5 - 1
VCD Athletic FC
Saturday September 4, 2021, 12:45 pm
Great expectations, came not from Charles Dickens, but the Jersey public, as a record crowd snapped up the advance tickets for this match. Bulls’ opponents, V.C.D. Athletic, compete in the Isthmian League Division 1, a level above the Bulls.
Vickers, an armaments factory in Crayford, north Kent started a football section during World War I and later incorporated Dartford Athletic in to their title. Their cannon logo looks rather like a green version of Arsenal’s. Arsenal, it should be remembered, originated in Woolwich, another armaments centre, less than ten miles from Crayford.
The football club moved up from the Kent League to the Isthmian in 2009 but despite finishing 8th were relegated because they did not meet ground grading requirements. With these resolved they won promotion back to the Isthmian in 2013 and were Division 1 champions in their first season. Their stay in the Premier Division lasted just two seasons before being relegated back to Division 1, where they remain.
Exempt until the Preliminary Round of the F.A. Cup by dint of their superior status, they won 3-2 at Bulls’ rivals, Raynes Park Vale, who had started their season well in the Combined Counties Premier Division South. In their league matches V.C.D., like the Bulls, had won 1, drawn 1 and lost 1.
The Bulls made five changes from their draw at Redhill. James Queree returned as captain but played at “right back” rather than in central defence. On the other flank Jay Giles resumed after missing two matches having pulled up at Cobham. Another injury victim, Adam Trotter, returned in midfield after three matches out. Ruben Mendes-Pestana was also back in midfield, whilst up front Daryl Wilson made his first start of the season to replace the holidaying Lorne Bickley.
The four displaced, Jonny Le Quesne, James Carr, Joe Kilshaw and Luca Margaroli, all featured on the bench alongside strikers Kieran Lester, Jake Prince and ‘keeper Jonny Willows
A blistering afternoon that reached 27C saw the kick off preceded by a minute’s applause in honour of Pierre Le Saux who had died on Sunday 22nd August, aged 80. He played for Jersey Wanderers as a youngster and was later a stalwart in the training of the juniors at St. Paul’s. Amongst these was his son Graeme, of Chelsea, Blackburn Rovers and England.
The Bulls kicked off attacking the Town End against a strongly built V.C.D. team that many spectators thought would be difficult to break down. Despite this Jersey took the lead after just three minutes. Sol Solomon collected the ball near the half way line on the grandstand side and initially headed towards his own goal before turning quickly and lobbing the ball forward. The bouncing ball eluded Jack Barry as Fraser Barlow chased after it and it fell to Barlow just outside the area as Sam Mott advanced from his goal. Barlow did excellently to lift it over Mott and the crowd held its breath for what seemed an age as the ball dropped in to the right-hand corner.
V.C.D. replied promptly when Jason Williams laid the ball off to Youssef Bamba on the right. Bamba crossed low first time, bisecting the Jersey defence, to Charles Etumnu right of centre eight yards out. His first touch took him away from Queree and his second deposited the ball past Euan Van der Vliet. It looked ominously easy.
Jersey’s second goal came midway through the half and started with Queree who threaded a pass forward to Wilson. He in turn put the ball between the central defenders for Solomon to run onto. Solomon took the ball around Mott and from a narrow angle slotted home before two recovering defenders could retrieve the situation.
Just before the half hour, Van der Vliet came to the Bull’s rescue when he parried away a low shot to his right. However, his momentum took his right shoulder in to the post and whilst he was treated all the other players took the opportunity of a well-deserved drinks break.
Solomon scored his second before the interval to give the Bulls a two-goal cushion, played in this time by Kamen Nafkha, his first attempt was right footed and was blocked. The rebound came to his left foot and he found the top left corner despite the efforts of three defenders and ‘keeper Mott. In added time, Mendes-Pestana attempted a twenty-yard chip over Mott but while the elevation was good it was not matched by the direction so was easily gathered by the ‘keeper.
V.C.D. made all their permitted substitutions within a quarter of an hour of the restart and the Bulls responded soon afterwards by introducing Le Quesne and Prince for Mendes-Pestana and Wilson respectively. More drinks followed with twenty minutes to go and it seemed that the conditions had helped sap V.C.D. of a meaningful response to Jersey’s lead.
With two minutes left of regulation time, Trotter put a long ball forward down the right. Substitute Prince, not as tired as most, chased it down, and hit a strong cross shot volley. Mott will no doubt claim he might have saved it as he went to his right. However, the ball had clipped Barry and the subtle re-direction was sufficient to take it past Mott’s left hand and give Prince his first Bulls’ goal
Prince was not finished and chasing another ball forward in the fourth minute of added time he reached it just before Mott, whose momentum flattened Prince. A straightforward penalty award and a caution for Mott. Luke Campbell stepped up and hit a powerful shot to Mott’s right to put the icing on the Bulls’ cake.
Jersey Bulls 5 (Fraser Barlow 3, Sol Solomon (2) 22 & 39, Jake Prince 88, Luke Campbell penalty 90+5); V.C.D. Athletic 1 (Charles Etumnu 7)
Attendance 1,126 (club record, 2nd highest of the round)
Programme £2, 28 pages full colour
Jersey Bulls – Euan Van der Vliet, James Queree (c), Jay Giles, Jack Griffin, Luke Campbell, Kamen Nafkha, Fraser Barlow, Adam Trotter, Daryl Wilson, Ruben Mendes-Pestana, Sol Solomon
Substitutes – James Carr (for Solomon 79), Jonny Le Quesne (for Mendes-Pestana 59), Joe Kilshaw (not used), Luca Margaroli (not used), Kieran Lester (not used), Jake Prince (for Wilson 64), Jonny Willows (GK not used)
Gary Freeman (Manager), Kevan Nelson (Assistant), Jason Carpenter (Coach), Richard Hebert (GK Coach), Jim Robertson (Physio.)
Red/White/White; GK – All Yellow
V.C.D. Athletic – Sam Mott (c), Chris Edwards, Ashley Probets, Joe Bingham, Jack Barry, Mohammed Oshilaja, Malachi Hudson, Youssef Bamba, Sonny Black, Charles Etumnu, Jason Williams
Substitutes – Anthony Adesite (for Hudson 59), Marcus Elliot (for Williams 54), Ayman El Mogharbel (for Etumnu 52), Charlie Wealands (not used), Theo McKenzie (not used) (only five substitutes)
Nick Davis (Manager), Jason Powell (Assistant), Damien Hopkins (Coach), Lauren Clements (Physio.)
Blue & White Stripes/Blue/Blue; GK Pink/Grey/Grey
Referee – Gerry Heron (Sevenoaks). A Scot from Oban in Ayrshire who moved to London in 2002. An injury stopped him playing football in 2007 and he qualified as a referee two years later. He moved to Kent in 2020 and officiates at Steps 3 and 4 with the Isthmian League.
Assistants – Nick Blogg (Horsham) Nick qualified in 2010 and usually officiates in the Southern Combination League. Nick was due to be accompanied by Lewis Gordon (also Horsham) Usually a Combined Counties official Lewis had to withdraw on Wednesday when he became a direct contact of a pandemic case. Lewis was therefore replaced by Michael Pih (Jersey) who qualified in 2015 and officiates in the Jersey Combination.
Cautions – Edwards (VCD) 72, Trotter (JB) 87, Mott (VCD) 90+4
Corners – Jersey Bulls (1) 4; V.C.D. Athletic (2) 3
Player of the Match Award (sponsors) – Sol Solomon (Jersey Bulls)