Match Report :
Tuesday 4th August 2020 (7:45pm) – friendly
STAINES TOWN (0) 2 EAST GRINSTEAD TOWN (1) 1
Paul Barnes was finally able to take charge of his fourth game as Staines Town Manager, as these two clubs tentatively emerged from the CoViD-19-induced lockdown. It was anything but a return to normal, however, with government and FA rules meaning that paying spectators could not be admitted, the dressing rooms were not in use, and there was no catering of any sort at Wheatsheaf Park. Both clubs had to submit lists of playing and non-playing attendees, to be checked in by David Brown at the gate, and the essential staff on site included cleaning contractor John Blair, who did his rounds several times during the evening ensuring that the various fixtures and fittings were sanitised regularly. Staines fielded a different XI in each half, and of the 22 players, the only ones who were not making their Swans débuts were Will Efambe, Tayo Oyebola, Andrew Blake, and Fred Hill, who clocked up a total of 15 appearances between then in the final month of the aborted 2019/20 season. Like Staines, East Grinstead were sitting at the foot of their region of the Isthmian Division 1 when last season was voided, but they have recruited forcefully during the summer and are aiming much higher this time around. The evening was hot (although shilling as a strong breeze sprang up in the second half), the pitch in very good condition, and the home side attacked the Silver’s Farm End in the first half.
The respect handshake was dispensed with, but the sides briefly ‘took the knee’ before kicking off to promote racial equality and justice. Staines started brightly, having the better of the early exchanges, and might have gone ahead when newly announced skipper Temitope Eweka rose to head a corner kick only for a defender to clear off the line. But with their first threatening attack it was The Wasps who took the lead with a crisp Michael Uwezu shot from 12 yards nestling in the bottom corner of Bertie White’s net. The visitors then threatened to consolidate their lead, but a goalbound shot following a 29th minute corner was cleared off the line.
Following the change of ends, and the introduction of some younger players by both managers, Staines enjoyed another good period, and were unlucky not to level on the hour when Efambe received a clever pass but sidefooted just wide of the far post when he seemed odds-on to score. However, 3 minutes later William Efambe made up for it by making it 1-1 following excellent approach work by Kain Adom, who might have scored himself earlier in the same move. Drinks breaks midway through each half have become a feature of football since the Premier League’s resumption, and it was after the second of these that the game really opened out, with both teams having several chances to win it. Hill went close within seconds of the restart. With 5 minutes left, Mr Rea was pointing to the spot after a trip by Diego Carmo on Leslie, but Swans’ newcomer Monty Everett saw his penalty well saved by Dan Smith. Friendly-match goodwill perhaps saved the hosts a yellow card when Jamie Rudd burst through on goal for the Wasps, but Carmo’s powerful free kick was blocked, and with 2 minutes remaining that may have been seen as putting the seal on a draw. But Staines had other ideas, and on 89 minutes Tyreke Leslie danced his way through a crowded box before letting loose a low shot that took a deflection on its way to the bottom corner of the net. There was still time for East Grinstead to fashion one more good chance, but the final whistle soon blew on a welcome victory.
|4th August 2020||7:45 pm||Friendly||2020-21|
|12A Wheatsheaf Ln, Staines TW18 2PE, UK|
|Club||1st Half||2nd Half||Goals||Outcome|
|Staines Town FC||0||2||2||Win|
|East Grinstead Town FC||1||1||1||Loss|