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Combined Counties League Premier Division South
Tuesday April 5, 2022, 8:00 pm
Combined Counties League Premier Division South
Having hosted the bottom team, Molesey, three days ago, it was now the other end of the table with league leaders, Beckenham Town, the visitors. They had been due on 8th January but arbitrarily decided they would not visit due to the pandemic restrictions then in place on the Island.
For this action they were fined the maximum (£250) by the Combined Counties League, who rather than award Jersey the points, preferred to see the league title decided on the pitch.
As there were no vacant Saturday’s available Beckenham therefore had to make a midweek visit in order to fulfil the fixture. However, Jersey’s poor form in March meant that the fixture was no longer the title decider it might once have been.
Beckenham Town had been in the Kent League since 1982, with a best of second in 2006, and continued there when it had been re-named the Southern Counties East Premier Division in 2014. Their record last season of 7-3-3 33-18 saw them lying 5th before the “curtailment”, since when they have been moved across, under the F.A. re-structure, to the Combined Counties League.
In the F.A. Cup, having beaten Colliers Wood United after a replay, they lost at home to Hastings United of the league they are now likely to join, Isthmian Division 1 South-East. In the F.A. Vase they had no luck at all, suffering five successive away draws, and eventually going out to Glebe, of the Southern Counties East, on penalties, after a goalless draw. Their league record now stands at 25-4-3 94-30 and they need 13 points from their last six matches to clinch the title and with it automatic promotion.
The two teams met in Kent for the opening fixture of the season in late July. It was a tough debut for Jersey at the higher level and one that saw them lose their 100% league record to a soft penalty. This despite playing against ten men for an hour, was largely due to a player of the match performance by the home goalkeeper, Nick Blue.
Jersey, still without the injured Jay Giles, Luke Campbell, Fraser Barlow and Ruben Mendes-Pestana made three changes to Saturday’s starting line-up. Jonny Le Quesne, away on Saturday, and Adam Trotter, an unused substitute then, came into the midfield, in place of Francis Lekimamati and Kamen Nafkha. Jake Prince took Kieran Lester’s place up front. Lekimamati, Nafkha and Lester were all on the bench, alongside youngsters Jack Lumsden and Robbie Scott.
After a sunny afternoon, a crisp evening ensued. Much social media baiting by the away support meant that an emotionally charged night was guaranteed in the grandstand. Beckenham won the toss and elected to change ends, so Jersey kicked-off attacking the Robin Hood end.
The physically stronger Beckenham soon showed their attacking intent. Nick Curran blocked a Le Quesne clearance and quickly centred. The ball fell to the young Freddy Nyhus in the “D” whose shot did not seem to have any great power, but found the bottom right corner past the possibly unsighted Euan Van der Vliet.
Thirteen proved unlucky for Frank Tobin as at that time he was injured in a challenge from Tunde Aderonmu. After a lengthy stoppage he was replaced by Lekimamati with Le Quesne dropping back into a defensive role. Shortly afterwards the nippy Nyhus put in a low cross shot from the right which Van der Vliet palmed away and fortunately it fell to a defender to clear.
Midway through the half Jersey scored the equaliser. Nick Cannon miskicked in his own area, Jake Prince seized on the loose ball. His initial backheel was chested away by Archie Johnson but from the rebound Johnson went through the back of Prince and flattened him. The penalty was awarded and once the Beckenham protestations had been waved away Sol Solomon hit the penalty firmly just wide of Blue’s right hand.
Four minutes later Adam Trotter put in a powerful shot from the edge of the box but Blue was well placed to parry it and then catch the rebound. Ten minutes from half time a ricochet gave Solomon an opportunity from ten yards. He hit his shot well but Johnson partially redeemed himself by managing to deflect it for Jersey’s first corner.
Jersey made a half-time substitution with Nafkha replacing Joe Kilshaw. Seven minutes into the second half Beckenham regained the lead. Steve Townsend broke down the left and lifted the ball in to the centre where Aderonmu got between the defenders to stab home the bouncing ball past Van der Vliet from six yards.
