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Match Report versus Burnham (29/1/22)

By Steve Williams

Tadley Calleva 1 Burnham 1

In a fairly even first half Tadley Calleva made most of the early running.

In this return fixture, the away side (under new management) made 6 changes to the starting line up from their 5-4 victory in late November. Taking advantage of a strong wind, Tadley moved the ball well but lacked the final incisive pass. Brett Denham's powerful shot was excellently diverted over the bar by Burnham keeper, and captain, Carl Dennison. At the other end, home keeper Craig Atkinson was called upon to deal with a forceful header from central defender Tom Kemp. With the Burnham diamond midfield and an artful rotating front line, the Tadley midfield frequently found themselves outnumbered. In the 28th minute Burnham went ahead. Atkinson brilliantly saved the first shot from Rhys Harper with an outstretched foot, but centre forward Tayo Ajayi was on hand to finish the rebound. In the ongoing midfield battle, Max Elward and Scott Kinge both entered the referee's book towards the end of the first half for late tackles.

On 52 minutes, the cautioned Elward and Kinge were replaced by Ousman Darboe, returning after a two week absence, and Lloyd Snell, a local lad, returning from injury and on loan from near neighbours Basingstoke Town. Tadley were proving lively in an end to end tussle with the assured Darboe joined by the switched Callum Cleary in central midfield. Burnham with their sharp attacking play, especially on the break, were looking dangerous. With better finishing and but for Craig Atkinson and timely defensive interventions, particularly from Kieran Maylen, Burham would have added to their total. Tadley were still searching for that good final ball. When a fine cross from the speedy and elusive Snell did reach Ben Wright, he was unfortunate not to steer his left foot volley home. But Wright brilliantly made amends in the 90th minute when he skillfully pulled down a long and probing ball from Darboe before calmly dribbling round the onrushing keeper Dennison and rolling the ball into the net to make it 1-1.

All in all a competitive match, enjoyable to watch. On balance Tadley earned a welcome point against an improving opposition, even if not replicating their best form. Joint Managers Ben Dillon and Joe Lawler will be pleased with squad they have pulled together and the 'never say die' attitude.

Tadley Calleva: Craig Atkinson, Aiden Harris, Kieran Maylen, Brad Neal (C), Jacob Rolfe (sub 80' Andrew Charsley), Max Elward (sub 52' Ousman Darboe), Scott Kinge (sub 52' Lloyd Snell), Lucas Burt (sub 80' Kalum Cousins), Brett Denham (sub 84' Ayman Bouzerai), Ben Wright, Callum Cleary

Photo courtesy of @NLsaturdays


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