Sunday saw a rare outing for the Reigate Priory Vets side with an away fixture to Glendale Vets in Croydon.

As ever the Priory Vets match preparation was meticulous: Ray “Rooney” Connolly forgot his shin pads and had to tear out pages from the managers note pad and stuff them down the front of his socks, Johnny “Baresi” Vezza turned up with a crimson red leather sports bag that was once the height of fashion in Milan in the 1960’s, and Simon “The Cat” Avery had thrown out his football boots and had to borrow his sons!!!

Priory went for a traditional 4-4-2 formation based on the fact that it didn’t make any difference as Ray was going to play in the same position anyway. The starting 11 consisted of Avery, Beckett, Chapman (skipper), Hale, Vezza, Wilmot, Norris, Taylor, Freeman, Connolly, Chatfield.

The game got of to a bad start for the Priory and they found themselves 3 down after 20 minutes. A lack of match fitness, total confusion and not knowing what a 4-4-2 formation was lead to the Glendale strikers putting on the early pressure. Their first goal came as a result of not closing Glendale down, the second was an offside not spotted by the referee. The third was a direct result of the Priory keeper deciding to pass to the Glendale striker from a goal kick, from which the Glendale striker acknowledge the decent pass by slotting the ball into the bottom corner of the net.

Things got worse when after 25 minutes Priory had an enforced substitution when Andy Chatfield had to leave the field suffering from exhaustion, dizziness and fatigue, but apparently he did have a bad cold.

Soon Priory had bought on their subs of Beesley, Turner and Yau and the second half proved a much more even contest, especially with the “youngsters” of Wilmot, Taylor, Turner and Freeman proving to be more than a match for the Glendale midfield.

In fact Priory had the better of the chances. Chatfield (now back on the field after receiving medical attention, in the form of a lot of deep heat spray), took the ball down skillfully with his left foot inside the opposition penalty box. However the move broke down when he tried to hit the ball with his right foot and his whole body collapsed to the floor from the sheer effort of the move. Beesley had a great chance when he took on a couple of Glendale defenders on the edge of the box and his shot hit the post. There was also a great shout for a penalty when Freeman was tackled heavily in the box, but unfortunately the only shout was from Freeman lying in agony on the floor.

Glendale had a few opportunities but Avery proved tough to beat in the Priory goal. The Priory defenceĀ  looked more solid with the Norris, Chapman, Yau and Beckett combination (and with Vezza off the field).

Despite the first 20 minutes of the game Priory gave a good account of themselves and more than meet the challenge of Glendale, a side who play on a regular basis.

Match Stats:

Corners = 0

Shots on goal = 1

Next Fixture Away to Farleigh Vets on Sunday 26th Feb