A trip to Kent on a Tuesday evening to play 2017 Winners & current London League Premier Div leaders Bexley is always a tough ask and even an M25 closure could not stop a determined young Watford team from venturing south of the river to take on a strong Bexley side. Only the inclusion of Danny Davis, Alun Dorrington and Paul Skerm ensured we fielded a team with an average age north of 20 years.
Team: Cameron Baker, Karan Basu, Danny Davis, Alun Dorrington, Will Eggleton, Adam Page, George Sadler, Paul Skerm, Jack Warman
Bexley put us under pressure from the start, forcing a string a great saves from goalie Karan Basu. Watford did not allow themselves to be overawed by an opposition that included two London Olympians, but our attack struggled to find a way through in the opening minutes. Inevitably Bexley opened the scoring, but didn’t lead for long, as quick thinking from Danny Davis enabled Cameron Baker to level things from close range. Davis then fed Adam Page, who scored a sublime goal, nonchalantly lobbing the Bexley goalie to give Watford an early and unexpected lead.
Bexley quickly levelled, but it was Jack Warman’s turn to set up Baker for his second goal. But Bexley picked up the pace, scoring two goals to end the first quarter with a slender 4-3 lead.
Bexley started the second quarter extending their lead to 5-3. Then Will Eggleton, hemmed in by two defenders, back flicked around both of them straight into the Bexley net, taking everyone by surprise (including himself). Not satisfied with that, he then fired in a 5m foul and shot to bring the scores level at 5-5. Watford were playing really well as a team. Bexley used a man-up to restore their lead before Paul Skerm levelled with his own 5m effort. We clearly had Bexley rattled, as they resorted to long shot after long shot. Eggleton then scored a solo goal, bringing up his hat-trick and getting Watford back into the lead at 6-7.
It was real end-to-end stuff in the third quarter. Bexley exploited a debatable man-up decision to get back level with Watford. Davis struck back with a 5m goal. Bexley replied in kind. Davis then fed Skerm, who restored Watford’s lead with a lob close in. Bexley reciprocated. 9-9. Then, having been pushed back to half way by a defender, Davis simply sent the ball towards the Bexley goal, and scored. Remarkable. Watford then executed a perfect man-up, with George Sadler setting up Baker for his third goal. Watford had a two-goal lead. Remarkable. A late Bexley goal narrowed the gap, as the quarter ended 10-11.
Bexley quickly levelled things at the start of the final quarter, before Page set up Sadler, whose lob restored Watford’s lead. Step up Bexley’s Sean King and some rather disappointing refereeing, and suddenly we found ourselves trailing 15-12. You could tell that the team were disheartened by the turn of events, but they didn’t give up. On a man-up, Davis selflessly didn’t take the shot, passing instead to Baker, who drilled in his fourth of the match. But it wasn’t enough, as Bexley scored two more goals. Still Watford didn’t give up, as Warman and Page linked up to feed Skerm, who ended the match with a final lobbed goal. Final score Bexley 17, Watford 14.
The five traveling supporters all agreed it was a fantastic performance by the Watford team.