Colliers Wood 5-2 Tadley-Calleva - Match Report
With temperatures up in the mid thirties, we travelled to Wibbadune Sports Ground for our Combined Counties South season opener against Colliers Wood United.
After a disappointing exit from the FA Cup last Saturday we were eager to bounce back and get our league campaign off to a strong start. Unfortunately this did not turn out to be the case in the capital.
Colliers Wood United got us underway and looked to threaten early with a long ball out to the right wing which ultimately fizzled out and allowed us a chance to gain possession and get ourselves established in the tie. It was a strong opening 10 minutes from Tadley as we put some good passages of play together but struggled to create and clear cut opportunities. It was clear from the outset that wingers Jamie Johnson and Alfie Saunders would be a threat for the Colliers Wood defence.
In the 12th minute however, possession was lost in the middle of the park and the hosts broke into Tadley's half with speed, the ball was played out to Kiyo Brown of Colliers Wood on the right hand side who beat his man and put the ball into the bottom left hand corner, past an outstretched Craig Atkinson.
It wasn't long until we were level. Tadley dusted themselves off and on 16 minutes won the ball back strongly down the right hand side. Alfie Saunders picked up the loose ball and started a run inside, past 2 defenders and slotted the ball through to Jamie Johnson who put the ball past the helpless Colliers Wood goalkeeper. We were back in the game. 1-1.
Due to the heat and the quick tempo in which the first half was being played, both teams seemed to cancel each other out, neither side really creating much of chance to punish. It was on the half hour mark when Tadley gave the hosts far too much time on the ball to pick out a pass through the heart of the defence to find Wood forward Ali Fofanah who subsequently put the ball away to regain their lead. The calls for offside were waved away but the protests from Tadley's defence did seem justified.
It was much of the same between the goal and half time. Tadley were good on the ball when going forward but struggled to create When playing through the middle the ball was held on to for too long and lost, allowing the home side to create opportunities which were met with some quality from Tadley Goalkeeper Craig Atkinson.
Half time - Colliers Wood United 2-1 Tadley-Calleva
3 minutes into the second half, Colliers Wood picked up the ball down the right hand side and drove into the box, pushed out to the by-line he managed to beat the defender and cut back into the 6 yard box. A fantastic ball winning tackle from Adam Allaston was applauded by both players and supporters. The referee had another idea and pointed to the spot! To the disbelief of the Tadley 11 a penalty was awarded, for a tackle that was applauded. Kieran Campbell put the ball on the spot and tucked the ball into the corner to give the home side a 3-1 lead. Tadley had it all to do from here.
On the 53rd minute, managers Joe Lawler and Ben Dillon decided to make some wholesale changes when 4 substitutions were made. Replacing both centre halves and both centre midfielders. From this point, Tadley looked more compact and seemed to create a few more opportunities, mainly down the left through Jamie Johnson who was the standout for Tadley on the day.
On the 72nd minute, Alfie Saunders picked up the ball on the half way line and travelled deep inside the Colliers Wood half. He unleashed a shot which found it was way past the hosts defence for Ben Wright to react quickly and poke the ball past the goalkeeper. Game on!
When all thought that a comeback could be on the cards, disaster struck in the form of Colliers Wood number 10 Ali Fofanah. From kick off, the ball was retained and played to the number 10 about 25 yards out. He took a shot and the ball was destined for the top corner as soon as it left his boot. 73 minutes - Colliers Wood 4-2 Tadley-Calleva
The final 15 minutes were slow, laboured and the heat had clearly taken its toll on both sides. There was not much in terms of quality for the final 15 minutes as both sets of players made some sloppy mistakes and a few half chances were created both ends of the field. On the 90th minute of the game, Colliers wood substitute William Kendall found himself alone in the Tadley box and finished the game of with a composed finish.
11 goals conceded in 2 games will be scrutinised but the morale and determination of the Tadley squad and support will allow instant improvement. We host Farnham Town on Tuesday 16th August at Barlows Park. 19:45 KO