Cumnor Minors 6 – Quarry Rovers 1
Sunday 6th November 2016
First game after the half-term break saw Quarry in the salubrious surroundings of Abingdon Town FC to play against Cumnor, who had only won one game so far this season, and had been beaten 5-0 by Cholsey (who beat Quarry 6-0), so the crowd were anticipating a meeting of equals, albeit at the wrong end of the table. At least there was some shelter for the supporters from the bitter northerly breeze, plus a welcome hut dispensing hot drinks.
The early part of the game involved a lot of Quarry possession, but lacked an end result. Xander rattled the crossbar from a free kick after Sultan’s quick turn resulted in his legs being removed from under him, but for all the pressure there was little to exercise the Cumnor keeper. The same could not be said for ours, Ollie producing a succession of saves as Cumnor proved incisive on the break, including a flying effort to keep out a volley heading for the top corner. As the half wore on, Quarry were increasingly pinned back in their own half and struggled to find an outlet – Cumnor’s backs were quick and muscular and quickly dealt with any breaks. While it remained 0-0 you sensed that Quarry had hope of nicking a goal from somewhere, but Cumnor had worked out that their forwards had the speed on their side. Just before half time a Quarry move broke down and Cumnor worked the ball straight through the middle to their centre forward, who outpaced the four Quarry backs to slot home.
The crowd could almost see the hope evaporate from the players after that goal: Continuing a pattern from other games, a second goal came quickly as a Cumnor striker ran on to an admittedly fortunate flick to scuff a bobbling shot into the corner.
Any thought of a turnaround in the second half quickly evaporated, as almost straight from the kick off a cross was not cleared properly and was neatly turned in. After that setback, Quarry seemed to settle and the game became a bit of a midfield battle. Quarry hit the bar for a second time after Haider’s mazy run, but Cumnor were still dangerous on the break: A lot of the time they were playing too high and were repeatedly caught offside as their enthusiasm got the better of them, but a fair number of through balls still got through and had to be dealt with. Things started to fall apart again after everyone watched a throw-in which looked to be going straight out for a goal kick, only for a Cumnor player to reach it and cross for an unchallenged header; shortly after, a ball straight through the middle caught the defence flat (and flat-footed) allowing the Cumnor striker to waltz nonchalantly around a hesitating Ollie to roll it in for 5-0; The sixth Cumnor goal was actually the best of the game, fired in from the edge of the area from a cross.
You can never say that Quarry give up, and in the dying minutes Xander ran through and poked the ball past the advancing Cumnor keeper to chalk up a consolation goal.
This was always going to be a difficult season for the lads, but not for want of trying. They left everything on the pitch today, but it wasn’t enough. Quarry play great as a team, and no-one can doubt their fight and commitment, but at the end of the day, it’s goals that win matches.