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Combined Counties League Premier Division South
Saturday January 28, 2023, 2:00 pm
Combined Counties League Premier Division South
Jersey hosted Sheerwater for their ninth successive, excluding the holiday break, Saturday home fixture. In that period just one league cup tie had been played away, although three away league fixtures had been postponed because of bad weather.
Jersey hoped to continue their impressive record against the Woking based side. Having won 4-0 at Springfield last season they have taken a liking to the Surrey team’s artificial pitch with 8-0 and 7-0 wins there.
Sheerwater had briefly joined the Combined Counties League in 1978, before dropping out, having finished bottom in their fourth season. After twenty years in various Surrey leagues they returned in 2003 to Division 1, but generally finished in the bottom half. However, they won Division 1 the season before the Bulls joined it and have been a lower mid table team in the Premier Division for the past three seasons.
Having played at their Recreation Ground until 2018 Sheerwater spent the next three seasons sharing at National League neighbours Woking. During that period their new 3G Eastwood Centre ground, part of a multi-leisure facility, was being built in the grounds of Bishop David Brown School.
The school is notable for being the alma mater of Paul Weller and other members of The Jam. The new ground was opened last season with a friendly against Woking. It holds 600 but has not yet reached a quarter of that for any of their league or cup fixtures.
Last season Sheerwater ended ninth with a record of 16-5-17 71-81 but this season are sitting eighteenth with just four wins 4-2-13 20-59.
Sheerwater manager, Pete Ruggles, left at the end of last season after seven years at the club. He was promptly appointed at Guildford City and all his backroom staff moved with him. Five Sheerwater players joined them.
Michael Herbert, the former Sandhurst Town and Woodley United manager was Ruggles’ replacement. Not one of the players who opposed Jersey last season was still playing at Sheerwater in October, although a couple of them had played against Jersey before, but for other clubs.
The club then saw “fireworks” a day early this season when on Friday 4th November the chairman, media manager, newly appointed management team and many of the players left with “immediate effect” due to “off pitch problems”. Captain, Danilo Cadete, and secretary, Trevor Wenden, just managed to put out a side the following day with just one substitute, a goalkeeper. Club President, Sean Wallace, managed the side at Colliers Wood United but they went down to a double figure defeat, 0-10.
Since then they have been rebuilding and two of those four league wins have come in their last three matches with wins against both Frimley Green and Alton after the major change of personnel.
In the F.A. Cup they beat Banstead, a match transferred to Sheerwater due to the poor state of the Banstead pitch, before a 1-2 defeat to North Greenford United of the Combined Counties North. In the F.A. Vase they put out Sandhurst Town, one of the front runners in Combined Counties Division 1, before going out on “penalties” to Brimscombe and Thrupp of the Hellenic Premier Division.
Nevertheless, Jersey sitting fifth in the table, were looking for a win that would keep them close on the heels of the top four.
Jonny Le Quesne and Jake Prince had not recovered from the knocks they received last week against Cobham. They joined Ruben Mendes, out for the season, and Fraser Barlow, injured in the away game at Sheerwater, on the sidelines. On the plus side Ben Le Rougetel, unavailable last week, returned to the squad, along with substitute goalkeeper, Robbie Scott.
For Sheerwater only Owen Sims of those that met Jersey in October was still in their young squad.
Joe Kilshaw, Luke Watson and Miguel Carvalho, all substitutes last week, started. For Watson it was his full debut. They replaced Kamen Nafkha, the injured Le Quesne, and Sammy Henia-Kamau, with the two fit players moving to the bench. They were joined there by Le Rougetel, Scott and Sammy Sutcliffe.
On a cloudy (7C) afternoon with a chilly easterly breeze, which made it feel colder, Jersey kicked off attacking the Town End, now the Jersey dug out end too. Jersey had a couple of early half chances but Lorne Bickley was closed down quickly each time. He scooped the first over the bar and was not able to beat Zachary Ward, in the Sheerwater goal, from a narrowing angle, with the second. He was being closely marked by central defender Bradley Pegg who soon earnt himself a caution for his “attentions”.
On the half hour Francis Lekimamati jinked to the left byline and Bickley, stretching, was very close to stabbing it home before Pegg cleared. Pegg’s clearance was fed by Watson to Joe Kilshaw, on the edge of the area, who hammered it back. He beat Ward but Pegg was again the stumbling block as he hacked the shot clear. Adam Trotter also saw a powerful twenty-yard shot held by Ward which a couple of yards to the left would have been unstoppable. Jay Giles, Trotter, Lekimamati and Carvalho also put together a sweeping move that was blocked for a corner.
After the interval Watson headed over, before a glorious pass of his gave Miguel Carvalho an opening that was snuffed out. Trotter was once again the instigator of the goal when it eventually came. His astute pass found Bickley in the right channel and he turned quickly and hit a low shot across Ward. Sheerwater striker Chris Machay was the next in the notebook. A poor first touch from Luke Campbell gave his opponent a chance to nip in but he caught Campbell and was cautioned, probably for cumulative offences rather than that one alone.
The second strike was a case for the dubious goals committee. Bickley again beat Ward from the right and rolled the ball goalward. It might have gone in on its own but Sims and Carvalho charged in with opposing ideas. Both they and the ball ended up in the net with Bickley generously giving the credit to the teenager.
