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Combined Counties League Premier Division South
Tadley Calleva FC
Saturday October 8, 2022, 3:00 pm
Combined Counties League Premier Division South
The Bulls returned to domestic action having played three matches just South of Rome. They had been there as the Jersey Football Combination team competing in the U.E.F.A. Regions Cup as England’s representatives.
Jersey met Tadley Calleva for the first time in a league match although they had opposed one another just under a year ago in North Hampshire in the Combined Counties League Cup. On that occasion Jersey fielded their U23 side and came away with a 2-1 victory.
Tadley is six miles north of Basingstoke with the Calleva suffix acknowledging the Roman settlement of Silchester, two miles to the east.
Plain “Tadley” joined the Hampshire League Division 3 in 1994 and worked their way up through the divisions of that organisation, adding “Town” as a suffix in 1999. They then joined the Wessex League in 2004, again at Division 3 level, at the same time changing their suffix to Calleva.
Tadley continued their progression and had spent three seasons in the Wessex Premier Division when the F.A. re-structure shunted them in to in the Combined Counties Premier League North last season. In the close season they have been transferred to the South section, so by the end of this season they will have met over sixty different opponents in three years.
Last season in the Northern section they finished tenth of the eighteen clubs with a record of 12-6-16 67-71. This season they made a strong start after a couple of heavy defeats early on.
Losing 2-6 at home to Wincanton Town in the F.A. Cup and then 2-5 at Colliers Wood United in their opening league game made for an unhappy start. However, since then they have won nine of their last ten matches.
They have had victories over Farnham Town, A.F.C. Croydon Athletic, Frimley Green, Guildford City and Banstead Athletic in the league.
In the F.A. Vase they have put out Virginia Water and Calne Town, the latter on “penalties” and must be confident for their match in the next round, at home to league rivals Guildford City, whom they have already beaten on their travels.
To those could be added success against Burnham in the Combined Counties League Cup and Bournemouth Poppies in the Hampshire Senior Cup on Tuesday.
Their only other reverse was 0-3 at Raynes Park Vale, so they have gone down by three goal margins to two of the League’s front runners. They now sit 8th in the division, just one place below Jersey, having played one game more than Jersey.
Jersey had slipped down the table as they had had two league matches re-arranged so that they could play in Italy. They were looking for a victory in order to keep up the pressure on the six clubs now above them.
For their first home match in almost two months Jersey had captain James Queree, unavailable and Joe Kilshaw was hors de combat from an injury suffered in the first match in Italy. Jersey’s talisman, Sol Solomon, had now left for pastures new at Marine, just north of Liverpool.
The starting team showed just one change from that at Shoreham with Fraser Barlow swapping roles with Jake Prince, now on the bench. Joining Prince there were Jack Cannon, Adam Trotter, Jonny Le Quesne and Sammy Henia-Kamau, with Henia-Kamau possibly making his senior competitive debut.
Tadley Calleva still had eight of the players that met Jersey U23 last season in their ranks, with Joe Dillon and Ben Lawler, previously with Cove, now having completed a year in charge of the team. They made six changes to the starting line-up that defeated bottom club, Banstead Athletic, in front of an attendance of 71 last Saturday. About 50% of that number had travelled over to support them today from in the Robin Hood enclosure.
On a pleasant early autumn afternoon (17C) with a northerly breeze, Tadley Calleva kicked off attacking the Robin Hood end.
It turned out to be a frustrating afternoon for the Bulls as the match between two of the “form” teams in the Division left those compiling the match highlights struggling for material.
Whether it was tiredness, playing again 48 hours after returning from Italy, missing the magic of Sol Solomon, or even the referee having been on the line for Bulls only other goalless game, at Redhill last season, only time will tell.
Both sides spent the afternoon passing the ball around neatly but neither possessed the required cutting edge to break the deadlock.
Tadley, with their thirty odd of supporters cheering them on from behind the Robin Hood goal, looked solid in defence and made a few promising advances in the first half. Those mostly fell down when their final pass failed to reach its mark.
An early Jay Giles free kick was headed on by Francis Lekimamati for Luke Campbell running in at the far post to volley over, but linesman Daniel Harvey already had his flag raised. Connor Thorne then tested Euan Van der Vliet, but from such a difficult angle that a parry was all that was required.
At the other end Francis Lekimamati put in a Solomonesque curling corner just after the half hour and a Fraser Barlow cross shot five minutes later were the only occasions when the Tadley ‘keeper was brought into serious action during a somnolent half in the autumn sunshine.
