Priory welcomed new side Farnborough North End to Wallfield for their second game of the season. Farnborough, who had been relegated from the combined counties league, travelled to Reigate having had a tough start to life in the Surrey Elite league. They were looking to turn their fortunes around whilst Priory were looking for their first points and goals of the season.
With Ben Hills and Rob Horan still struggling with injuries and Blackwood unavailable, both Glen Davies and Nick Beech were selected for their first starts of the season.
From the outset, Priory were looking much stronger and fitter having been put through their paces after their opening day defeat. On the larger of the Wallfield pitches, Priory’s attacking and passing play suited the pitch better than the weekend before. It wasn’t long before Chris Byrne had opened his account for the new season. The 20+ top goalscorer from last season latched onto a Paddley through ball and placed the ball confidently past the keeper for a 1-0 lead. It was 2-0 shortly afterwards as a short corner between Stratton and Beckett found the onrushing, unmarked Doick who header was excellent saved by the North End keeper but only parried to Byrne who added his and Priory’s second from close range. In all fairness, the game should have been out of sight by as chances for Stratton, one from a free kick, Byrne and Beckett went begging. Priory took a well deserved lead into half time.
Priory sensed that they could get more from the game and were given their instructions from Davies to continue their inter-play but improve the final ball. With the gaffers advise still fresh in their mind, Priory enjoyed a dominant second half display. Good interplay between Hoggy and Stratton saw the latter break down the left hand side and cut the ball back to Steve Beckett. His effort was saved by the keeper but Chris Byrne followed up to complete his hat-trick and end the match as a contest. Rob Stratton got his first goal of the season to top off an excellent display, running onto a Benson through ball to lift his shot over the goalkeeper. Dale Fisher, who had replaced Byrne, showed us two sides of his game that we hadn’t seen for a long time, passing and work rate! Firstly, he supplied the pass to Steve Beckett to drive in his first goal of the season from the edge of the area and then, 5 minutes later, forced the keeper into a mistake which gifted Fisher a goal. There was still time for Beckett to pick up his second goal with a tap in following a cross from the hardworking Hogg. All in all, an excellent team performance and one to build on.
Squad: Purnell, Benson, G Davies, Beech, Doick, Beckett, Stone, Paddley (c), Hogg, Stratton, Byrne, Fisher, Ndazi