Sheerwater immediately brought on Josh Gavin for striker Elliott Cannon and six minutes later broke their scoring duck against the Bulls. A long throw on the grandstand side from Sims was headed on by Sean Swift to Elliott York. York looked to push Watson in the back to enable him to head home, hitting the left stanchion, but appeals against the apparent foul were waved away.
Kilshaw brought down Thomas Whitby in midfield to earn Jersey’s only yellow card of the afternoon and a minute later any aggravation at the injustice of the conceded goal was salved when Jersey restored their two-goal advantage.
Kilshaw played a lofted crossfield ball to Frank Tobin on the right. Tobin put a cushioned header towards the penalty spot where Carvalho, the shortest player on the pitch, threw himself at it. His header crashed in off the underside of the bar to register his second of the match. Sheerwater again responded with the immediate substitution of a striker with Luke Taylor replacing Machay. Soon after that Nafkha was brought on for Kilshaw.
Bickley also scored a second. There appeared little danger as he was fed by Trotter
on the left but he cut past Pegg and his twenty-yard shot appeared to be left by skipper Liam Pestle for Ward. This caught Ward unawares and he dived too late to remedy the situation as the ball ended up in the bottom left corner.
This time a goal saw a Jersey change as they introduced Henia-Kamau for Lekimamati. Nafkha gave an overlapping Tobin a sight of goal but his first touch was heavy and gave a Sheerwater defender the chance to cut him off. Jersey then made a double substitution with Le Rougetel and Sutcliffe coming on for Tobin and Trotter. Sutcliffe moved into central defence and captain James Queree moved across to take Tobin’s place at “right-back”.
Sheerwater gained their second in the penultimate minute. Jersey put the ball out when Carvalho was injured, but their opponents throw in went to Sims forty yards out. Whether his long punt was intended to give the ball back to Jersey is unclear. However, it found Euan Van der Vliet off his line and it sailed in. Jersey claimed it was ungentlemanly but as no law had been broken there was nothing to be done.
With Knaphill suffering a surprise home defeat and Badshot Lea having their match postponed Jersey moved up to the third. They also learnt that their next F.A. Vase opponents will be the holders, Newport Pagnell Town, who needed a lengthy “penalty” shoot-out to overcome Leighton Town after they drew 1-1.
Jersey Bulls 4 (Lorne Bickley 53 & 78, Miguel Carvalho 61 & 71),
Sheerwater 2 (Elliott York 68, Owen Sims 89)
Attendance – 614
Programme – 24 pages, £2
Jersey Bulls – Euan Van der Vliet, Frank Tobin (wore 12), Jay Giles, James Queree (c), Luke Campbell, Joe Kilshaw, Francis Lekimamati, Adam Trotter, Lorne Bickley (wore 16), Luke Watson, Miguel Carvalho
Substitutes – 14. Kamen Nafkha (for Kilshaw 73), 15. Ben Le Rougetel (for Trotter 82), 17. Sammy Henia-Kamau (for Lekimamati 79), 21. Robbie Scott (sub GK, not used), 23. Sammy Sutcliffe (for Tobin 82)
Red/White/White; GK All Yellow
Gary Freeman (Manager), Kevan Nelson (Assistant), Dan Seviour (Coach), Richard Hebert (GK Coach), Steve Martin (Physio.)
Sheerwater – Zachary Ward, Owen Sims, Toby Thompson, Josh Thompson, Bradley Pegg, Liam Pestle (c), Elliott York, Sean Swift, Chris Machay, Elliott Cannon, Thomas Whitby
Substitutes – 12. Jimmy Comer (not used), 14. Luke Taylor (for Machay 72), 15. Josh Gavin (for Cannon 62), 16. Chris Adams (not used), only four substitutes
Royal Blue (White Sleeves)/Royal Blue/Royal Blue; GK All Light Blue
John Comer (Manager), Sean Wallace (Assistant), Jack Long (Physio.)
Jersey Bulls (4-1-4-1 R to L) 1; 12-5-4-3; 6; 7-8-10-11; 16
Sheerwater (4-4-2 R to L) 1; 3-6-5-2; 11-4-8-7; 9-10
Referee – Liam Chick (Wimbledon) A 24-year-old who has recently re-located from Whimple near Ottery St. Mary in Devon. Having qualified at the age of 14 he has previously been officiating in the Western and South-West Peninsula Leagues. This was only his third Combined Counties match.
Assistants –Nigel Hickes (Eastcote) on the dug-out side. The Combined Counties Assistant Referees Appointments Secretary was also at Springfield in April for the match against Frimley Town. That was a delayed “debut” as he was due here for the postponed Balham game in late January. He qualified in 1991 and has been officiating in the Combined Counties League for 26 years.
Simon Cudner (Edgware) on the grandstand side. Qualified in 1998 and spent 20 years with the Spartan South Midland League before being re-allocated to the Combined Counties League for the past two seasons. Hickes and Cudner also officiated together for our fixture at Abbey Rangers earlier this season.
Cautions – Pegg (S) 26, Machay (S) 57, Kilshaw (JB) 70
Corners – Jersey Bulls (2) 2, Sheerwater (0) 0
Player of the Match Award – Lorne Bickley
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