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Saturday 05 October 2002
Bob Farrance takes a look at Netherne Village FC in action

Horley Town 0 Netherne Village 0
Saturday 5 October - Thomson Sport and Social Club, Tinsley Lane, Manor Royal, Crawley.

1 Ray Merry
2 Akin Gallimore
3 Glen Mulcaire
4 Sim Johnston
5 Ryan Smeddles
6 Mehmet Mehmet
7 Dave Towse
8 David Fry
9 Chris Theodore
10 Dwaine Townsend
11 Andrew Trefry
Subs:- Daniel Jones, Dougie Punch, Daniel Couch.
Manager - Nicky English

Defence ? Akin Gallimore, Sim Johnston, Glen Mulcaire
Midfield ? Andrew Trefry, Ryan Smeddles, Mehmet Mehmet, Dave Fry, Dave Towse
Forwards ? Chris Theodore, Dwaine Townsend

The Netherne team, which included seven players in the starting line up and two on the bench, who have all previously taken the field for AFC Wimbledon, took on a Horley side, who had lost only two of their previous nine games, on a very dry and bumpy pitch in Crawley. Playing a 3-5-2 formation, Netherne had to contend with a very confident Horley side who had the advantage of playing down a seriously steep slope in the first half. At half-time, Netherne had just about edged the balance of play.

The back line of Akin Gallimore, Sim Johnston, and Glen Mulcaire, better known to AFC fans as Trigger, totally snuffed out the Horley attack. Sim dominated in the air and Akin and Trigger stopped the Horley attack from making any ground with some well timed challenges. It was noticeable that Trigger appeared to relish his new role on the left hand side of the defence and he took the opportunity to start many of the Netherne attacks with some good passes into midfield for Dave Fry. By the end of the first half, Horley had been restricted to no more than three efforts on goal and those that were on target were comfortably dealt with by Ray Merry.

Both in the first half and the second, much of the creative work for Netherne was being carved out by Dave Fry, who was well supported by Andrew Trefry and Dave Towse. Ryan Smeddles made a number of strong challenges as did Mehmet Mehmet who was in the thick of it both in a receiving and giving sense. So effective was the Netherne midfield that Horley were continually closed down and harried off the ball. Eventually they were denied any creative play and were left looking at the more direct approach to the Netherne goal which the back three dealt with easily.

Up front, Dwaine Townsend and Chris Theodore worked tirelessly throughout the first half and created a few openings only to be denied by the Horley defence who did well to get in some last ditch tackles and blocks.

The second half was a much more lively affair and as manager Nick English quite rightly said in the bar afterwards "...if it had been a boxing match the referee would have stopped it". Again, Netherne totally dominated at the back where Akin, Sim and Trigger restricted Horley to just two attempts on goal. Feeling the pressure of Netherne attacking down the slope, the Horley side became far more physical and after allowing some strong, quite illegal, challenges to go unpunished the referee sent off one of the Horley midfielders for what seemed a fairly innocuous challenge about 35 minutes into the second half. The referee?s performance was best summed up by one of the Horley players who said that "...whilst he had an absolute stinker at least he had an absolute stinker for both sides". The referee also booked Dwaine Townsend and Mehmet Mehmet for Netherne, the latter for impersonating a dying swan in the Horley penalty area.

Early in the second half Nick English replaced Andrew Trefry with Daniel Couch. Dan slotted in without difficulty and had a very solid game. Netherne continued to attack but were unable to breach the Horley defence. About 20 minutes into the second half Dwaine Townsend was replaced by Dougie Punch, playing his first game for Netherne. Dougie went to the right side of the defence where he coped comfortably and Akin was asked by Nick English to play up front. However, even with this change to the Netherne attack, the Horley defence did not give way. In the main, this was due to the final ball into the box lacking sufficient quality or players just failing to link up. As the game drew to a close, Netherne piled on the pressure but failed to break down the 10 men of Horley. With 10 minutes remaining, Nick English made his last throw of the dice by sending Daniel Jones on for Akin Gallimore. Unfortunately, Daniel had little time to impose himself and Horley held on.

For any AFC fans reading this report, I would strongly suggest that if the opportunity arises, you get yourself down and give the Netherne side your support. I can asure you that you will not be disappointed. The crowd at the game was in the region of 30. This included yours truly (Boring Old Fart), his wife (Sandie) and daughter (Carla) who out shouted the Horley supporters. Afterwards in the bar, it was clear that the Netherne players, particularly those who have played for AFC, welcomed the interest and were glad to know that the AFC supporters were interested in how they were doing.