Another improved performance by hard-working Pyrford was not enough to get a point against University Strollers, who had beaten Pyrford 9-0 just a few weeks earlier. It could've been so different, but for a terrible decision by the referee and some poor finishing, as well as some exceptional strikes for the Strollers' goals.
Pyrford started poorly and gave the ball away cheaply early on. A shot from the left wing was only parried by Matt and the follow up challenge by a Strollers player clearly involved a scooping of the ball with the arm, and the ball was tapped in from 2 yards. The referee waved away the protests, and not having a linesman, the decision was never going to be overturned.
Pyrford came more into the game but were soon two behind. A free kick some 35 yards out was despatched arrow-like into the top corner giving Matt no chance. Edd hit the bar from a corner soon afterwards and a good cross by Ben found Rob in the clear, but his touch let him down and the Strollers defenders were able to clear.
Two down at half time with no substitutes, and playing up the slope and into the wind, it wasn't looking good for Pyrford, but they started the second half much the stronger side and pulled one back early on in the second half. Good work down the right left Ben with half a yard of space, and he threaded a perfectly weighted through ball to Rob to finish well. Suddenly Pyrford were back in the game, and had the chance to equalise from the spot, after Rob's cross found Ben 6 yards from goal, but he was crudely hacked with a flying challenge. Ben scored the penalty, but the referee spotted Rob's encroachment into the box, despite the fact that at least 4 Strollers players had encroached ahead of him. Much to everyone's disbelief, he awarded a goal kick to Strollers instead of the retake he should've awarded as per the laws of the game. Having got themselves back into the game, this was a cruel and unnecessary blow to the home side, and had the referee known the laws of the game the result may well have been different.
Pyrford were still hunting the equaliser however, and Rob's industry almost provided it. He won the ball off the Strollers centre back, rounded the keeper well, then conspired to hit his shot straight at the one defender in the way of the goal, despite having most of the goal to aim at.
Strollers had their chances too, and the crossbar and a couple of fine saves by Duane, who had swapped with Matt at half time, kept Pyrford in the game. Pyrford kept looking for the equaliser, but with 15 minutes left found themselves two goals behind again. Greg was left with nowhere to go as everyone flooded forward, and he was dispossessed, and Strollers made their men over count to give Duane no chance.
To rub salt into the wound, Strollers added a fourth late on with another 30 yard strike, this one going in off the underside of the bar, to leave Pyrford deflated.
It was a harsh result on Pyrford given the events surrounding the penalty, but Strollers were the better side. Pyrford had looked more solid then in previous games, and the goals they conceded would not have gone in on another day. 2 brilliant long range goals, one handball and a counter attack were their undoing. However, it was a significant improvement on previous weeks, and if it sontinues the first positive result of the season shouldn't be too far away.