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Combined Counties League Premier Division South

Jersey Bulls

Saturday September 17, 2022, 1:00 pm

Leg O'Mutton Field

Combined Counties League Premier Division South

Match Report

The Bulls, having missed out on their top of the table home game against Raynes Park Vale last week, because of the F.A. decision to suspend football for the weekend following the Queen’s death, travelled to Surrey again. This time to meet Cobham at their Leg o’ Mutton ground in their first match of the new reign.

Cobham played in the Surrey Senior League from at least 1964 until that league became the nucleus for the Combined Counties League at its inception in 1978. They have been ever present since then with a best finish of second in 1999, a season that also saw them reach the third round of the F.A. Vase.

Relegated from the Premier Division in 2009 Cobham returned in 2018 after finishing runners-up in Division One. They were mid table in both abandoned seasons.

Last season Cobham finished 14th with a record of 10-11-17 49-64. They had been as high as ninth when they visited Springfield in February but their season, like Jersey’s, tailed away in the later stages, though without them ever being in danger of relegation.

They fell at the first hurdle in the F.A. Cup, going out to Sevenoaks Town of Isthmian Division 1 South-East, albeit it after a replay. In the F.A. Vase they were exempt to the second round by virtue of reaching the last 16 the previous year, but then lost at home to Egham Town.

This season they sit 12th in the division with two wins and three losses. The wins have both been at home, 2-0 v Knaphill and 3-1 v Camberley Town. Both away games were lost, 0-1 at Farnham Town, 2-3 at Colliers Wood United as well as 0-2 at home to Fleet Town.

Cobham are out of three cup competitions already. They lost 0-3 at home to Tooting and Mitcham United in the F.A. Cup, 1-2 at home to Lydd Town in the F.A. Vase and 0-3 at Guildford City on their last outing which was in the Combined Counties League Cup.

Last season Cobham proved obstinate opponents in both games with Fraser Barlow scoring vital goals in each of them. At Cobham on a sunny mid-August afternoon Barlow opened the scoring only for the exotically named Prince Otto to equalise within minutes. A second half goal from Lorne Bickley just after the hour restored Jersey’s lead before a late clincher came from Ruben Mendes.

The return match in the first week of February at Springfield took place in much chillier conditions with a cold wind bringing the temperature down to single figures.
The match was decided by the only goal of the game scored by Barlow just before the hour mark.

Jersey made four changes to the starting line-up of two weeks ago at Redhill, Euan Van der Vliet returned for Pierce Roche in goal and Luke Campbell started his first match for six months in place of Harry Curtis who had returned to university. Joe Kilshaw replaced Kamen Nafkha in midfield and Sol Solomon, an unused substitute at Redhill, played his 70th Bulls match in place of James Carr. Carr was on the bench along with Francis Lekimamati, Ruben Mendes, Jake Prince and Sammy Sutcliffe.

After an impeccably observed minute’s silence in memory of the Queen, Jersey kicked off, defending the eastern Anvil Lane end on another pleasantly sunny afternoon. ‘Anvil’ Lane, coupled with the latter half of ‘Cobham’ leading to the club being known as “the Hammers”. The grass on the Cobham pitch was in excellent condition though it is being turned into a 3G pitch towards the end of this season with the club due to play their last six or so home games elsewhere.

The Bulls were on the attack immediately, forcing a corner in only the first minute, and three in the first ten. From the last of these Campbell, at full stretch, managed to get in a half volley but it lacked the strength or direction to unduly trouble the Cobham ‘keeper, Harvey Keogh.

A couple of minutes later they did score. Solomon was held back by Cobham skipper, James King, as he threatened down the left. From the free-kick twenty yards out Solomon managed to curl the ball in to the top right corner despite Keogh being stood in that half of the goal. This was Solomon’s 60th Bulls’ goal.

After the Cobham bench had been spoken to by referee Fernando Costache another Solomon free kick nearly led to a second goal. This time taken on the right, he found Bickley’s head near the penalty spot but Keogh, diving to his right, managed to fend off the threat.

Two minutes later Bickley was felled by King in a similar spot from where Solomon had scored the opener. Another talking to resulted but no card. This time Solomon went for the left side of the goal and Keogh, despite again lining up on the right, did well to get across and push it away for a corner.

After the half hour another set piece saw Solomon find Bickley again but the striker could not control his header this time and the target was never in danger.

Cobham’s first opportunity did not arise until ten minutes before the interval. Jacob De Sa looked to lack conviction when he hit a snap shot from twenty yards and all Van der Vliet had to do was retrieve the ball from the untenanted shed enclosure.

Solomon almost doubled Jersey’s lead three minutes before the break. Had he succeeded it would have been a contender for goal of the season. Closely marked on the left side of the box by Ryan David and King, he cleverly eluded both and lobbed Keogh with a half volley only for the covering Nick Burgess to clear it off the line with a spectacular bicycle kick.

