Men's 1s out of cup
By Jack Rooney
1st round exit to well drilled Reading side
Double header weekends featured prominently last year as P&R Men's 1s made their way to the semi finals of the cup, however this seasons run would be much shorter, after exiting in the first round against Reading 2's. After a hard fought and important league win on Saturday a game at home against a team who were much higher in the leagues, faced a P&R side who sacrificed their Saturday night to be fresh and ready for a challenge.
The sun was low in the sky and temperature ambient, a glorious setting for knockout game. Reading would start strong, playing high and wide forcing P&R to defend, but defend they did - Mike Monks, Tom Gosling and Ali Palmer keeping the attackers at bay, getting numbers back and looking for a counter attack opportunity. Pressure mounted, and despite a brief spell of possession and a simply outstanding save from Austen Hearn, a quickly taken free hit gave the visitors the lead. Down but not out P&R rallied and steadied the ship, cutting out passes, making crucial tackles and after a long spell of nothing started to create chances - but yet, not able to trouble the Reading keeper. At the end of the half Reading had a 2-0 lead leaving P&R a small mountain to climb.
Not being ones to give up easily and with nothing to lose, the home side started to see weakness in the defences and channelled attacks with pace forwards, rewarded with chances and short corners. It took two attempts, but a "from the training ground" PC was converted by Jack Rooney, halving the deficit. Boosted by a goal a second wind blew over, belief even, but short lived. The game became stretched, Reading were finding long passes to the corners and were rewarded with 2 goals from some well worked and disciplined play.
It was not over, P&R threw everything at it and individual brilliance from Jonti Merry set in motion a comeback Bradley Wallace able completing the move with a tap in. With the game drawing to a close Reading pushed on looking to finish the game off, and as the sun dropped lower in the sky a tired home side couldn't keep up letting Reading in for a 5th. With the game possibly gone but giving up, P&R pressed on, Steven Eastman's trademark engine provided a break, a move, a shot from Dan Howgego - blocked by a foot.
Bolstered by the crowd P&R setup and went all in, crash it down the middle and hope - and it landed perfectly, the shot rebounded, collected and converted by Jonti. 5-3 would be the final score, P&R tired but content to give a team much higher up at leagues a test.
A well fought game against a tough opponent.
Reading 5 - 3 Phoenix & Ranelagh