West Hove v HRFC
Defeat: 4-1 (2-1 halftime)
Sunday’s away game against West Hove (on our home ground) followed an unprecedented Rivervale win against our local rivals in a friendly the previous weekend. The game kicked off just after 1300 and in the first minute Rivervale took the lead, with Max put through on goal and finishing smartly. The goal seemed to shock West Hove and for the opening minutes Rivervale dominated possession and chances. After successfully defending a flurry of West Hove corners, Rivervale came close to getting a second, again Max through on the break. Around 12 minutes in West Hove won another corner and this time the defence were unable to prevent West Hove from equalising. Rivervale kept their heads up and the next few minutes saw a number of chances for Kane and Max, as well as shots from Joel and Callum – the closest being a lob from Kane that seemed to take an age to drop agonisingly just the wrong side of the crossbar. But West Hove continued to threaten and as the half progressed started to gain the upper hand, taking the lead with about 10 minutes of the half remaining. Rivervale almost got back on terms a few minutes later, another strong run from Max, but overall West Hove finished the half more strongly and it took some great defending to keep the score at 2-1.
Rivervale got off to a slow start in the second half, but some changes saw improvements and the team started to play with a bit more purpose. But West Hove continued to have the better chances and despite some good defending extended their lead to 3-1 when Rivervale failed to clear their lines. The next period saw two strong penalty appeals for fouls on Connor rejected, which came on either side of a bad challenge from Joe C that resulted in him getting a yellow card. A few minutes later a West Hove player joined Joe in the book for a two-footed challenge and the following period saw some robust, lively football with both sides having chances and some further penalty shouts from Rivervale. Sadly, it was West Hove who capitalised, getting their fourth from a quick break and though Rivervale came close to getting a consolation, the game ended 4-1.
Though disappointing not to get something from this ever-eventful fixture, there were many positives. Connor showed lots of strength on the ball and really deserved to get at least one penalty. Jake had an excellent game in a defensive midfield role and Max was unlucky to only get one goal. Following the win in the friendly and taking a first minute lead, it did seem that this may be our time to beat West Hove. It wasn’t to be, but it was a tight game against a strong team and one we stayed in until the final whistle. And we will get one final chance this season.