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Combined Counties League Premier Division South
Saturday February 12, 2022, 2:30 pm
Combined Counties League Premier Division South
Jersey visited Sheerwater, who were their first home league opponents of the season on 9th October. Jersey had won that day 4-0 but after taking an early lead had needed
three goals in the last ten minutes to end up with that convincing score line.
Sheerwater had briefly joined the Combined Counties League in 1978, before dropping out, having finished bottom in their fourth season. After twenty years in various Surrey league’s they returned in 2003 to Division 1, but generally finished in the bottom half. However, they won Division 1 the season before the Bulls joined it and have been a lower mid table team in the Premier Division for the past two seasons.
This season Sheerwater had fallen at the first hurdle in the F.A. Cup, at home to Erith Town, but beat two north Bristol sides, Roman St. George and Tytherington Rocks, in the F.A. Vase and then Rayners Lane of the Combined Counties Division 1 before going out 2-3 at home to Sheppey United of the Southern Counties East League.
They were currently lying eighth in the league with a 11-4-12 47-54 record and had won 2-1 at Fareham Town last week with both goals scored by Anthony Ogbanufe, who, unfortunately for them, was missing today.
Having played at their Recreation Ground until 2018 Sheerwater have spent the last three seasons sharing at National League neighbours Woking. During that period their new 3G Eastwood Centre ground, part of a multi-leisure facility, was being built in the grounds of Bishop David Brown School. The school is notable for being the alma mater of Paul Weller and other members of The Jam. The new ground was opened earlier this season with a friendly against Woking. It houses 600 but has not yet reached a quarter of that for any of their league or cup fixtures.
Jersey made three “rotational” changes with Jonny Le Quesne, Lorne Bickley and Jake Prince being promoted from the bench and swapping roles with Daryl Wilson, Karl Hinds and Fraser Barlow. The returning Kamen Nafkha joined the latter three on the bench for a match that saw Ruben Mendes-Pestana making his 50th appearance for the Bulls.
On a blustery day Jersey kicked off against the wind defending the School end. There was a Campbell on each side as well as the hosts having a Leitch and a Leech and the confusion was not to end there as the shirt numbers did not match the team sheet in some cases. Finally Bickley was confronted by Mickley.
The first ball high forward held up in the wind and saw Bickley contest it with Jacob Breckon and Kieran Campbell. The two Sheerwater players came off worst with Campbell suffering a cut that necessitated him changing out of his no. 7 shirt and into the no. 12 which was originally designated as Leech’s. More of that later.
Jersey, as at Frimley Green, had an early escape. A sixth minute Sheerwater free kick was only half cleared and Breckon from ten yards out hooked his left footed shot against the inside of the right post where it rebounded out and across the face of the goal.
Five minutes later Prince was put clear but he hit his shot against Alfie Mickley’s feet when a “dink” was what was called for. Tobin picked up an early caution for a foul on Leon Dadey and Scott Costello rippled the side netting before Jersey took the lead, somewhat against the run of play. Le Quesne’s intended pass luckily ricocheted into Bickley’s path and he was not slow to take advantage. Holding off Tom Hegarty he advanced and cut in from the right before sliding the ball past the advancing Mickley.
The goal seemed to settle Jersey nerves and they soon had two more chances. Le Quesne failed to get much of his head on a Frank Tobin cross, perhaps disconcerted by the wind, and a Bickley cross a minute later eluded everyone until Sol Solomon met it coming in off the far side but his attempt was blocked.
After half an hour Bickley and Prince were involved in a game of pinball with Mickley and the Sheerwater defence in the host’s penalty area until the danger was eventually cleared.
Four minutes before half-time a through ball from Solomon on the left looked to have given Prince another opportunity but play was called back as Leitch and Bickley had toppled over each other.
They appeared to have both been looking at the through ball rather than each other but the subsequent glaring contest earned them each a caution for adopting an aggressive attitude. Others became involved and the referee brought on both his assistants to hear what they had witnessed.
Assistant Phil Paice reported that Kieran Campbell had twice elbowed Mendes-Pestana in an off the ball incident after play had been halted. Referee Jake Hillier then spotted Campbell was wearing no. 12 so he had to re-confirm with Paice that this was indeed Campbell, not Leech. Campbell it was and he was dismissed. These lengthy deliberations and the earlier head injury meaning that almost seven and a half minutes were added before the interval arrived.
Both sides made changes in the intermission with Nafkha replacing the already cautioned Tobin for Jersey. With the extra man, Bickley, Solomon and Prince all had chances but were profligate before, eventually, the settling second goal arrived.
Giles played a shortish corner to Solomon on the right edge of the box and his curling shot hit the right apex of the goalframe and bounced across the face of the goal where Bickley, with a stooping header, applied the coup de grace.