Cobham retaliated immediately when Derick Hayford spotted Van der Vliet off his line. A twenty-five yard lob to the top left corner saw the keeper’s only significant action of the half as he backpedalled to tip the ball over for Cobham’s first corner. After the break Fraser Barlow laid a ball off to Solomon but his shot cannoned back off Burgess. Captain James Queree was called up by the referee a second time re a foul by Frank Tobin that again seemed insignificant.

Before the hour Barlow played a low ball forward for Bickley to run on to. He put it clear and duly “scored” but he had advanced just too soon so linesman Aiden Farrelly had his flag raised immediately.

Cobham’s Ryan Marklew was eventually the first in the referee’s notebook before a smart one-two between Bickley and Tobin was just slightly overhit to prevent Bickley latching on to the lobbed ball forward before Keogh reached it.

Bickley then had a chance for the second. Joe Kilshaw fed Solomon on the right, and on one of the few occasions Jersey got behind the home defence, his low cross was met by Bickley. Scrambling back across his goal Keogh had the ball hit him whereas a yard either side he would have been picking it out of the net.

From the consequent corner Solomon’s cross eluded the centrally placed Bickley but Barlow kept up his record of ‘a goal a game’ against Cobham. Coming in unmarked to Bickley’s left he hit a left foot volley into the roof of the net to give Jersey the comfort of a two-goal cushion.

Kilshaw was then cautioned for an innocuous tackle that baffled the spectators as much as it did the player. To his credit he just looked amazed and shrugged it off.

The second goal seemed to switch the Jersey defence off. Ben Senior broke down the left, cut in and fired a shot across Van der Vliet towards the right corner. Fortunately, Jay Giles had read the danger and cleared it with a diving header.

Ruben Mendes was introduced for Jonny Le Quesne and the already cautioned Marklew then felled Barlow on the edge of the box but only a free-kick resulted.

At the other end the Jersey right flank again looked vacant as Tristan Cover was found in acres of space. Advancing he rolled the ball across the face of the goal to substitute Reis Stanislaus. A first-time finish would surely have resulted in a goal but he took a controlling touch and then tried to place his shot. That was all it took for Campbell and Giles to fly in with smothering tackles and the imminent danger was averted.

Queree was also cautioned for a relatively minor offence before he blocked off another dangerous Cover run down the Jersey right side.

Ben Le Rougetel, suffering with cramp, was replaced by Lekimamati for the last five minutes and Jake Prince had a short run out at the expense of Barlow as Jersey won with two set piece goals and Van der Vliet maintained a comfortable clean sheet.

The win moved Jersey briefly up to second place before a later kick-off saw Badshot Lea maintain their 100% record at the expense of Raynes Park Vale and overtake them. Raynes Park Vale had had the only other “perfect” record so Jersey stayed above them and finished the day in third place.

Cobham (0) 0, Jersey Bulls (1) 2 (Sol Solomon 13, Fraser Barlow 67)

Attendance – 83

Programme – online only

Cobham – Harvey Keogh, Ryan David, Tristan Cover, Niall Stillwell, Nick Burgess, James King (c), Derick Hayford, Ryan Marklew, Antonis Kozakis, Jacob De Sa, Ben Senior
Substitutes – 12. Harvey Walker (for David 86), 14. Craig Lewington (for Stillwell 79), 15. Ashley Charles (for De Sa 73), 16. Reis Stanislaus (for Kozakis 66), only four substitutes

Red & Black Stripes front, all Red back/Black/Black; GK – Black(Yellow shoulders)/Black/Black

Craig Lewington (Player/manager), Adrian Browne (Assistant), Ross Chalke (Coach), Dawn Adams (Physio.)

Jersey Bulls – Euan Van der Vliet, Frank Tobin (wore 16), Jay Giles, James Querée (c), Luke Campbell, Ben Le Rougetel, Fraser Barlow, Joe Kilshaw, Lorne Bickley (wore 16), Jonny Le Quesne, Sol Solomon

Substitutes – 2. Jake Prince (for Barlow 88), 12. Francis Lekimamati (for Le Rougetel 85), 14. Ruben Mendes (for Le Quesne 73), 15. James Carr (not used), 18. Sammy Sutcliffe (not used)

White/Black/White; GK All Yelllow

Gary Freeman (Manager), Kevan Nelson (Assistant), Richard Hebert (GK Coach), Kayne Bickley (Physio.)

Cobham (4-4-2 R to L) 1; 2-6-5-3; 7-4-8-11; 10-9
Jersey Bulls (4-1-4-1 R to L) 1; 16-4-5-3; 6; 7-8-10-11; 9

Referee – Fernando Costache (Uxbridge) his first Jersey match.

Assistants – Joe Alborough (Teddington) also at his first Jersey game, on the dug outs side and Aiden Farrelly (Hanworth) on the grandstand side. Farrelly was on the line for the wins at Molesey and Guildford last season and then travelled to Springfield in mid-April for the match against Frimley Green. Farrelly was sporting a black cap as he was looking into the sun.

Cautions – Marklew (C) 61, Kilshaw (JB) 69, Queree (JB) 80

Corners – Cobham (1) 3; Jersey Bulls (4) 6

Player of the Match Award – Luke Campbell (JB) on his first full match in six months


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