Long Crendon made the trip to Surrey to meet table-toppers Virginia Water Reserves on Saturday and returned with a fully deserved three points.
Crendon made five changes to the starting eleven following the defeat to Thame Rangers, with Tom and Oli Lethbridge, Dino Bonwick and James Hawkes all returning, while Brett Collings came in for his full debut.
On a decent surface, there was immediately a greater intensity to Crendon’s play this week, with the majority of the play taking place in the Virginia Water half. Both Hawkes and Oli Lethbridge, who were a handful all afternoon, had shots blocked, while Harry Pettingell whistled several dangerous crosses across the face of goal. Skipper Alex Farley then tested the Virginia Water goalkeeper with a low free kick to his left before coming even closer when he latched on to a loose ball on the edge of the box and curled a left foot shot against the underside of the bar and out again.
It looked as if the first half would end without reward for Crendon’s dominance but right on half time they finally broke the deadlock. Nathan Brownsword, who had already whipped in one devilish delivery that just evaded Scott Hardy, produced another dangerous inswinger and Farley guided a flicked header into the far corner.
The second half was a pleasure to watch from a Crendon perspective with only the Virginia Water keeper preventing a more comprehensive scoreline in the away side’s favour. The half started with a big Crendon shout for a penalty – Pettingell burst past two defenders on the right and squared for Oli Lethbridge, who appeared to be fouled as he shaped to shoot but the referee waved play on. Hawkes then got free in the inside left channel but dragged his shot wide. However, Crendon weren’t to be denied and a slick counter attack saw Farley slide in Pettingell and he drilled his shot into the bottom corner, deserved reward on a day when he toyed with his marker.
With the back three of Bonwick, Hardy and Tom Lethbridge in imperious form, leaving George Collingwood largely unemployed in the Crendon goal, it was largely a case of whether Crendon could add further gloss to the scoreline. Oli Lethbridge hit the angle of post and bar, while Hawkes and Farley again tested the Virginia Water goalkeeper, before Collings nearly capped an impressive debut display with a rasping drive but the score remained 2-0 at the final whistle.
All in all, a very professional performance on a day when every Crendon player could be pleased with their performance.
Team: Collingwood, Hardy, Bonwick, T Lethbridge, Hawkes, Brownsword, Collings, Pettingell, Farley (c), Sykes (Wassell), O Lethbridge.