Sonning 1XI 0 – 3 Reading 3XI
Men's 1XI start their 2017/2018 campaign.
Sonning began their 2017/18 campaign on familiar turf, at the Doom Bar Arena, but against unfamiliar opposition, with Reading 2A moving over from the London leagues to join their local rivals in MBBO. The home side were coming off the back of 2 promising performances, with wins against Marlow and Wallingford in pre-season.
With no major additions to the squad from the 2016/17 season, the side was familiar, but with Noel Plant and last year’s 2s captain Colm Hanlon winning places on the team sheet. Captain Jon Sharp is still yet to return from injury, but generally Sonning had a strong team on the field.
Their opponents started brightly however, and dictated play from the off. Sonning’s press lacked the sharpness seen in pre-season, and Reading’s forwards ran good channels to seemingly find space constantly. It was no more than 10 minutes before Reading broke through to get the opener, with a turnover high up the pitch allowing their forward a 1-on-1 in the D. He scored on the reverse, with more than a hint of back-stick, but the score line was fair at 0-1.
Sonning, to their credit worked back into the game and did have a few chances of their own. Two short corners and a few promising moments of open play gave reassurance at the break that the game was still on. However, 0-1 it stayed until half time.
Once again after the break, Reading came back quickly. Sonning’s press was having a better effect, but Reading’s backline were patient, transferred the ball well, and maintained the lion’s share of possession. Around midway through the half, they broke through again. This time through a short corner, with Ollie Waddington harshly seeing a stick tackle outside the D upgraded, along with a green card. The flick, low and hard into the corner gave Sonning keeper Ali Allan very little chance. 0-2.
The remainder of the half was far from ideal for the home side, with one more short corner goal shipped for 0-3 (final score), but more worryingly, Matt Sloper (playing centre back in the absence of Neil Pursell) rolled his ankle badly in the closing exchanges of the game, stepping on a loose ball and going down awkwardly. He will be missed next week when Sonning travel to Oxford 2s next week, hoping to kick start their campaign against an Oxford side who will be buoyed by a 5-0 win against British Airways in their opening. #COTN
MOTM: Thomas Sampson
DOTD: Matt Poulton