After a thumping win the previous week, the Reserves were in good spirits going into the game against top of the table Dunsfold. With Russ Minns away Phil Ney took over responsibilities of managing the team, as well as playing in goal for the absent Aaron Hennessy. The Reserves started off with a 3-5-2 formation: a back line of Gary Martin, Tas Makris and Thom Doggett, a midfield of Simon Stacey, Matt Rannie, Dima Minskiy, Ryan Sayers and Chris Murch. Leading the line were Dave Shilcock and Ben Moore. The Reserves started reasonably well with some early pressure and some good passing from Weysiders, but a ball was played through and, despite pressure from Gary Martin, the Dunsfold striker scuffed a shot just out of reach of Ney into the bottom corner. A wake-up call for Weysiders.
After the restart and some good work from Doggett, Sayers and Shilcock on the left, a ball was played across the box with Murch just missing wide at the back post. Moore and Shilcock worked hard, bringing Rannie and Sayers into play with some free kicks in dangerous positions awarded, as well as some corners won and, although close, the back of the net was not hit. Some strong challenges from Stacey, Minskiy and Rannie kept Dunsfold from too many further attacks. Two minutes before half-time, Dunsfold did make a break, with their winger just beating Doggett for pace with only the keeper to beat. A fine save from Ney kept him out, resulting in a corner that was well defended and cleared by Makris and Stacey. Half time: 1-0 to Dunsfold.
With the rain still hammering down and the wind making the conditions foul, the second half kicked off with a few changes. Weysiders switched to 4-4-2 at the back: Doggett, Makris, Martin, Bradley Goslin. Sayers, Stacey, Rannie and Freddie Richards were in midfield with Gino Valentino and Moore leading the line. Again, some good play going forward nearly resulted in a goal with the goalkeeper punching from a shot from Valentino with the follow-up from Moore being blocked.
The midfield was soon overrun and a ball played out to the left caused some difficulty. The Dunsfold winger twisted and turned and Doggett got a strong foot in, the ball bouncing awkwardly and luckily to a Dunsfold player who snapped a shot curling into the top corner off the inside of the post and into the back of the net just out of reach of Ney. It was a hard pill to swallow so soon after the restart.
Weysiders continued to look for the killer ball with Moore playing Valentino in again for the keeper to punch clear. The game soon became very scrappy with some late challenges from both teams put in and a lot of fouls conceded. Liam Cox replaced Sayers and was soon in an attacking position, with only the crossbar keeping his shot out. Soon, with another defence-splitting ball, the Dunsfold striker, with some trickery, got the better of the defence and slotted into the bottom corner of the net for 3-0. Dunsfold were now firmly on top of the game and they continued to push for another goal with some stellar defending from Doggett and Makris stopping a further goal. A quick break from Weysiders allowed Goslin to play in Richards on the right who put in a great cross with the keeper forced to make another smart punch to clear. A few minutes of pressure from Weysiders forced another corner and smart save from the Dunsfold keeper. A double substitution with Murch and Minskiy replacing Rannie and Stacey gave a little more energy in the midfield and Weysiders had a few more opportunities with unfortunately no final finish.
Against the run of play, Dunsfold broke on the right with the striker faking a pass across the box and then dragging his shot into the middle of the goal. With Ney moving one way, there was no chance to change direction and the ball hit the back of the net: 4-0. The final minutes brought some last-ditch defending and a save from Ney left the score at 4-0. The result was hard to take for the Reserves as it didn't reflect the play and the game. However, we win together and lose together. Next week is another week and bounce back we will.