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Combined Counties League Premier Division South
Tuesday March 22, 2022, 7:45 pm
Combined Counties League Premier Division South
This fixture started its “life” on the fixture list as the last one of the season, scheduled for 23rd April. The re-arranged home match against Fleet Town was then added on 30th April as no other Saturdays were free. In late February the F.A. decreed that Step 5 leagues must end on the 23rd so Fleet Town had to be moved to the 23rd and the trip to Knaphill ended up being tonight.
Knaphill, situated just west of Woking, joined the Combined Counties League in 2007 and possess one of the better grounds in the division. They won promotion to the Premier Division in 2014 and have generally been in the top half of the division ever since, with a best finish of fifth in 2016. They also won the League Cup in 2018.
This season they sit mid table in 9th place with a record of 9-12-10 49-59. They were only narrowly defeated at Springfield in the week before Christmas and had already recorded draws with three of the top six – Beckenham Town, Redhill and Raynes Park Vale. In the F.A. Cup they beat Lordswood on “penalties” after a replay, before losing in another replay to Ashford Town (Middlesex). In the F.A. Vase they lost in their first match, to Royal Wootton Bassett Town, by the only goal of the game.
Jersey made six changes, one of them positional, to the team that lost to Banstead. These were not because of the defeat but due to player availability. Frank Tobin, Kamen Nafkha and Karl Hinds were all missing and Luke Campbell had not recovered from the leg injury he suffered on Saturday.
Jonny Le Quesne dropped back to take Tobin’s defensive slot whilst Saturday substitutes Joe Kilshaw, Ruben Mendes-Pestana and Jake Prince all came in to the starting line-up. Sammy Sutcliffe made his league debut in place of Campbell and Lorne Bickley, who had been missed on Saturday, led the line instead of Kieran Lester. Lester dropped to the bench which had an “L of” a theme as he was joined there by young centre-back Jack Lumsden and potential debutant, the newly signed Francis Lekimamati.
Once again Jersey’s opponents showed numerous changes to the team played only three months ago. Just three remained with three of the eight newcomers being former Farnham Town players met in October but jettisoned since by the new manager there.
On a chilly evening Jersey kicked off attacking the clubhouse end. They dominated the opening proceedings and after only seven minutes a Bickley flick-on set Prince free. He ran on, rounded Jos Barker in the home goal, but from not a particularly difficult angle on the right could only find the side netting.
Bickley also made an opening for Fraser Barlow a dozen minutes later, but Barlow wanted one touch too many and a defender dived across to deflect his shot for a corner.
Mendes-Pestana delivered an excellent free-kick from twenty yards just before the half hour and Barker did well to push it away from the top right corner at the expense of a corner.
The language coming from the Knaphill dug-out was reportedly “ripe” and Jamie Daltrey the manager was cautioned before half-time by referee Patrick Nixon. An unwanted double for Daltrey as he was also cautioned at Springfield within ten minutes of coming on as a substitute that day.
Back on the pitch the interval arrived goalless with the better chances having fallen to Jersey.
Within three minutes of the resumption Lekimamati was brought on for his debut at the expense of an injured Mendes-Pestana. It should have been a dream debut as within a minute he arrived unmarked at the back post, only to shoot tamely straight at Barker.
Barker made an uncharacteristic error when he missed a high ball but a defender
was there to “mop up”. Whether this caused the latest tirade from the Knaphill dugout is unknown but their coach joined the manager in the referee’s notebook shortly afterwards.
Lekimamati was entrusted with free-kick duties and a twenty-yard attempt to the bottom right bounced awkwardly for Barker who had to push it away for a corner. Barker also saved a Bickley effort a minute later.
Le Quesne, who had picked up a caution just before the half hour, made a surging run before losing out on the edge of the box and his desperate lunge trying to regain possession gained him a “wigging” from referee Nixon, and he was replaced by Lumsden as a precautionary measure.
Lumsden then brought out the save of the night from Barker. The youngster headed a corner from the left to the top right corner from which the Knaphill stopper did superbly to claw it away for a corner.
With just over a quarter of an hour to go Lester was the last of the three available substitutes brought on. Once again he soon opened his account. A cross from Lekimamati came in from the right, Bickley and two defenders challenged for it and the ball fell kindly for Lester to finish off with the aid of a deflection.
With eight minutes remaining Jay Giles came off worse when challenging Tony Trinder and could not continue. With all the substitutes already used it meant that Jersey had to defend their lead a player short.
Unfortunately, they were unable to do so. Substitute Luke Taylor, one of three Taylors on the Knaphill bench, broke down the wing Giles would have been manning. Taylor’s cross was stumbled over by Ashley Elson in the middle but the rebound off him sat up nicely for George Pilbeam to lash home the equaliser.
Lekimanati almost snatched victory with another good free kick with just two minutes of “normal” time remaining. It beat Barker and hit the underside of the bar to Barker’s right but stayed out. Barlow attacked a cross from the right with a spectacular diving header in the last minute, but it went to straight to Barker who had spent the evening ensuring that Jersey would be frustrated in their quest for the three points.
Knaphill 1 (George Pilbeam 85), Jersey Bulls 1 (Kieran Lester 77)
Attendance – 70
Programme – Nothing produced in any format
Knaphill (squad numbers) – 1. Jos Barker, 3. Jack Mitchell, 5. Lloyd Connelly, 6. James Ward (c), 8. Ashley Lloyd, 9. Ashley Elson, 10. George Pilbeam, 16. Owen Tanner, 18. Matthew Kellett-Smith, 19. Tony Trinder, 20. Kye Nash
Substitutes – 7. Timmy Taylor (not used), 12 Danny Taylor (for Kellett-Smith 69), 14. Andre Smith (not used), 15 Jack Williamson (not used), 21. Luke Taylor (not used) five substitutes, three of whom were called Taylor.
Red shirts with black stripes to the front only, White shorts with black side panels, Black socks; GK All Yellow
Jamie Daltrey (Joint Manager), John Cook (Joint Manager), Andy Sharratt (Coach), Steve Carey (Coach), Chris Drane (Physio.)
Jersey Bulls – Euan Van der Vliet, Jonny Le Quesne, Jay Giles, James Queree (c), Sammy Sutcliffe, Joe Kilshaw, Fraser Barlow, Adam Trotter, Lorne Bickley, Ruben Mendes-Pestana, Jake Prince.
Substitutes – Jack Lumsden (for Le Quesne 67), Francis Lekimamati (for Mendes-Pestana 48), Kieran Lester (for Prince 74), only three substitutes
Blue/Blue/White; GK All Green
Gary Freeman (Manager), Kevan Nelson (Assistant), Dan Seviour (Coach), Richard Hebert (GK Coach)
Referee – Patrick Nixon (Guildford) his first Jersey match
Assistants – Alejandro-Olaya Benitez-Cano (London) on the dug outs side, also on his first Jersey match. Wayne Ingram (New Malden) on the park side, he also assisted at the match at Colliers Wood United in early December and is due at Springfield for the Molesey match on 2nd April.
Cautions – Jonny Le Quesne (JB) 29, Jamie Daltrey (K joint manager) 42, Andy Sharratt (K coach) 50, Jack Mitchell (K) 53, Tony Trinder (K) 58), Adam Trotter (JB) 68, George Pilbeam (K) 90+3
Corners – Knaphill (4) 5, Jersey Bulls (3) 7
Player of the Match Award (commentator) – Lorne Bickley (JB)