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Combined Counties League Premier Division South
Saturday January 22, 2022, 2:00 pm
Combined Counties League Premier Division South
Farnham Town became the first team to be met twice by Jersey this season in the league. They are old rivals, by Combined Counties standards, having been promoted alongside Jersey Bulls and Walton & Hersham after the two abandoned seasons records were combined to calculate who should move up. Farnham were lying second to the Bulls in that first curtailed season and were top in the much shorter one that followed.
This season they started slowly but were lying tenth, having won their last four matches, when Jersey met them in mid October. A hard fought win that night started a poor run for Farnham of two wins and nine losses culminating in manager, Colin Milland, being replaced in mid December after they lost at Banstead Athletic.
New manager Tony Reid has a proven Combined Counties record. He took Westfield to the Premier Division title in 2018 and on to fifth place, and a play-off, in the Isthmian League the following season. After moving to East Grinstead Town, but failing to settle there, he was recruited by Farnham. He has already made wholesale changes and only six of the sixteen players that featured against Jersey in October were in their side today, four starting plus two on the bench. One of those survivors being top scorer Joshua Ogunseye, in a side now capable of defeating any team in the league.
Three successive away victories had lifted them to ninth place with a 9-3-11 41-40 record. 13 of those 41 goals had come in those three recent away wins and their current record is a lopsided one with just two home wins in the league but seven away.
Jersey were still missing the injured Karl Hinds and since Tuesday had also lost Adam Trotter and Lorne Bickley to injuries. Frank Tobin came in on the right of the defence, for his full debut, with James Queree, making his 50th appearance, returning to the centre of defence and Jack Griffin moving to the bench. Griffin was joined there by Joe Kilshaw who was displaced by the returning Kamen Nafkha in midfield. Up front Daryl Wilson was brought in as the target man with Fraser Barlow returning to the right flank. The other substitutes were Rai Dos Santos, Calvin Weir and Jake Prince, returning after injury.
A cold (8C) dry, still afternoon saw Farnham kicking off, attacking the Robin Hood end. After only a minute Barlow had a half chance when an attempted clearance rebounded to him eight yards out. He took a quick shot on the turn but did not get fully hold of it and Richard Ossai, in the Farnham goal, was able to block the attempt with his legs. Barlow did far better with a twenty-five yard left foot shot nine minutes later. Heading for the top right corner Ossai, at full stretch, got his fingertips to the ball. The subsequent corner was taken on the right by Jay Giles and was met at the near post by Ruben Mendes-Pestana. His deflection was heading to the bottom left corner before it was cleared off the line by Max Meaton.
Just after the quarter hour mark Arsen Ujkaj almost scored for Farnham when his twenty-yard snap shot just flew wide of the right post. The match developed into an intense, physical, niggly and scrappy midfield battle epitomised by a very poor tackle by Fareham’s Gregg Haydon, on Kamen Nafkha, earning the visitors captain the first caution of the afternoon.
Players were rarely allowed enough time on the ball to be creative but the Farnham attacks, often led by Ogunseye, looked dangerous at times and it needed good blocks by both Queree and Tobin to keep them at bay. With ten minutes to go to half time Ossai got away with a scuffed clearance straight to Nafkha but Nafkha was unable to control it well enough to take advantage.
The opening goal came in the last minute of normal time in the first half. A sweeping crossfield ball from Giles reached Tobin on the halfway line and his pass forward set Mendes-Pestana away on the right edge of the box. He cut inside Haydon and bypassed Matthew Steer in the middle with a pass to Wilson left of centre who had time to sweep it home, almost nonchalantly, past Ossai.
The equaliser arrived five minutes after the interval. Max Meaton dispossessed Sol Solomon and fed Kye Nash. Nash’s pass forward found Ogunseye on the inside of Giles, he wasted no time advancing and putting in a good cross which cut out both Queree and Luke Campbell. Meeting it on the six-yard line was new signing Max Blackmore who volleyed it powerfully in off the underside of the bar.
Farnham were not satisfied with a draw and now pushed forward looking for a winner and they had plenty of possession, often with Ogunseye probing down the right. However, the Jersey back four of Tobin, Queree, Campbell and Giles repeatedly repelled them. Matthew Steer joined Haydon and Barlow in the referee’s notebook on the hour after he went through the back of Wilson with a clumsy challenge.
Opportunities continued to be rare and there were numerous substitutions which also broke up the flow of play. With two minutes to go one of the substitutes, Prince, played the ball across the eighteen-yard line where Solomon hit it well first time. However, it was straight at Ossai who gathered it at the second attempt. That was the last meaningful action of the match in which both sides probably thought of it as a point gained, rather than two lost.
Jersey Bulls 1 (Daryl Wilson 45); Farnham Town 1 (Max Blackmore 50)
Attendance – 712
Programme – £2, 24pp colour
Jersey Bulls – Euan Van der Vliet, Frank Tobin, Jay Giles, James Queree (c), Luke Campbell, Kamen Nafkha, Fraser Barlow, Jonny Le Quesne, Daryl Wilson, Ruben Mendes-Pestana, Sol Solomon
Substitutes – Jack Griffin (not used), Rai Dos Santos (for Barlow 73), Joe Kilshaw (for Mendes-Pestana 87), Calvin Weir (for Le Quesne 79), Jake Prince (for Wilson 73)
Red/White/White; GK All Yellow.
Gary Freeman (Manager), Kevan Nelson (Assistant), Dan Seviour (Coach), Richard Hebert (GK Coach), James Robertson (Physio), Debbie Thompson (Psycho.)
Farnham Town – Richard Ossai, Max Meaton, Tom Smith, Harry Carter, Gregg Haydon (c), Matthew Steer, Joshua Ogunseye, Arsen Ujkag, Max Blackmore, Kye Nash, Omar Nyame
Substitutes – Ashley Lloyd (for Carter 84), Owen Dean (for Nyame 55), Karle Carder-Andrews (not used), Ben Bauchop (for Nash 73), Cavan Atkinson (for Steer 79)
White (Claret sleeves)/Claret/Claret; GK Orange/Orange/Black
Tony Reid (Manager), Louis Carder-Walcott (Assistant), Nathan Kim-Sing (Physio.)
Referee – Ross Murphy (Clapham) In his 11th season officiating, having started in the Hellenic League when at Reading University before moving to the Wessex League when based in Bournemouth and now with the Combined Counties since relocating to Richmond and now Clapham. Refereed the Bulls at Horley earlier this season.
Assistants – Steven Conway (Harefield) A very experienced official now in his 28th season, 18 of them on the National List when he occasionally acted as a fourth official for Football League matches as well as twice at Wembley for the Umbro Cup in 1995. The Umbro Cup was a quadrangular tournament where England hosted Brazil, Sweden and Japan and acted as a preparatory event for Euro 1996. Manuel Fernandez-Harris (Coulsdon) had twice been on the line for Jersey matches previously two seasons ago. The home match against Walton and Hersham and then the away game at Bedfont and Feltham.
Cautions – Haydon (FT) 24, Barlow (JB) 45+3, Steer (FT) 60, Solomon (JB) 90
Corners – Jersey Bulls (4) 5; Farnham Town (3) 6
Player of the Match Award (committee) – Frank Tobin (JB)
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