After the interval Frank Tobin got forward but his attempt only ended with a comfortable catch for Craig Atkinson. Tadley top scorer Brett Denham had also failed to make an impression up front and was replaced after the hour.
Gary Freeman also started to ring the changes. Jake Prince came on for Barlow and he immediately made a couple of surging runs, but both were halted with foul tackles by the uncompromising defenders.
The Shoreham saviour, Francis Lekimamati, also had to go off with a right knee injury to be replaced by Jonny Le Quesne and with just over a quarter of an hour to go sixteen year old Sammy Henia-Kamau was introduced for his senior debut, in place of Ben Le Rougetel.
A goalmouth melee led to Tadley gaining their only corner of the match but nothing came of it.
Henia-Kamau was soon welcomed to the adult scene with a bad tackle by Scott Kinge which earned the Tadley player a caution and three minutes later skipper Tom Walsh joined him in the referee’s notebook when he also took out Henia-Kamau on the halfway line.
Tadley’s defence continued to play deep, making it difficult for Jersey to get behind them as Tadley looked happy to settle for a point.
Jonny Le Quesne brought a save out of Atkinson and a Lorne Bickley header went just wide of the left post after a Sammy Sutcliffe cross deflected to him off a defender as the clock ticked down.
Bickley then went on a surging run down the left using his strength to burst past a trio of defenders but his eventual drag back from the byline was just behind the onrushing Henia-Kamau and was cut out before it could reach Prince.
Just as at Shoreham, Jersey’s best moment came in added time. Prince, with his back to goal, received the ball just outside the area. A quick shot on the turn was heading for the bottom corner but Atkinson was equal to the challenge and got down well to turn the turn the ball around the post.
The match ended shortly afterwards with Tadley celebrating a point with their supporters and Jersey left thinking how they are going to sharpen up their attack for their trip to Sheerwater on Tuesday.
Jersey remain in seventh place, one ahead of Tadley who have played a game more. Whether it was a point gained, or two lost, time will tell.
Jersey Bulls 0; Tadley Calleva 0
Attendance – 665
Programme – 28 pages, £2
Jersey Bulls – Euan Van der Vliet, Frank Tobin (wore 12), Jay Giles, Sammy Sutcliffe, Luke Campbell (c), Ben Le Rougetel, Fraser Barlow, Kamen Nafkha, Lorne Bickley (wore 16), Ruben Mendes, Francis Lekimamati
Substitutes – 14. Sammy Henia-Kamau (for Le Rougetel 73), 15. Jonny Le Quesne (for Lekimamati inj. 69), 18. Jake Prince (for Barlow 62), 21. Jack Cannon (not used) 23. Adam Trotter (for Mendes 83)
Red/White/White; GK All Green
Gary Freeman (Manager), Kevan Nelson (Assistant), Dan Seviour (Coach), Steve Martin (Physio.)
Tadley Calleva – Craig Atkinson, Alfie Saunders, Tom Walsh (c), Brad Neal, Joe Commuskey, Jamie Johnston, Scott Kinge, Ousman Darboe, Brett Denham, Adam Alliston, Connor Thorne
Substitutes – 12. Argend Ahmetaj (not used), 14. Andrew Charsley (not used), 15. Aaron Parfitt (not used), 16. Sheldon Wright (for Denham 65), 17. Christopher Horton (for Alliston 86)
All Yellow; GK All Royal Blue
Joe Lawler (Manager), George Cuffin (Coach), Barry Awberry (Coach), Caz Tuttle (Physio.)
Jersey Bulls (4-1-4-1 R to L) 1; 12-4-5-3; 6; 11-8-10-7; 16
Tadley Calleva (4-2-3-1 R to L) 1; 2-4-5-3; 8-10; 11-7-6; 9
Referee – Richard Marus (Worcester Park) – elevated to Level 4 in October of last season so he was refereeing his first Jersey match but had been on the line for the matches at Redhill (our only other goalless game) and Balham early last season. After working his way through the Surrey leagues this is his fourth season with the Combined Counties.
Assistants – Daniel Harvey (Ashford) dug out side & Michael Heavey (Colindale) grandstand side – both on their first Jersey games. Harvey having progressed through the Middlesex leagues is in his fourth Combined Counties season. Heavey has been with the Spartan South Midland league since 2009 but is in his second season on the Combined Counties list.
Cautions – Neal (TC) 26, Tobin (JB) 31, Kinge (TC) 79, Walsh (TC) 82
Sin Bin – Trotter (JB) 90
Corners – Jersey Bulls (2) 4; Tadley Calleva (0) 1
Player of the Match Award – Jay Giles
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