Tadley crash out of the cup
Tadley-Calleva crashed out of the FA Cup in emphatic style after suffering their heaviest loss in the competition since their entry 10 years ago.
The hosts came into the fixture with an air of confidence after sailing past AFC Portchester’s local & league rivals Fareham Town in the preliminary round of the Hampshire cup during the week, but knew that this was to be a much tougher test against a well backed & supported side.
The visitors started in the ascendancy, putting early pressure on Tadley’s back line through their target man in Lee Wort. An early chance came for Portchester as a well worked run down Tadley’s right hand side allowed for an opening that went sailing over the bar.
From the resulting goal kick however, Tadley could have gone infront. Connor Thorne was released down the left hand side, he drove int the box and, from a tight angle, saw his effort saved brilliantly by the visitors goalkeeper to keep the scores level.
On the ten minute mark, disaster struck. A headed clearance just inside the visitors half caught the Tadley back line flat footed and caught in behind. Portchester forward Benfield latched onto the loose ball and slotted it past Atkinson in the Tadley goal.
The away side continued to pile pressure but Atkinson refused to go down without a fight. Another chance a matter of minutes after the goal saw the Tadley number one make an outstanding save to keep the deficit to just one goal, unfortunately as a result he picked up an injury that would later see him leave the fixture.
From the resulting corner, Portchester scored again. The in swinging cross evading everyone and bouncing into the far corner.
Tadley were really on the back foot now and were struggling to get back into the game. As a result of this, their visitors kept pressing aggressively and forcing mistakes, leading to further chances. On the half hour mark Atkinson made yet another outstanding save to keep his side in the game.
Two goals in two minutes prior to half time saw the game put to bed as Lee Wort put two fantastic finishes past the injured Atkinson to put the half time score at Tadley-Calleva 0-4 AFC Portchester.
At half time, Tadley were forced to make a change as the injury, now known as a dislocated thumb, to Atkinson was getting progressively worse. Forward Callum Cleary stepped up and took the gloves for the remainder of the tie.
Tadley almost hit back immediately when centre half Andrew Charsley rattled the crossbar with a powerful header from a corner over on the left hand side. A minute later however, Charsley was to conceded a penalty at the other end of the field.
Up stepped Lee Wort once more. He beat the midfielder-come-goalkeeper with a penalty straight down the middle to secure his hat-trick.
For the ten minutes that followed, Tadley were able to contain their opponents and even pull back a consolation goal through young talent, Adam Hargood. Hargood, who had just come on made an immediate impact as he collected the ball on the right of the 18-yard box, he cut inside and drilled the ball past the outstretched goalkeeper and into the back of the net.
Joy was extremely short lived however as Lee Wort, yet again, put the ball in the net, this time directly from kick off. He spotted stand-in goalkeeper Callum Cleary off his line and took his chanced. The ball stayed hit and flew over Cleary’s head and into the top corner of the net.
Tadley had a good few chances to pull a couple of goals back but ultimately were outplayed again in the final twenty minutes of the match, conceding two further goals, seeing them go down to, what has to be said, a very good AFC Portchester team.
Final Score – Tadley-Calleva 1-8 AFC Portchester
A day to forget for Tadley where everything seemed to go wrong at once. They will look to bounce back from this defeat when they face Christchurch FC in the Hampshire Senior Cup next.