Long Crendon were made to work hard by a stubborn Virginia Water side but three goals in the final quarter of the game and a third consecutive clean sheet saw the home side take all three points.
Two changes were made to the side that beat Thatcham Town Development with Nathan Brownsword and Archie Pettingell coming in for Dan Reilly and James Hawkes.
From the outset it was clear that Waters had come with a gameplan to frustrate Crendon as they got almost everyone bar their lone frontman behind the ball. To their credit, they showed good discipline with Crendon generally running out of ideas in the final third and Archie Pettingell was mostly left to feed off scraps. However, it was he who had the best chance of the first half when Harry Pettingell made a great run down the right and crossed low to Ben Thomas, whose shot was blocked by the goalkeeper and Archie’s instinctive reaction finish was also deflected away by the prone keeper. The dangerous Thomas, who was a bright spark throughout the first 45 minutes, also caused panic in the box with a couple of darting runs but the final ball came to nothing. Crendon were then dealt a blow right on half time as he was forced off with a groin injury and replaced by Joe Russell.
Half time: 0-0
Playing down the slope in the second half there remained a feeling that it would only be a matter of time before Crendon created more good chances but frustration began to kick in when Tom Lethbridge headed an Alex Farley free kick back across goal, only to see a combination of Tom Sykes and Harry Pettingell unable to force the ball in from a couple of yards out. As invariably happens, Waters then had a chance on the break when a swift counter attack exposed George Collingwood in the Crendon goal. He was more than equal to the striker’s effort, though, and a recovering challenge from the impeccable Lethbridge was enough to avert the danger. It was on 70 minutes when Crendon broke the deadlock. Yet another Tom Sykes corner caused pandemonium in the Waters box and after a spell of pinball, Nathan Brownsword fired home to the relief of the home side. Waters had little time to recover from the blow when Crendon doubled their lead after the best move of the game. Producing one of his trademark coruscating runs from midfield, Eliot Farley swapped passes before sliding in Archie Pettingell, who finished with ease. With the tension relieved, Crendon now produced some lovely stuff and added some extra gloss to the scoreline when Harry Pettingell intercepted a loose backpass and finished for his first of the season. Another solid day at the office for the boys in green with most of the plaudits on this occasion going to the goalkeeper and back four who are all in tip top form.
Team: Collingwood, B Sykes (Reilly), Bonwick, Lethbridge, A Farley (c), Brownsword, E Farley, H Pettingell, A Pettingell (Davis), T Sykes, Thomas (Russell).
Goals: Brownsword, A Pettingell, H Pettingell.