Tadley Bounce Back on Easter Monday
Tadley-Calleva ended the Easter Weekend with a victory over Frimley Green thanks to goals from Ben Wright, Alex Fragata and a first goal in yellow for Argjent Ahemtaj. The three goals to one victory came as a welcome return to winning ways for the Barlow's Park side after a difficult few weeks in the league, none more so than Saturday afternoon when they welcomed Cobham FC. Saturday saw the first of two fixtures between the two sides this month, and with no wins in their previous four, Tadley were looking to pick up all three points against the side sitting just one place behind them in the league.
Cobham, who's 'Leg O'Mutton Field' ground is currently under development for next season, also came into the weekend fixture off the back of a run of defeats and were looking to see a change in fortunes at Barlows Park.
The game got underway under the bright sunshine, with Tadley in control of a largely uneventful opening ten minutes seeing neither side create an opportunity to challenge the opposing goalkeeper. Just moments after the ten-minute mark however, a loose ball in the middle of the park was picked up by Cobham who looked to drive forward into Tadleys final third. A strong, but fair tackle from Scott Kinge was judged by the match official to be a foul, subsequently awarding a free kick to the away side.
A fantastic ball was floated over to the far post towards Cobham centre half Rob Sheridan who knocked it back across the six-yard box where Jacob Desa was left free to tap home past James Andrews in the Tadley goal to give first blood to the away side.
No less than five minutes later, the ball was in the back of Tadley's net yet again with Rob Sheridan of Cobham turning from provider to goal scorer, this time from a corner. An almost identical ball over again to the back post was this time nodded down by Sheridan who managed to beat Andrews at the near post and put the visitors two goals to the good.
Tadleys best chance of the first half came from a Ben Wright effort which was equally matched by the goalkeeper and put over the bar for a Tadley corner.
The balance of play evened out for the remainder of the half, but Cobham managed to hold on to their two-goal lead going into the break.
An injury to the visitor's goalkeeper within ten minutes of the restart saw a length delay in the game. A ball put in behind the Cobham defence was chased down by the energetic Alex Miller but the goalkeeper got there first. As he came down onto the ball, his hip hit the pitch and flared up a pre-existing injury. He was forced off the pitch and was replaced by the outfield Ben Senior.
Tadley looked to capitalise on this opportunity and bought on some attacking options in Rodgers and Parfitt and it wasn't long before they started to make an impact. Some excellent work down the right-hand side from Rodgers and Alex Fragata allowed an opportunity for Scott Kinge who forced a save from the makeshift goalkeeper.
With Tadley unsuccessfully pushing to claw themselves back into the game the away side hit them on the counterattack and with fifteen minutes left of the ninety got their third of the afternoon. A ball in behind was latched onto and slotted past Andrews.
As we entered a long period of addition time due to the earlier injury, it looked like the home side had resigned themselves to the defeat and allowed their visitors to extend their lead to four, just moments before the full-time whistle. Tadley-Calleva 0-4 Cobham FC
An afternoon to forget for Tadley who needed to dust themselves off and go again on Easter Monday when they travelled to Frimley Green to face the already relegated side sitting bottom of the division.
A stark contrast in weather saw a contrast in the start Tadley made too, they came out the blocks quickly, with intent and looking to dominate the game from the first whistle. A ball fizzed across the six-yard box within the opening five minutes gave Tadley confidence they could get in behind their hosts and open the scoring. They went very close just moments later when Kieron Rodgers was put through one on one but saw his shot cannon back off the post and cleared by the Frimley Green defence.
On the twentieth minute Alex Fragata was fouled on the edge of the box. Dead ball specialist Ben Wright lined up, took two-steps back from the ball and rifled a shot towards goal, the Frimley Green wall broke during the jump, allowing the ball to go through them and into the bottom corner, past the helpless Harris in the host's goal. Tadley got their reward for the early pressure and took the lead for the first time in a game since Knaphill away back in late February.
Tadley could have doubled their lead but for a fantastic display of last ditch defending in the fortieth minute saw the ball cleared twice off the line to keep the Tadley onslaught at bay.
Tadders went into the break with a slender, but comfortable one goal advantage.
More of the same in the second half would see Tadley-Calleva pick up a comfortable three points to keep their eighth spot in the league table. It didn't start that way however as the home side came out to attack. Two very good chances could have seen Frimley draw level but to the fortune of Tadley, both chances went begging and the one goal lead was intact.
Moments after Tadley missed a chance of their own through Ben Wright, the home side went on the attack again, and looked dangerous as Yakubu was put in behind the Tadley defensive line. His shot beat the outstretched Atkinson but hit the inside of the post and the ball ran away, across the line and out for a goal kick. Their best chance of the game so far.
Tadley felt threatened, they knew they needed to get hold of the game again and with twenty minutes left to play, they did just that. James Batchelor, who has been fantastic since joining from Farnham Town, made his way down the right-hand side, whipping in a cross to the front post which was met by the head of the oncoming Alex Fragata. Tadley had doubled their lead, and it was needed.
No more than five minutes later the home sides pressure paid off when an effort from the left-hand side rebounded into the path of Yakubu who was on hand to slot home and give Tadley a nervy final fifteen minutes of football. The reaction was positive after conceding and Tadley hit straight back through Argjent Ahmetaj who got his first goal in Tadley yellow. A knock down inside the box from Ben Wright was calmly slotted home by Ahmetaj, restoring the visitors two goal cushion.
Tadley had their first win in five and looked comfortable in doing so. They will be hoping to carry this momentum into the weekend as they travel to fourth place Abbey Rangers.