Thorne Winner and Sinner as Tadley overcome Alton FC
Tadley Calleva 1-0 Alton FC
Tadley Calleva had to dig deep for hard earned victory over familiar ex Wessex League opponents, Alton FC. The style of play was more typical Combined Counties League, competitive tackles, plenty of fouls and long balls rather than patient build up & square passes of traditional Wessex league encounters.
Alton started marginally the brighter but Tadley showed their potential when Ben Wright released Jamie Johnson who beat his man and delivered a dangerous cross on 16 minutes. Shortly after Alfie Saunders sent in a wicked free kick that just eluded a Tadley head.
A defensive error on 21 minutes saw home striker Kieran Rodgers gain possession and his cross along the six yard box was firmly touched home by the alert Thorne. Tadley were harshly denied a second goal six minutes later by the referee’s whistle. A short corner by Johnson and Wright led to away keeper Keiran Green dropping Wright’s cross under pressure for Brad Neal to bundle home.
Thorne was booked for a late trip on 36 minutes. Barely a minute later he earned a second yellow. His dribble evaded one opponent but led to him committing a foul when following a heavy touch slipping and overstretching to reach the ball.
Alton right winger Trevor Carbon was proving a handful and was being well supported by combative striker George Bowerman. But the Tadley backline , with Shaun Hollamby making a return after long absence through injury, and well supported by Scott Kinge and Ousman Darboe in central midfield, ensured Craig Atkinson in the home goal was not troubled.
Shortly before half time, Tadley gained a freekick within Wright’s capable range. The referee made a point of warning the Alton wall to keep their hands down, only not to award a penalty when Wright’s well struck hand hit a clearly outstretched hand. Then Wright fed Rodgers whose powerful angled drive was parried by Green.
Half Time Tadley Calleva 1 -0 Alton Town
The story of the second half was that Tadley continued to battle throughout, showing commendable defensive resilience. While Alton enjoyed more possession with their one man advantage, Atkinson was not called upon to make a save. Alton’s only chance was fired high over the bar by centre back Billy Wright from a Carbon cross. Darboe was impressive in shielding the defence and Johnson continued to show some promising movement.
Notable moments included a clever through ball from Darboe to Kalum Cousins (on for Rodgers after 68 minutes). This looked like creating a goal. An Alton defender tried a cynical kick to bring Cousins down but missed. However the Tadley player seemed to pull up short, possibly the continuing impact of recent injury. Wright was suffering from the lack of supply and was replaced on 79 minutes by Chris Horton. Neal and skipper Tom Walsh also received second half yellow cards.
TCFC : Craig Atkinson; Alfie Saunders, Brad Neal, Shaun Hollamby, Tom Walsh; Connor Thorne, Scott Kinge, Ousman Darboe, Jamie Johnston; Ben Wright ( 79 mins Chris Horton), Kieran Rodgers (68 mins Kalum Cousins). Subs not used :Louie Chambers , Shaun Dallimore; Jordan Goater.