Pyrford missed the chance to go top after a defeat to improving University Strollers, and in doing so lost their 100% home record at their new ground. Pyrford had enough chances to win the game and were the better side despite playing well within themselves, and without getting the passing play going which has propelled them into their lofty league position.
Andy Fowler, Snipes, Arran and Matt Jones all returned in place of the unavailable Thommo and Andy Moore, with Snipes going straight back in the starting XI.
The game started slowly with Strollers looking dangerous from a couple of early corners, and Pyrford once again struggled to settle into their rhythm. A brilliant turn and shot by Lewis had the Strollers keeper at full stretch however, and Pyrford soon took control. Rob missed two great chances and Snipes fired wide, as Pyrford began to trouble the Strollers goal.
Strollers' extra height gave them superiority at set pieces, and they had two tamely headed efforts cleared off the line, but other than that they posed little threat to Nathan's goal in the first half.
Pyrford started the second half much better and Rob and Snipes had good efforts saved, but neither side looked like scoring until Strollers struck on the counter attack. A superb cross from the left bypassed 5 static Pyrford players and found the one striker who volleyed home at the back post. It was against the run of play, but Strollers had looked more incisive with the attacks they had, and moved the ball around with far more composure than the home side all game. Pyrford at last were stung into action by the goal. Greg hit a superb dipping volley that would've been a goal of the season contender if it were a yard lower, and Rob and Snipes again went close.
The opportunity to level should have materialised from the penalty spot after a melee as the ball was clearly and deliberately handled by a Strollers defender. The referee was badly out of position and therefore could not see it, but then proceeded to give a free kick to Pyrford when Snipes was bundled over immediately afterwards. How he managed to see this from the same position is unclear, and the incident was a good 3 or 4 yards inside the box but to everyone's amazement for the second time in under a minute the referee proved to be the only person at the ground who thought it wasn't a penalty. From the half way line it was a difficult call to make, but with clear footmarks where the incident had occured a little bit of common sense would've led to the correct decision.
It wasn't to be however and Pyrford threw everything at the home goal, and were almost caught out by another counter, with Nathan saving well. Arran had a late effort brilliantly saved by the Strollers keeper who made amends for poor handling earlier, but it wasn't to be as full time was blown with no injury time played in the second half, despite four substitutions, one goal, two yellows and understandable delaying tactics from Strollers.
The blame for the defeat however rests solely on the Pyrford players, who would've been comfortable winners had they taken their chances. Performances like these will not keep Pyrford at the top end of the table for long, and they need to get back to their simple passing game which served them so well earlier in the season. Strollers are a decent side who will take points off many of the better teams, but games like this need to be won to stay in the hunt.