Knaphill v HVFC
Sat 3rd August
Combined Counties Premier League

HVFC – Terry Buss, Jeff Twumasi, Billy Nutbeam, Zach Powell, Louis Taylor, Guy Ansah-Palmer, Adrian Nosworthy-Browne, Chris Regis, Jordan Esprit (2- 33rd & 85th), Kwabena Osei, Ryan Esprit.
Subs:- Turnell Sinclair, Paul Roberts, Max Benincasa, Dan Gibbs, Andre Scarlett

Our season opener, against a much fancied Knaphill side, saw our boys produce a very encouraging performance.

Nerves were apparent for the opening period as both sides looked to find a rhythm and a pattern of play but as the game progressed into turned into a very competitive encounter with each side having periods of dominance.

Both sides looked well organised and both tried to stick to their game plan. The Knappers game was a more direct than the passing game that Boss Louis Walcott is instilling into our side but the contrast in styles produced an entertaining game.

The hosts hit the woodwork twice before we took the lead in the 33rd minute when a Terry Buss torpedo was chased down by Jordan Esprit who reached the ball just before the advancing keeper to slip it into the net. 1 nil, a lead we took into the break.

The 2nd half produced more of the same with each side swapping attacks. Our defence was keeping their shape and looked to be dealing with everything being thrown at them but, in the 72nd minute, a Knaphill forward went over Louis Taylors outstretched leg and Mealing scored from the spot to level the scores.

10 minutes later we were back in front. A quick counter attack down the right wing lead to Ryan Esprit finding his brother with a fine cross field ball and, once again, Jordan kept his cool to slip the ball past the keeper.

Just as we thought we were going to begin the season with a win the Knappers snatched a couple of points away. For probably the first time in the game, we left a forward unmarked in the box and Jewell was able to head the ball over Tel’s outstretched arm for a 90th minute equaliser.

With the game in added time a potential winning goal was ruled out by the officials. Turnell Sinclair muscled himself past Knaphills centre half and his flicked header looked to have limped over the line but the knappers sweeper got back to clear off the line, onto the post and out. The linesman deemed the ball not to have gone completely over the line, the referee agreed with him. I was in a much better, and closer, position than both and I can tell you that it did indeed go over the line but, in the overall context of the game it would have been tough on our hosts, and the draw was the fair result.

A good start. Looking forward to 2 consecutive home games now. A tough test against Southall on Tuesday and the FA Cup, against Fisher FC on Saturday.