Molesey vs Banstead – Pre Season Friendly
Hello and welcome back. The first game of the 13-14 season saw FITB go to the Walton Xcel centre for a pre-season friendly on an artificial pitch. This was exciting not only because it signalled the start of another year of non-league football, but also more clubs in non-league interested in installing 3G pitches, it would be interesting to see what a game on a 3G pitch would be like.
Last season Molesey finished in a mid-table position in the Combined Counties Premier Division, whereas Banstead finished second to bottom of the Combined Counties Division 1, finishing above only the very poor CB Hounslow. Molesey would then be expected to beat Banstead in the game, but would be likely to face a tough fight from a team who would be itching to test themselves against stronger opposition
The first 20 minutes of the game were pretty uneventful. Both sides had half chances but could not make these chances count. It was clear to see from the start of the game however, that Molesey were a better team than their opponents and were much more confident on the ball. Around 20 minutes in, Molesey really picked up their game and missed 2 very good chances to take the lead. It took until around 15 minutes before half time for Molesey to finally score. The goal came after a swift counter attack in which a perfect through ball was put through to the Molesey striker. He finished easily, with the help of some poor positioning from the Banstead goalkeeper. After this goal it was one way traffic. Molesey had a few more opportunities before adding a second goal, a good long range effort that skidded along the 3G pitch right into the bottom corner. This was swiftly followed by a third after the original effort from a counter attack was saved and the rebound was slotted into the unguarded net. The fourth goal came just before half-time after the Molesey forward easily beat 2 Banstead defenders and finished well. It was 4-0 at half time and could have easily been more; things were looking embarrassing for Banstead
The second half started in a similar fashion to the way the first half ended, the only difference being Molesey could not finish their chances. Banstead did occasionally come forward but never really looked a threat. It was a bit like watching the Nigeria vs Tahiti match all over again. The only reason the score stayed in single figures was a combination of solid goalkeeping, some atrocious misses and the woodwork. Molesey managed to hit the woodwork on four occasions in the second half. The worst of the Molesey misses came after a counter attack which left Banstead very exposed. The Molesey winger squared the ball to a striker in the middle who just had to tap home but instead, with complacency setting in, tried to wait and lob the keeper, but his effort was cleared off the line before the rebound was hit into the post and the rebound of that was saved! The fifth goal eventually came through a horrific goalkeeping error. The Banstead goalkeeper claimed a corner but dropped the ball across the line, gifting Molesey a fifth goal. There was still time for Molesey to hit the post and Banstead to test the Molesey goalkeeper with a powerful shot from the edge of the box. The game was extremely one sided and I was very surprised to only see 5 goals from a very strong Molesey team. Based on the evidence of this game, it would appear that Molesey could challenge strongly for promotion, whereas Banstead could be looking at another season towards the bottom of their division, although there is plenty of time for this to change