Winless run ended by Cooper-Smith strike
The First team picked up a vital three points and ended a four game winless run when they beat Banstead Athletic 1-0 in a scrappy encounter on Saturday.
It was a slow start to the game, with neither side able to put their foot on the ball, and all to often passes were going astray. We did have half a shout for a penalty on six minutes, when Liam Holden went down under pressure from Ed Scurfield & Owaladi Tunde but play continued, despite Holdens protests.
Banstead had their first opportunity on ten minutes, when Asa Rixon-Nicholls was adjudged to have bought down Billy Frost but Danny Penfolds free kick was straight down Ollie Ellaways throat and a comfortable gather for the keeper.
Both sides then should have opened the scoring. After a spell of corners for us, Holdens cross was poked wide by Rixon-Nicholls, whilst at the other end a long clearance by former SCR keeper Sam Freeman-Johnson found 9 but he dragged his effort wide of the right hand post. Two minutes later and Matt Ferdinando fired a shot straight at the keeper.
We were starting to get on top of the game, with Ferdinando, Rixon and Matt Farrell dominating the middle of the park, and on 26 minutes we really should have taken the lead. Neat play in and around the midfield area saw the ball eventually reach Jean-Luc Kinsaba, his cross found Daryl Cooper-Smith, who set the ball back to Holden but his effort flew high over the bar.
Ferdinando had the ball in the net on the half hour, after a neat threaded pass by Farrell, but was marginally offside, and back at the other end Anthony Morrison should have opened the scoring for Banstead but fired over when well placed.
Cooper-Smith and Holden both had chances, but neither was able to trouble the keeper. With five minutes remaining in the half SCR should have taken the lead, neat play involving Farrell and Ferdinando saw us split the offside trap, and set Cooper-Smith away on the right wing, his low cross reached Ferdinando a couple of yards from goal, but his connection was poor and Freeman-Johnson made the save.
Frost found Ashley Elson but his effort was comfortable for Ellaway, then Scurfield found Frost who jinked passed a couple of challenges but fired over. As the half ended though SCR had the best opportunity of the game, when Jordan Gallagher split the backline and with only Freeman-Johnson to beat he dithered on the ball allowing Tom Drinkwater to recover and clear, and half time came scoreless.
Ferdinando went into the book early in the second half for a foul on Ricardo Williams. Archie Watkins free kick ten minutes into the half found Elson but his flicked header went wide, and we were almost caught out when Owen Davies overplayed at the back, but Rixon-Nicholls was on hand to make the clearance. Just shy of the hour and neat link up between Ferdinando and Holden led to a dangerous low cross just being poked wide by Cooper-Smith.
We continued to hold the upper hand but were not really threatening Freeman-Johnson, and you started to feel it might be one of those days. Taylor went into the book on 65 minutes when he bought down Elson as we looked to get caught short on numbers at the back.
Banstead grew into the half and had their own spell of pressure, with Frost just unable to reach a whipped in cross by Watkins.
Darren Salmon made his first change on 67 minutes with Arnold Okiror replacing Jordan Gallagher. Three minutes later and good work by Holden saw him bring a decent save out of Freeman-Johnson.
Salmon made a second change on 72 minutes, replacing Holden with Matt Auletta, and it was to have a decisive impact on the game. Five minutes after his introduction Auletta and skipper Aaron Bogle played a series of one twos on the right, with Bogles low cross being thumped home by Cooper-Smith. Two minutes later and it should have been 2-0, a long delivery by Bogle was handled in the area, giving SCR a spot kick. Cooper-Smiths strike was well hit, but Freeman-Johnson made a superb save, turning the ball wide of the right hand post.
We continued to press and both Ferdinando and Auletta did superbly on the right but both times the final ball was poor and Banstead were able to clear.
Ashley Cave was introduced, for his debut, in the 87th minute to freshen up the middle of the park, and replaced Rixon and SCR were able to see out the final minutes without to many scares.