08:00AM, Thursday 16 January 2020
An ‘up and down’ kind of day went the way of the visitors as Risborough Rangers beat Holyport 4-2 at Summerleaze Village on Saturday, but Port boss Derek Sweetman felt his side played the better football on the day.
Port came into the game having lost just twice in the league all season, while Risborough have churned out more wins than anyone else in the Hellenic League Division 1 East this season, so a cracking game was always on the cards.
It didn’t fail to live up to expectations but Sweetman will be disappointed by his side’s lax start to the contest, as well as their failure to go on and win the game once they got back on level terms at 2-2 early in the second half.
Risborough showed their experience in the first half, scoring twice in the opening 14 minutes to open up a commanding lead. But Port stuck to their game plan and levelled things up with goals from Fabian Driffill – direct from a corner kick – and Dan Rapley, who swept home a volley early in the second half.
At that stage Sweetman thought his side would go on and win but Risborough showed their experience to disrupt their rhythm and two controversial goals saw them come away with the points.
“It was an up and down kind of day for us,” said Sweetman.
“When we were 2-0 down after 14 minutes I was thinking ‘here we go’. But the lads stuck to their game plan and were the better team heading into half-time.
“We had some words at the interval and five minutes after the restart we scored through Dan Rapley. At that stage we were the ones on top and deservedly so. They didn’t know what to do and it led to some unsavoury incidents.
“ We didn’t rise to it but at that stage of the game we were the side looking to try and win the game.”
Sweetman was disappointed with the officials on both of Risborough’s late goals, believing both should have been chalked off. But he said the contest had ‘refocused’ players minds on achieving their goal of a top four finish.
Saturday’s defeat leaves them in fifth position ahead of a key game at home to fourth placed Milton United on Saturday.
“It’s down to how the officials apply the rules and on Saturday they went against us,” he said. “Their third goal was by all accounts offside and the fourth was also contentious.
“We’re disappointed because I feel we were the better footballing side on the day.
“But they’re an experienced side and that counts for a lot at this level. They’ve won more football matches than anyone else, they’re miles ahead in that department.
“But even their own match report said it was an even contest that could have gone either way and we’re looking forward to the rematch.
“If anything it’s refocused the players’ minds and we’re looking forward to an exciting second half of the season. We’ve dropped to fifth but are still well placed for a top four finish.”
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