With this second goal as a cushion Jersey ran amok for the last half hour with slick first time passing exhausting the covering Sheerwater defenders. Le Quesne crossed for Prince to “score” only for assistant Martin Wood to deem him marginally offside. Prince then hit Mickley’s feet again before squandering a header from a cross whipped in from the left.
With a quarter of the game left, Luke Campbell made it three when another corner on the right was played short by Solomon to Jay Giles. Giles lifted it to the far post where the tall defender took his Bulls career total to 20 with a towering header.
Both sides made a change before the re-start with Hinds brought on for Kilshaw in midfield and Luke Campbell was shortly in the wars after a “coming together” with Breckon. He limped on and with quarter of an hour left Bickley completed his hat-trick after Prince’s header on to Bickley saw the latter hold off the attentions of Leitch and put the ball under the advancing Mickley.
Bickley having registered his third was replaced up front by Wilson and then Queree gained Jersey’s third caution of the afternoon after catching Breckon on the edge of the box.
A flowing move from just inside their own half saw Jersey’s fifth. Nafkha initiated it down the right, feeding inside to Wilson who returned it to Nafkha, now on the right of the box, and his low cross was met at the far post by Solomon.
Within ninety seconds it was six, Le Quesne playing in Prince twenty yards out. He dummied first one way and then the other before eventually finding the space to side foot right footed and score the goal his industry all afternoon had deserved.
The seventh arrived soon after added time started and summed up what the afternoon had become for Sheerwater. Substitute Rory Lewis who had only been on the pitch for just over ten minutes played a first-time ball from twenty-five yards out on the left, back to Mickley.
Or so he thought, as Mickley had advanced to the left corner of his box. Lewis could only watch, horror stricken, as his pass back had just enough pace on it to defeat the forlornly chasing Mickley, and nestle in the bottom right corner.
There was still time for an eighth, and a record league victory, as Jersey swept from their own penalty box to the other end in double quick time. Nafkha broke forward and passed to Hinds who played a short one-two with Wilson before releasing Solomon who sidestepped a defender on the edge of the box before scoring the 50th goal of his Jersey career.
Sheerwater 0, Jersey Bulls 8 (Lorne Bickley (3) 21, 54, 74, Luke Campbell 67, Sol Solomon (2) 81 & 90+3, Jake Prince 82, Rory Lewis own goal 90+1)
Programme £1.50 32pp colour
Sheerwater – Alfie Mickley, Ashley Hitchinson, Billy Nutbeam, Nathan Pooley, Rikki Leitch, Tom Hegarty, Kieran Campbell, Scott Costello (c), Jacob Breckon, Antonios Kazakis, Leon Dadey
Substitutes – Michael Leech (not used), Morris Musselwhite (for Hitchinson 79), Eddy Mbango (for Kazakis 46), Shane Cheeseman (for Dadey 68), Rory Lewis (for
Note after a clash of heads with Breckon in the opening minute Campbell (7), having suffered a cut, changed in to the no. 12 shirt. This caused some confusion when Campbell was dismissed. Dadey wore 11, not 19 and Mbango wore 18, not 15.
Peter Ruggles (Joint Manager), Neil Roissetter (Joint Manager), Sam Cave (Coach), Richard Shelley (GK Coach), Jamie McGarrity (Physio.)
All Blue (White trim); GK All Yellow
Jersey Bulls – Euan Van der Vliet, Frank Tobin, Jay Giles, James Queree (c), Luke Campbell, Joe Kilshaw, Jonny Le Quesne, Ruben Mendes-Pestana, Lorne Bickley, Jake Prince, Sol Solomon
Substitutes – Daryl Wilson (for Bickley 75), Karl Hinds (for Kilshaw 68), Kamen Nafkha (for Tobin 46), Fraser Barlow (not used), only four substitutes
Gary Freeman (Manager), Kevan Nelson (Assistant), Dan Seviour (Coach), Richard Hebert (GK Coach)
Red/White/White; GK – All Green
Referee – Jake Hillier (Newbury), promoted to level 4 in October, previously with the Hellenic League until the geographical reorganisation this season.
Assistants – Phil Paice (Woking), (Orange & Yellow chequered flag on the dug out side) was on the line for the recent match against London Samurai Rovers and is there again next week for our visit to Camberley Town. Martin Wood (Farnborough) (All Yellow flag on the sports centre side)
Cautions – Frank Tobin (JB) 16, Rikki Leitch (S) 42, Lorne Bickley (JB) 42, Kieran Campbell (S) 45+1, James Queree (JB) 78
Corners – Sheerwater (1) 2; Jersey Bulls (4) 8
Player of the Match (commentator) – Lorne Bickley (JB)