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Tadley win duel with Epsom & Ewell

A single goal from Kieran Rodgers five minutes before the half time whistle was enough to secure Tadley-Calleva all three points at home to bottom side Epsom & Ewell. The hosts came into the fixture looking for their third win in as many games as they got back to league action following two convincing cup wins.

Epsom & Ewell are yet to pick up a point in their league campaign, but some narrow defeats will continue to give them confidence that if they can take their chances infront of goal, their fortunes may be on an upwards trajectory.

Tadley welcomed goalkeeper Atkinson, Andrew Charsley & Alex Fragata back into the squad after being rested midweek. Chad Abrams and Jack French were both unavailable.

The hosts looked to threaten early, gain control of the game & put their opponents on the back foot. This was evident from the first whistle as Ahmetaj broke forward with intent, breaching the midfield but unable to create an opportunity.

Infact, there was no real opportunity for a large portion of the first half, with most of the play concentrated in the middle of the park. Frequent turnovers in play caused by loose passing and poor ball retention lead to a period of play with little to no action. The Romans first half chance came in the twenty fourth minute when Rodgers drove into the box and flashed a cross along the face of the goal but the ball was cleared by the visitors away up the field.

With late and niggling challenges coming in from both sides the game turned scrappy and any real chance of putting a passage of play together was close to non-existent. Despite this, Tadley started to grow into the game, applying pressure on their visitors backline, who looked likely to make a mistake under the sustained pressure.

Tadley’s pressure paid off. With five minutes left of the first half, Epsom & Ewell attempted to play out from the back.

Keogh played the ball out to the left back who, under pressure, turned back onto his right and attempted a ball across the back line to his teammate, his ball was short to say the least and the ever alert Kieran Rodgers cut out the pass. Rodgers took a touch, got himself into the eighteen yard box, looked up and slotted the ball past the goalkeeper to open the scoring.

Tadley gifted a half time lead.

Epsom & Ewell would have felt a little hard done by based on possession stats for the first half, and the way they started the second half, The Salts knew that there could have been something in the game for them. An early effort, albeit tame would increase their confidence.

If not for the opposing goalkeeper, Keogh, Tadley would have found themselves three goals up and out of sight as great chances from first Rodgers and then Fragata were excellently saved by the former Redhill shot stopper.

The visitors largley controlled the game from the hour mark, having much of the ball in Tadley’s half, retaining the ball and looking to create chances. Despite the increased share in Epsom posession, Tadley were able to thwart any sign of danger, keeping Atkinsons goal free from any real chance.

The best chance of an equaliser came with just seven minutes to go as a whipped, outswinging ball from the right hand side was met at the far post. The Barlows Park crowd watched with their hearts in their mouths as time seemed to stand still. Fortunately, for ninety percent of the ground, the ball dropped past the post and out for a goal kick.

Tadley held on nervously but comfortably for another win, bringing their unbeaten run to three games in all competitions.

A clean sheet to add to the tally will bring them confidence of keeping a free scoring Farnham Town at bay in their next fixture.


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