Tadley Progress in Hampshire Cup
Tadley-Calleva put their opening day defeat behind them as they comfortably dispatched of Wessex Premier League side Fareham Town in the Hampshire Senior Cup.
The visitors, managed by former professional footballer Graham Rix, came into the game off the back of a 100% record in league & cup and were looking to continue their form on a mild, but wet Tuesday night in the North of Hampshire.
Tadley knew that the performance would need to be better than their defeat at Sheerwater a few days prior should they want to progress in a competition in which they have enjoyed some famous nights.
The visitors started much the brighter and Tadley were up against it for the first twenty minutes of the game. Fareham Town has two brilliant opportunities inside the opening fifteen minutes, when firstly, a long ball over the top caught Tadley off guard and allowed the visiting forward to take the ball down and have an effort on goal. Fortunately for Tadley, the ball curled away from the goal and hit the outside of the post before it was gathered by the goalkeeper.
Moments later, Fareham broke again, with a quick counter attack down Tadley’s left hand side. The ball was played across the box in a good passage of play but again, the effort was dragged off target.
Tadley needed to respond to an early barrage, and they did. The pressing was more intense, the passing was with intent and the crowd of just over 100 started to liven up & get behind their team.
It paid off, Farnhams centre half was caught on the ball by Jack French just inside the visitors half. French drove forward with only the goalkeeper between him and the goal, he saw him off his line and unleased an effort from 30-yards which sailed over the goalkeepers head and into the back of the net.
Tadley opened the scoring in style and their tails were up.
Kieran Rodgers could have doubled the hosts lead ten minutes later when some great footwork inside the 18-yard box allowed him to beat three covering defenders. Unfortunately his effort was not as spectacular and the goalkeeper was able to make a routine save.
Tadley lead at the break by one goal to nil.
The second half started much the same as the first finished, with Tadley building momentum and catching their visitors short on the ball. This high intensity press was paying off time and time again, and the rewards were reaped once again as the ever busy Rodgers nicked the ball off the full back, far on the right touchline, the ball broke to Alex Miller who drove into the box, he squared the ball to Sheldon Wright who was on hand to tap home and double his teams lead.
Tadley were really in the ascendancy now, looking threatening everytrime they broke forward.
Fareham, to their testament, were trying to play out from the back but it was to be their downfall. Jack French caught them on the ball once more and spotted the
talismatic forward Kieran Rodgers in space. He played the ball into Rodgers feet who opened his body and bent it round the goalkeeper and into the far corner.
Tadley lead the game with a three goal advantage, much to the delight of the Barlows Park crowd.
The visitors pulled one back following a drop ball deep into Tadley’s half. The ball was crossed in, not cleared convincingly and Fareham Town’s Carpenter struck the ball well, past the outstretched Atkinson and into the top corner.
Despite a total of ten minutes additional time played by the match officials, and Fareham throwing everything into the mix to score again, Tadley held on for a 3-1 win and now find themselves in the first round away at Christchurch FC on Tuesday 22nd August.