Damp display against Havant not the ideal start we hoped for!
By Henry Williams
RPHC M1 fail to kick on after strong pre-season ...
Reigate Priory stalled in the first league game at home against a young Havant 2s team. The first 5 minutes looked promising for Reigate with new Player-Coach Jared Oliver dominating the middle of the park in the early exchanges. Reigate created a few good changes and could have been two goals to the good, but as is often the way, a quick Havant counter lead to a short corner, which was well executed to put Havant 1-0 up.
This seemed to affect Reigate confidence, and made for a nervy few minutes, with the rain lashing down. Havant broke free again, resulting in keeper Henry Williams conceding a stroke which was duly dispatched to make in 2-0 to Havant.
The game started to lose it’s rhythm for Reigate and all the positives that had built up during an excellent pre-season seemed to wash away. 2-0, became 3-0 and then 4-0, with James Brooker unlucky to get a massive deflection to put the ball into the top corner of his own goal, scoring the best goal we will probably see this season!
Reigate drew one back just before half time, to give a lifeline through Oliver from a well worked corner routine. This gave the team the lifeline they needed entering the second half.
With the rain subsiding Reigate could have been back on level terms after 10 minutes, with Jonny Perkins, Jamie Oyebode, Chris Podd, James Chesterton and Tom Pickersgill all creating chances, but these were all either well saved by an in-form Havant keeper, or missed from point blank range! Defensively Reigate were kept on their toes throughout the second half, with keeper Williams being called into action on more than one occasion.
Reigate can certainly take heart from a much better second half performance, but surely now know the size of the task ahead for the coming season. Not turning up for a half leaves too much to do in the second!!
Havant should be credited for being by far the better team in the first half, and ensuring that the game was put to bed early. They should also be credited for their sportsmanship, owning up to an attacking foot in the D and disallowing a goal that resulted from the advantage.
Reigate will hope to fair better this weekend against Chichester 2.
Squad: Henry Williams, Arran Wood, Warren Ellerbeck, Owen Morris, Nick Chadwic, Billy Green, Damon Garwood, Jared Oliver, James Brooker, Jamie Oyebode, James Chesterton, Tom PIckersgill, Chris Podd, Jonny Perkins