On Saturday 3rd November, Cranleigh Prep played in the football Surrey Cup Final against Danes Hill. Having beaten a strong Harrodian team in the semi final two days earlier, the team was thrilled to make it to a third final of the season.
The match was a very difficult one, playing against the most technically able side we have encountered this year. It was apparent, even from an early point, that we would have to ride our luck a little to overcome their high press and skilful offensive players.
Louis P played exceptionally well in goal and kept out a number of chances in the first half. With James M and Tadhg M unable to convert the two opportunities we created, it always seemed a matter of time before we conceded. Heading towards half-time, a free kick from 25 yards deceived Louis and dipped underneath the crossbar, giving Danes Hill a deserved lead.
A change in tactics at half time gave our midfield more of a foothold in the match, and we competed extremely well throughout the second half. Knowing the second goal would be pivotal in what was now a very close encounter, sadly a fantastic strike from outside the box gave our opponents a cushion that was always going to be difficult to recover from.
The resolve and commitment shown in adversity is always the mark of a team and, once again, our Cranleigh Prep boys showed both in abundance. With two very good chances missed from corners, it felt like the tie was slipping away. However, a fantastic finish from James, lobbing the keeper on the run from a tight angle, set up a grandstand finish.
Unfortunately, the pressure we put upon their defence was ultimately insufficient and the time ran out before we could find an equaliser.
Chris Stone, Head of Football, says “It would be natural to feel that losing in all three finals this season could be considered a disappointing one. However, the manner in which we have played, the improvements we have made individually and collectively, as well as the sportsmanship and humility that have developed over the year, have truly made this a season that will live long in the memory. A fantastic group of young men, who have become a fantastic football team”.