Honours Even at Barlows Park
Two first half goals saw the spoils shared on Saturday at Barlows Park thanks to some outstanding goalkeeping from the Balham number one.
The home side started much the brighter and within three minutes had the first real chance of the game. Skillfull winger Jamie Johnston picked up the ball on the left hand side, and with a marauding run beat the Balham defence, he cut inside and unleased a shot which sailed narrowly over the bar. Early warnng signs for Balham.
There was no let up from Tadley and just five minutes later the home side opened the scoring. It was Johnston again who was the architect. He picked the ball up on the left flank, drove into the box and played a square ball to Rudy Knott who tapped in for his first goal in Yellow and Black.
Balham woke up and started to get more of a grip of the game. The game evened out and any chance of a Tadley second eas quickly thwarted by a reorganised defence.
On 27 minutes, the visitors were level. An inswinging corner from the far side of the pitch was not claimed by the outcoming Tadley goalkeeper and the ball started to bounce around the 6 yard box. Balham were the first to react and the ball was slotted home to bring the scores back level.
The visitors grew more and more into the game and could'e taken the lead if not for a strong hand by the Tadley goalkeeper to deny a fantastic opportunity.
Balham were on top and looking very dangerous with a lot of the play coming down Tadley's right hand side.
Tadley held on for the half and went in level after the first 45.
If the first half was anything to go by, there would be chances a plenty in the second half. Unfortunately, this was not to be the case.
The first 10 minutes of the second half was frantic, with neither side being able to get hold of the ball and string some passes together.
There were no real clear cut chances but 20 minutes into the half, a loose ball from Balhams goalkeeper fell to debutant Rudy Knott who was unable to convert a golden opportunity and the chance went begging.
The half went flat, unitl the final 10 minutes of the 90.
Neither side looked hapy with a point and both threw everything at the game.
A free kick for Tadley with 5 minutes to go looked like the perfecet range for the prolific Ben Wright. From 25 yards out, he managed to bend the ball round the wall but was denied by an outstanding finger tip save from Hayen Read in the Balham net.
Read was at it again just moments later in injury team when a point blank save from Ben Wright denied the most certain of last minute winners.
A draw arguably a fair result on the balance of play but Tadley would come away disappointed not to convert both chances in the final momnets of the game.