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Match Report versus Virginia Water (22/1/22)

By Dave Martin

Virginia Water 1 Tadley Calleva 3

This was our third victory on the spin, all away from home, but I think it fair to say that we would not necessarily consider this to be our best performance of the three, particularly in spells during the second half. However, a great win nevertheless and it proves that hard work and a determination not to concede can win you games when you're not performing at your best. Injuries picked up by Mark Vockins, Shaun Dallimore and Callum Cleary in the win over St Panteleimon the previous week meant that Scott Kinge, Kieran Maylen and new signing 16 year-old Brody Peart (on a dual registration from Basingstoke Town) were all included in the starting line up.

This was a crucial match for both sides. A single point separated the teams in the league table prior to kick-off. And, in the early exchanges, it was pretty obvious how crucial as most of the contest was fought out in the middle third with neither goalkeeper being tested. The home side were relying heavily on set piece moves, mainly from long throws and Tadley's only serious effort on goal came from an Aaron Parfitt long range shot, but his attempt was easily gathered in by home keeper Luke Wynn-Lintern. Virginia Water should have opened the scoring on 15 minutes after wide man Adam McNamara's clever square pass set up Turnell Sinclair, but the striker blasted wide of the target from 12 yards out. This was to prove a pivotal miss as Tadley then opened the scoring on the 22nd minute. An attempted headed clearance from an Aaron Parfitt corner was superbly driven home on the half volley from the edge of the box by debutant Brody Peart. We almost doubled our lead a minute later, but home keeper Wynn-Lintern was quick off his line to thwart Brett Denham by pushing his angled shot wide of the post. Virginia Water did create a half chance for a possible equaliser on the 36th minute, but Harry Brooks fiercely driven shot flew well wide of Craig Atkinson's far post. Ben Wright then made it 2-0 just a few minutes later after being set up by the impressive Peart. Wright's well placed shot going in off the post. Peart capped an excellent debut by making it 3-0 on the stroke of half time. A clever through ball by Parfitt found Denham on the right hand side of the box and his pinpoint cross was powerfully headed home by the youngster at the far post.

The home side started the second half in determined fashion and within a couple of minutes Turnell Sinclair crashed an effort off the bar from 6 yards out when it looked easier for him to score. On 52 minutes Brett Denham thought he was about to score Tadley's fourth goal after a clever pass from Ben Wright, but an offside flag quickly stopped him in his tracks. Virginia Water got themselves back into the game shortly after. A strong headed clearance from Brad Neal was picked up some 30 yards out by midfielder Ross Nunn and, after taking a few strides forward, drove a low shot wide of the despairing dive of Craig Atkinson. The goal fired the home side up and they eventually took control of the midfield for significant spells of what remained of the second half. However, they were unable to create any further clear goal scoring opportunities as they found the Tadley back line in stubborn mood and difficult to break down. Their best effort came on 70 minutes from an indirect free kick. However, the Tadley wall did its job and Kieran Maylen was quickly out to block Finn Evered's well driven shot. We then had to see out the remaining 12 minutes with ten men after skipper Tom Walsh was surprisingly sent off. A quick break out from our corner kick saw Walsh attempt a trip on Travis Hodge just outside the home sides 18 yard box. The referee allowed an advantage which, after a few passages of play, came to nothing. We expected Walsh to then receive a yellow card for an attempt at a 'professional foul' only to be shocked (along with many others in the ground) to see him receive a red card. However, the disappointment on the decision aside, we managed to see the game out and collect a very valuable three points

Joint Managers Ben Dillon and Joe Lawler were obviously delighted with the win. Lawler adding after the match, "today is probably best described as an 'ugly win'. Myself and Dills realise we were nowhere near our best today, particularly in the second half, but it is a very important three points for us to take back up the road."

Tadley are next in action on Saturday 29th January at home to Burnham

Tadley Calleva: Craig Atkinson, Aiden Harris, Tom Walsh (C), Brad Neal, Kieran Maylen, Max Elward (sub 75 Jacob Rolfe), Scott Kinge, Aaron Parfitt (sub 45' Lucas Burt), Brett Denham (sub 78' Wat Jones), Ben Wright, Brody Peart (sub 60' Sam Hamilton).


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