Tadley-Calleva 3-2 Farnham Town - Match Report
With the sun clearing to make way for the more recognised British summertime weather, torrential rain, we welcomed an unbeaten Farnham Town to Barlows Park for our second matchday of the league season.
We came in to the fixture off the back of 2 heavy defeats with every intention to make amense and and get some points on the board. Our visitors however having picked up 4 league points and a 'cupset' at step 4 Faversham during FA Cup weekend came to Barlows Park full of confidence.
The game started quickly with both sides trying to control possesion but it wasn't until the 7th minute that we created the first real chance of the game. The ball was played down the right hand side, a pinpoint cross was put into the box and met by the head of Ben Wright who directed it directly at the visitors goalkeeper James Ferguson.
It wasn't long before we narrowly missed taking the lead once more. Again the ball was worked down the right hand side where Captain Tom Walsh managed to cut the ball back to Ben Wright on the edge of the box who watched his first time effort go inches wide of the goal.
We had started well but the visitors continued to grow in to the game. On 17 minutes, a corner from the left hand side was met by the head of oncoming Farnham forward Matt Bunyan who must have thought he'd scored. His effort was watched well and cleared off the line by Kieran Maylen of Tadley.
At this point, the game remained in the balance until on 25 minutes when a long free kick was picked up by the Farnham midfielder, he played it into the front two who played a clever one-two to round goalkeeper Craig Atkinson and against the run of play take a 1-0 lead.
From here until the half we continued to create some good opportunities with some excellent football, managing to break down a tight defence line. None more so than on the half hour mark.
A long ball from the back was flicked on by Brett Denham to Kalum Cousins who played it back out wide to Denham. Denham played a great ball across the face of goal to leave Conor Thorne with a tap in. Unfortuantely the flag was up and the goal was chalked off for offside.
Half Time - Tadley-Calleva 0-1 Farnham Town
As the second half rolled around, so did the fog. For the first 10 minutes of the half visibility was rapidly deteriorating making it difficult for both players and spectators alike.
The second half started much like the first, with both teams looking to take control of the game. The first chance of the half fell to the visitors who moved the ball along the edge of the box but a weak shot was comfortably saved by goalkeeper Craig Atkinson. On the 54th minute, a free-kick from the left was put into the box by Fitzgerald of Farnham which was spilt by the goalkeeper leaving forward Liam Pestle to tap home from close range. Tadley plays incensed with the officials as they believe there was a foul on the goalkeeper. The goal stood. Tadley 0-2 Farnham.
Following the fallout from the goal score by Farnham there were some heated words on the touchline which resulted in joint manager Joe Lawler given his marching orders on the recomendation of the linesman. Tadley were 2 down and a manager down.
Farnham kept coming forward looking to finish off the game. 64 minutes in, the ball is played down the right and then accross goal for what seemingly looked like a certain 3rd for Farnham. Craig Atkinson had other ideas, he got down low to make a fantastic save to keep Tadleys comeback dreams well and truly alive.
As the second half went on, we got back into our rythmn and were aggressive in our attacking play. Fresh legs were brought on and we started to get sharper as paly progressed.
10 minutes after our visitors 2nd of the evening, Ben Wright picked up the ball halfway into Farnham's half. He played a short pass to Kalum Cousins who set it back to him. From roughly 25 yards Wright hit the ball first time and put it straight into the top corner of the Farnham net, bringing us back into the game. The technique for the goal is something to behold. You can watch it here.
3 minutes later we were at it again. The ball played through the middle was picked up by Brett Denham who made a surging run into the Farnham box. He was bought down in a Farnham Town sandwich and we were awarded a golden opportunity to level the game. Wright picked up the ball, placed it on the spot and nonchalantly sent the keeper the wrong way. We were back level and looking good for another.
78 minutes - Tadley 2-2 Farnham
The final 10 minutes of the fixture was all Tadley. We were fighting for our first points of the season and were clearly not settling for just the 1. We went close with a few half chances which were getting the crowd inside a foggy Barlows Park excited and hopeful for a late winner.
With a minute to go, on 90+1 minutes, we won the ball back on the edge of our 18 yard box. It was played out to the left where Brett Denham made a lung busting run. He was played the ball. Substitue Sonny Haynes was with Denham in the middle of the park. The ball was played across.
Haynes picked up the ball inside Farnham's box, beat the last man and then rounded the keeper. GOAL Sonny Haynes tapped the ball home from close range to complete the comeback for Tadley and pick up the first 3 points of the league season in front of a crowd of 109 supporters.
The desire to come back into the game was evident from Tadley all evening. Off the back of 2 heavy defeats, our heads could have dropped but we kept battling and reaped the rewards. A great night under the lights at the home of Tadley-Calleva Football Club.
We would like to finish this match report by saying thank you to all 109 supporters who attended last night and got behind the team. A sense of togetherness and passion definitely helped the boys go all the way and take the 3 points.