Johnston's Late Winner sinks Sheerwater
A month on from Tadley-Calleva's previous fixture thanks to the Great British weather, they travelled to Sheerwater to face a Sheers side who started the New Year with a comprehensive 4-0 win at home to Frimley Green.
In tough conditions, and with a few on the injury list, Tadley were looking to open their 2023 account and bring back 3 valuable points to Barlows Park.
They did just that. Goals from Ousman Darboe, Ben Wright and Jamie Johnston secured the win in a 5 goal thriller with Sheerwater.
The hosts opened the scoring on 27 minutes after a flurry of chances from Tadley in the minutes leading up to the goal.
A speculative cross from the left hand side was cleared but only as far as Comer who played it to Ellion Cannon. His first attempt was blocked, his second attempt resembled his surname. Cannon hit the ball left footed from 25 yards out and it flew into the top right hand corner to give the Sheers the lead.
Their lead wasn't to last long. Just 5 minutes later a wonder strike from Ousman Darboe pulled Tadley level.
Jamie Johnstons great work to win the ball back and his drive into Sheerwater's half allowed for him to play in Jack French, French played a short pass to Ben Wright who laid it off to Darboe who hit the ball first time and found the top corner.
Half Time 1-1
As conditions worsened into the second half, chances were few and far between until the hosts were gifted a goal on 64 minutes.
A loose square ball just in front of the 18 yard box was picked up by Tommy Whitby of The Sheers who drove into the box unopposed and rifled the ball home, past Atkinson to regain the home lead.
Tadley had to dig deep and they did. They started to control the game from the resulting kick off.
The hard work and desire paid off and on 69 minutes found themselves level. Long throw specialist Brad Neal launched a searching ball into the box which was not dealt with by the Sheerwater goalkeeper. This resulted in the easiest of tap ins for in form Ben Wright.
Tadley were back level and their belief rose a notch.
From the equalising goal Tadley looked to be in control. With passages on intricate play mixed with the pace and flair of the wide players they were able to produce some good chances.
No more so than on 85 minutes when a ball played through the hosts defensive line from inside Tadleys half from Scott Kinge was latched onto by Johnston who opened up his body and slotted the ball past the goalkeeper with a firs time shot.
Tadley had the lead they were craving, and ultimately deserved on balance.
The visitors held on to their lead and started 2023 with a fantastic away win. Focus turns to the Hampshire Senior Cup on Tuesday night vs AFC Bournemouth.
Sheerwater FC 2-3 Tadley-Calleva