Newport Pagnell F.C.

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Isuzu UK FA Vase

Jersey Bulls

Saturday February 11, 2023, 1:00 pm

Willen Road

Isuzu UK FA Vase

Match Report

After being drawn at home twice Jersey received probably one of the hardest – away to the holders Newport Pagnell Town. It is unusual for the holders to be defending the trophy as they usually do well enough in their league to earn promotion and therefore move up to the F.A. Trophy. However, Newport Pagnell finished fifth last season with a record of 24-3-11 83-44, some 24 points behind the second promotion place, with an average home league attendance of 142. This season they again lie fifth, but with games in hand, 11-5-1 41-14, with their home attendances boosted by 50%, to now average 220.

The club was established as Newport Pagnell Wanderers in 1963. They joined the Third Division of the North Buckinghamshire League in 1964. Moving up the divisions they then won Division 1 three times. In 1971 the club joined Division 2 of the South Midlands League before being renamed Newport Pagnell Town in 1972.

After finishing second in their second season there they moved to Division 2 of the United Counties League. They reached the Premier Division in 1982 and although relegated from it twice regained their place each time and were ever present for two decades.

F.A. restructuring saw them return to the Spartan South Midlands for the two pandemic seasons, lying 4th and 6th when the abandonments came. They were then returned to the United Counties League, now split North and South, for last season.

Their F.A. Vase triumph was not all plain sailing as although they defeated Littlehampton Town 3-0 in the final they had needed “penalties” in three of their eight previous matches. This included the semi-final win versus Hamworthy United in front of 1,858, the record attendance at Willen Road. Another was against Leighton Town which they repeated in the last round this season. Having won away at Baldock Town and Norwich United in previous rounds they attracted the rounds biggest gate of 1,435 when they hosted their near neighbours, Leighton (Buzzard) Town.

Only 14 miles apart the well supported Spartan South Midlands table toppers brought 355 with them to give the hosts their second highest ever gate. Leighton gained an early lead in the shoot-out only to miss their 4th, 8th and 9th to let Newport Pagnell back in despite them missing their 2nd and 8th. Another big crowd was expected for the visit of Jersey and the match was made all ticket for the 2,000 capacity ground with a grandstand seating 100.

The club initially played on a pitch on Bury Field Common, using the Cannon pub on Union Street for changing rooms. When they moved up to the South Midlands League in 1971 the club played at the Youth Club in Wolverton Road, before relocating to their current Willen Road Sports Ground in 1972. The new ground was opened with a match against Bletchley Town.

Jersey made two changes to last week’s team against Camberley with Luke Campbell and Kamen Nafkha returning at the expense of Ben Le Rougetel and Joe Kilshaw. They were on the bench along with Miguel Carvalho and Sammy Sutcliffe. Joining them there were Jonny Le Quesne and Fraser Barlow, both returning from injury, plus Pierce Roche as the substitute goalkeeper.

Newport Pagnell made three starting changes to the team that won 4-1 at Godmanchester Rovers on Tuesday to maintain their promotion push. Top scorer Albie Hall returned with Kieran Barnes and Shane Bush elevated from the bench.

Newport Pagnell won the toss leaving Jersey to kick off on a dullish afternoon of 10C attacking the Clubhouse end from which a breeze was blowing.

The pitch was high bouncing and bumpy which made good football difficult but this suited the hosts who played a long ball game to their big front men. At the back they put in no nonsense clearances and in midfield they closed down Jersey quickly. It looked as they had done their homework stifling the visitors and muscling them out of the game. It was effective, if not pretty, and gave the crowd, including a number of Jersey supporters, little to cheer about.

After five minutes Jay Giles was dispossessed by Lewis Wilson who then beat Luke Campbell. Euan Van der Vliet came out to claim the ball before Wilson could shoot but he was beaten by a bobble, as was Wilson, and only a goal kick resulted.

Ben Ford surged forward just after quarter of an hour and seeing Van der Vliet off his line tried a speculative shot from thirty yards. It sailed very high and the ball had to be retrieved from the middle of the training pitch beyond the hedge behind Van der Vliet’s goal.

However, it was a portent of what was to come, the turning point of the match. From the resulting goal kick the ball was looped forward by Kieran Barnes, Jake Watkinson, and then Wilson to Hall. He headed the ball down to Ben Shepherd in the left channel who put in a twenty-yard cross shot. The ball hit the underside of the bar, onto the inside of the right post and down. It bounced out and was scrambled away from the onrushing Wilson but the assistant on the dug-out side Shaun Barry, twelve yards up the sideline, immediately signalled a goal. Memories of 1966.

Depending on your point of view it either a very courageous or very foolhardy decision and close scrutiny of the match tape is inconclusive. It gave Newport Pagnell the lead and they defended it grimly. Goal scorer Shepherd being the first, but surprisingly, only caution of the day when he scythed down Adam Trotter as he looked to make a midfield break on the half hour.

Jersey did little to worry Martin Conway in the home goal until ten minutes before the break. Then James Queree pumped a long diagonal ball in to the box which was headed out by Shane Bush. It fell to Sammy Henia-Kamau who sidestepped Christian Smail and put in a powerful shot to the top left corner but Conway had read it well and parried it away.

