A two win unbeaten start to the season had CPR Reserves brimming with confidence for what looked on paper as the toughest test of the season. New look Clarkstown Eagles were coming off an upset over United FC and likely to be a sterner test than in previous seasons.
CPR Res started where they left off from Barstonworth Rovers, patiently moving the play across the park, although making minimal head way into the final third.
As the half progressed Clarkstown became visibly frustrated with CPR’s possession, challenges from both sides becoming more forceful and the banter on the pitch getting ‘chippier’. Yellows for Andy Ma, with the tackle of the game, and Greg Moss, with a challenge later than a Shane Lennon arrival at a bar, showed we were more than up for the fight.
With space on the pitch and time on the ball becoming more evident, CPR began to make headway toward the opposing box. Edgar began to exploit the right and Ma rolled back the many years with forays down the left. A blatant penalty appeal on Edgar left the crowd (Atd: 5) bewildered, the ref whistle-happy only outside the box.
CPR’s stranglehold on the midfield paid dividends when Archie broke the the shackles of his defensive mid role, after another big win in the centre, cantered forward and delivered a rapier ball for the surprisingly onside Chris Norelli to finish with aplomb, the first-time half-volley leaving the keeper picking daisies. Archie is still waiting on Eli’s dressing down for distributing the ball.
Further chances for the front-line served to illustrate CPR’s dominance, which began to diminish towards the end of the half. The ghosts of last season’s late game capitulations, thought exorcised this, would come back to haunt CPR as they would rue the missed opportunities.
Late pressure from Clarkstown from set-pieces lead to a goal right on half-time from a third corner in a row, CPR failing to command their own 18 yard box.
Not that this goal served to deflate the home side. CPR created numerous other chances to regain the lead, throwing chances away like Ma discards sure fire “DTFs” on a Saturday night. Another obvious penalty on Edgar went begging, Dan C was trying to hit seagulls behind the goal and Andy Ma trusting his right foot for some reason. Captain Ma continued to bomb forward like a DPRK Scud missile, resulting in a less of a bi-cycle, more tri-cycle overhead kick attempt that barely reached the keeper.
As Clarkstown got more of a grip on the midfield with fresh legs able to retain possession, they began to carve out more chances. The sucker-punch came late in the game, another corner undoing CPR as they failed to clear again.
Greg Moss’ attempt from probably 65 yards was given all the commendations it deserved, especially from Mike D.
Late waves of attacks yielded nothing but the knowledge that the chances are there – can CPR take them?
Team: Jon L, Andy M., Devin, Justin, Greg, Ben H., Mike D., Archie, Edgar, Brent, Norelli, Alex, Alberto, Ruben, Dan C.