100% Home Record taken by League Leaders
Tadley-Calleva succumbed to their first home defeat of the season as Combined Counties South league leaders Abbey Rangers ran out nil-two winners at Barlows Park.
After a period of postponements for both sides, this fixture came as a welcome return to competitive football and a chance to put three points on the board.
The visitors started strong and physical, not allowing Tadley-Calleva time on the ball or a chance to settle. They could have opened the scoring as early as the eighth minute after a Charlie Postence shot sailed over the bar as the ball fell to him on the edge of the Tadley-Calleva box.
As Tadley-Calleva grew into the first half, chances were being created from both flanks. A big chance came after a ball into the box by Sheldon Wright was met by Ben Wright's audacious overhead kick which was saved brilliantly by the Abbey Rangers goalkeeper, Sam Gray. This would be a frequent occurrence throughout the ninety minutes.
As the game started to get more physical, scrappy and heated, the visitors opened the scoring.
After a series of chances from corners as we approached half time, on the 40th minute the ball was loose, it fell to Cooper-Smith on the edge of the box who struck the ball straight into the top corner.
Tadley-Calleva came out for the second 45 determined and busy. With chances being created it was Abbey Rangers goalkeeper SAm Gray once more who's performance kept the visitors one goal lead.
Two fantastic chances in the 57th & 58th minute respectively were met with two outstanding saves at the near post.
However, against the run of play, a long ball forward from a goalkick was misjudged at the back by the home side and the ball fell to the towering figure of Charlie Postance who took a touch and struck the ball past James Andrews left and into the bottom corner to make it nil-two.
Moments later a coming together between Sheldon Wright and the Abbey Rangers full back got heated and resulted in a straight Red Card for the Tadley man after a push on Tommy O'Neill.
Tadley-Calleva had to play the last twenty minutes with 10-men and done so very well. They controlled the majority of the final moments forcing some more excellent saves from SAm Gary in the Abbey Rangers goal.
Despite the efforts of the Tadley-Calleva front line, they could not find the goal to set up a blockbuster final ten minutes.
Tadley-Calleva lose their 8 game 100% record at home this season, while visitors Abbey Rangers remain top of the league table.
Next up at Barlows park - Balham FC / 4.2.23 / 15:00