re-take the lead, before Wrington substitute James Marshall equalised with virtually the last action of the game.
Absences again forced Manager Julian Moss into shuffling his pack, welcoming back former captain Nick Buck in one of four changes to the team who had beaten Winscombe last time out. Buck slotted into a make-shift defence alongside captain Phil Williams and the versatile utility player Louis Rouvrais, ousted by the return of goalkeeper James Vowles. Will Gough returned to midfield alongside Mick Edmunds and Phil Hartnup, with wide men Joe Moore and Kyle Selman looking to support Chris Vowles and retuning Jess Oliphant in attack.
Opting to play up the steep gradient in the first half, Wrington granted their opponents their customary 1-0 lead on 28 minutes after a good run from the KVFC winger saw him ride two attempted tackles before a loose ball was swept home well from the edge of the box by a midfield runner. In similarly customary fashion, the goal shocked Wrington into action, and they levelled only two minutes later. Moore combined well with Rouvrais and Oliphant from an attacking throw-in, bursting into the box and firing a low ball across the area for the arriving Selman to stab home at the near post. Particularly pleasing from Manager Moss’ point of view will be the slick passing-and-moving football which Wrington played at times, as they grew into the game – Hartnup and Edmunds exchanging passes well and searching for opportunities to set the Wrington forwards free.
Both teams continued to create chances as the half drew to a close, Oliphant dwelling on an opportunity to pull the trigger, and KVFC striking the underside of Vowles’ crossbar and firing over after a misjudged header by Moore.
HT KVFC 1-1 Wrington
The second half began in similar fashion in an open contest, and Wrington took the lead for the first time in the game on 50 minutes as Edmunds showed good vision to fire the ball into the top-corner from distance, wrong-footing the KVFC goalkeeper who looked as though he had been expecting a cross.
As with KVFC’s first half lead, Wrington were not ahead for long, although this time the equaliser was not without some controversy. Referee Simon Venn acknowledged that the ball had struck the arm of the KVFC striker, but ruled that the action was not deliberate and that the outstretched arm did not constitute an unnatural position. Despite protestations from the Wrington defence, the attacker was left with the easiest of tasks to lash the ball home from close range. In truth, the referee would not have been forced into making a difficult decision were it not for Wrington’s sliced attempt at a clearance and sluggish marking from the resulting throw-in.
Both managers made changes to freshen up their tiring sides, Moss bringing Alex Blake into defence and pushing Buck into midfield, Hartnup making way. The game continued in an end-to-end fashion, and a breathtaking final 7 minutes began with the lively Selman driving forward and riding several tackles before being up-ended by the on-rushing KVFC goal keeper, who was extremely fortunate to remain on the pitch.
Buck stepped up to calmly slot home the resulting penalty to give put Wrington ahead for the second time in the game, before the game was turned on its head again with two goals in as many minutes for the home side. First, an over-engineered short free kick in a good position from Wrington was cleared upfield, and with men committed upfield, the KVFC forward found himself in acres of space to run onto the clearance and finish well past the unprotected Vowles. Moments later it got better still for the home side, when a hopeful shot from the edge of the Wrington box somehow squirmed through Vowles’ grasp.
With time running out and having led only minutes earlier, a deflated Wrington could have been excused for accepting a cruel defeat. Instead, they immediately pushed forward again in search of an equaliser. Marshall, introduced moments earlier for the injured Edmunds, rose highest to power an unstoppable header past the helpless KVFC keeper, to the relief of the away side.
There was enough time for one last KVFC opportunity to win the game – a moment of madness seeing Vowles give away an indirect free-kick inside his own box for picking up the ball twice. Fortunately for the away side, the chance was wasted and whilst no doubt both teams will have been disappointed not to have taken all three points from their late winning positions, both sides probably deserved a share of the spoils for playing their full part in a terrific fixture.
FULL TIME KVFC 4-4 Wrington
Wrington: Vowles, Rouvrais, Williams (C), Buck, Moore, Edmunds (Marshall), Selman, Hartnup (Blake), Gough, Oliphant, Vowles.