Woe at Cove
By Gary Brigden
Despite a vastly improved performance, Valley crashed to an 8th straight defeat on Saturday
Strange game football, Mole Valley turned in probably their best performance on the season, in terms of possession and restricting the opposition chances, but still found themselves on the wrong end of a 4-1 scoreline.
Manager Darren Salmon rung the changes, with John Culley and Sunil Okonedo in for their debuts, whilst their were recalls to the starting line up for Giz Raca, Liam Holden and Jameish Holait. Making way were the unavailable Leigh Bowden, the ill Martin Smith, and the working Jay Holden, whilst Adrian Butler and Simon Taylor were left out of the squad completely.
Cove opened brightly but after an initial spell of pressure, Valley got on top, with Tommy Hedges and Giz Raca putting in some decent crosses, however Valley fell behind on 9 minutes. Raca tried a cross field ball to James Cottrell, it was intercepted, and from the resultant corner, Calvin Thomas fired home from the edge of the area.
Cottrell then stopped a good run by Laurie Walters, but injured himself in the process and Salmon was forced into an early change.
James Brown saw an effort well saved by Cove keeper Tom McNeil, before Cove increased their lead midway through the half. Player manager Dean Thomas being allowed a free header from a corner, for 2-0.
Valley responded well, Kris Barry went close, and Hedges saw an effort blocked, before Culley was forced into an excellent save at the feet of Ben Easey.
Valley were given the perfect start to the second half. Only four minutes in and Liam Holden chased down a back pass, and although McNeil went round him, the keeper inexplicably passed to Taylor Mollatt who rolled the ball into the empty net, bringing Valley back into the game.
A flurry of attempted shots and blocks on 15 minutes looked likely to bring Valley level, but somehow Cove survived. Holden went close 20 minues into the half before Culley pulled off a tremendous save from Easey, after a mistake Vigan Rexhepi.
With 15 minutes remaining Cove increased their lead, a great run by Robert Mitchell ended with a cross to the unmarked Rinaldo Kumbaakasaki for 3-1.
Nick Wightwich was denied by by the keeper before Cove sealed victory with 5 minutes to go, a cross from the right was missed by Garry Allan, and Danny Turner fired home.
Allans afternoon went from bad to worse minutes later, when he reacted to a stamp on him by Michael Kinsella, by lashing out and was shown a straight red - as is often the way, the initial stamp went unpunished.
Full time came and valleys search for a break continues.
Team: John Culley; Giz Raca, Garry Allan, Jameish Holait, Sunil Okonedo, James Cottrell; Taylor Mollatt, Tommy Hedges, James Brown, Kris Barry; Liam Holden
Subs: Nick Wightwick (for Hedges), Vigan Rexhepi (for Cottrell), Paul Yoo, Scott Francis - not used