Beckenham’s third corner of the match was half cleared to the edge of the box where the challenging Townsend was caught in the shoulder by the foot of Nafkha as he cleared the high bouncing ball. It transpired he had broken his collar bone and he had to be replaced by Jamie Humphris.
Undeterred Beckenham still attacked and Nyhus from the edge of box only just failed to curl the ball into the top left corner. The uncompromising midfield battle continued. Two clashes in quick succession saw Bickley brought down from behind by Joe Healy in the second of them. A free kick was awarded but surprisingly no caution.
Ten minutes later a two footed tackle by Beckenham captain, Danny Waldren, flattened Trotter but again only a free kick was given as the referee kept the cards in his pocket. Thirty-five yards out Solomon floated the free-kick to the left post where Bickley outjumped Callum Henry and nodded the ball into the bottom corner. Thirteen now being unfortunate for Beckenham as that was the time remaining when the second equaliser arrived.
Just as they had in the first meeting Beckenham adroitly ran down the clock as Jersey continued to stretch them. Five minutes from time a trio of defenders thwarted Le Quesne on their own line. Four minutes in to added time a Beckenham corner was cleared by Lekimamati on one post and then by Solomon on the other. Jersey promptly counter-attacked and gained two fruitless corners at the other end to leave the hard-fought contest level at two goals and five corners each.
Jersey Bulls 2 (Sol Solomon pen 23, Lorne Bickley 77); Beckenham Town 2 (Freddy Nyhus 5, Tunde Aderonmu 52)
Attendance – 672
Programme – £2, 24pp (joint issue with previous match against Molesey)
Jersey Bulls – Euan Van der Vliet, Frank Tobin, Jack Cannon, James Queree (c), Sammy Sutcliffe, Joe Kilshaw, Jonny Le Quesne, Adam Trotter, Lorne Bickley, Jake Prince, Sol Solomon
Substitutes – Jack Lumsden (not used), Francis Lekimamati (for Tobin 15), Kieran Lester (not used), Kamen Nafkha (for Kilshaw 46), Robbie Scott (sub GK, not used)
Red/White/White; GK All Yellow
Gary Freeman (Manager), Kevan Nelson (Assistant), Dan Seviour (Coach), Richard Hebert (GK Coach), Paul Renton (Coach), Jim Robertson (Physio.)
Beckenham Town – Nick Blue, Harvey Brand, Archie Johnson, Nick Curran, Rob Carter, Callum Henry, Freddy Nyhus, Danny Waldren (c), Tunde Aderonmu, Joe Healy, Steve Townsend
Substitutes (no’s 14-18) – Mudagha Wanogho (for Curran 89), Jamie Humphris (for Townsend 57), De Niro Pinto (for Nyhus 89), Jamie Brown (not used), Alfie Bloomfield (for Aeronmu 80)
Jason Huntley (Manager), Billy Walton (Assistant), Phil Wilson (Coach), Shannon McEvoy (Physio.)
All Royal Blue; GK All Green
Referee – Nigel Owen (East Molesey) Qualified in 2010, initially in the Surrey League, Combined Counties League for eight years. Also refereed Jersey this season at Tooting Bec in the F.A. Vase and at A.F.C. Croydon Athletic in the league.
Assistants – Roger Wells (Coulsdon) dug out side. With the Kent League for fifteen years and the Combined Counties for the last sixteen. In our first season he visited Jersey twice, for the matches against Eversley & California and Bedfont & Feltham, as well as being a late replacement when we visited Walton & Hersham. This season he has been on the line at Banstead Athletic, and at Springfield for the recent match against Raynes Park Vale. Steve Hart (Ashford, Middlesex) on the grandstand side.
Qualified in 1992, initially with Suburban League, Combined Counties League for the last seven years. Refereed the second ever Jersey home match, against Fleet Spurs in 2019-20, and was on the line later in that season for our visit to Hanworth Villa in the league cup. Also refereed Jersey at British Airways in 2020-21.
Cautions – none (although both sides must have come very close)
Corners – Jersey Bulls (1) 5, Beckenham Town (2) 5
Player of the Match Award (commentator) – Adam Trotter