Jersey continued to come more into the game and won their first corner six minutes from the interval. Giles played it to Lorne Bickley towards the near post and his glancing header beat Conway but was headed away off the line at the back post by Bush before Luke Watson could apply the coup de grace.

After 42 minutes a Giles free kick on the right found Watson unmarked towards the far post but he did not make a good connection and Conway was able to save comfortably. From the clearance Luke Campbell came off worst from a clash of heads and had a cut on the left side of his. A lengthy stoppage saw him cleaned up and he was to return after half-time heavily bandaged.

The second half opening was frenetic as Jake Watkinson broke free in the left channel three times in the opening five minutes. However, he skied two of his cross shots and the other went straight to Van der Vliet. In between these Jersey had their own opportunity. Watson put Henia-Kamau away on the left and his cross from the byline reached Lekimamati near the penalty spot. The onrushing player could not make contact as he attempted a left footed volley and the danger was cleared,

On the hour Wilson put another attempt high and wide before a home “supporter” behind Van der Vliet’s goal threw a plastic bottle of soft drink at the visiting ‘keeper. The referee stopped play and notified the home officials who promptly had an appropriate announcement made and despatched more stewards to that end of the ground.

Lorne Bickley, seeing little of the ball, snatched at a shot from the edge of the box which sliced right and Carvalho, recently introduced for Nafkha, had a narrow angle attempt easily caught by Conway.

Newport’s manager, Gary Flinn, was spoken to by the referee, for his vehement protests about a throw in decision before Jersey made a double substitution in an attempt to break down the opposition who were defending in numbers. Fraser Barlow, after four months out, and Jonny Le Quesne, after three matches off, came on for Henia-Kamau and Frank Tobin.

Newport Pagnell nearly doubled their lead with eight minutes left. A Shepherd free kick twenty-five yards out hit the defensive wall but he did much better with the follow-up attempt. His well-struck cross shot volley was heading towards the top right corner before Van der Vliet, at full stretch, pushed it away.

Carvalho reached the left byline and crossed beyond the far post where Watson cushioned a header towards Barlow at the right post six yards out. Unfortunately, the substitute could not manage to direct his header on target.

Continuing frustration at the referee saw Trotter sin binned with two minutes left when he saw Le Quesne dragged to the ground by substitute Lewis Markey only for the official to see it the other way.

Seven minutes were to be added and in the second of those Carvalho was injured which meant Jersey were down to nine players briefly as they attempted to take the match to penalties. It was not to be and so after seven matches Jersey went out but at least they will be exempt to the second round “proper” next season.
Newport Pagnell Town 1 (Ben Shepherd 16), Jersey Bulls 0

Attendance – 990 (the highest of the round)

Programme – £2, 36pp

Newport Pagnell Town –Martin Conway, Adam Pryke (c), James Sage, Christian Smail, Lewis Wilson (wore 14), Albie Hall (wore 20), Kieran Barnes, Ben Shepherd, Jake Watkinson, Shane Bush, Ben Ford.
Substitutes – 12. Lewis Markey (for Wilson 89), 13. Dan Willett (sub GK) (not used), 15. Bobby Knight (not used), 16. Ryan Lynch (not used), 17. Aaron Pike (not used), 22. Robbie Buchanan (for Hall 83), only six substitutes

Colours – All Green (White trim to shirts and shorts); GK Orange (Black shoulders) / Black / Black

Gary Flinn (Manager), Gary Chance (Coach), Jim Stoyles (Assistant Coach), Lou Barry (Assistant Coach), Scott Sinfield (Physio.)

Jersey Bulls – Euan Van der Vliet, Frank Tobin (wore 12), Jay Giles, James Queree (c), Luke Campbell, Kamen Nafkha, Francis Lekimamati, Adam Trotter, Lorne Bickley (wore 16), Luke Watson, Sammy Henia-Kamau

Substitutes – 14. Joe Kilshaw (not used), 15. Jonny Le Quesne (for Tobin 78), 17. Miguel Carvalho (for Nafkha 66), 18. Fraser Barlow (for Henia-Kamau 78), 21. Ben Le Rougetel (not used), 22. Pierce Roche (sub GK) (not used), 23. Sammy Sutcliffe (not used)

Red/White/White; GK All Yellow

Gary Freeman (Manager), Kevan Nelson (Assistant), Dan Seviour (Coach), Richard Hebert (GK Coach), Chloe Montgomery (Physio.)

Newport Pagnell Town (4-4-2 R to L) 1; 2-10-3-7; 14-4-8-11; 20-9
Jersey Bulls (4-1-4-1 R to L) 1; 12-4-5-3; 6; 7-8-10-11; 16

Referee – George Laflin (Stowmarket)

Assistants – Shaun Barry (Northampton) on the dug-outs side and Josh East (Warwick) on the tennis courts side

Fourth Official – Sam Lee (Northampton)

Cautions – Shepherd (NPT) 30

Sin Bins – Watkinson (NPT) 77, Trotter (JB) 88

Corners – Newport Pagnell Town (1) 4, Jersey Bulls (1) 2

Player of the Match – Luke Campbell


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