Walton & Hersham
2 - 0
Combined Counties League Premier Division South
Tuesday March 15, 2022, 7:45 pm
Elmbridge Xcel Sports Hub
Combined Counties League Premier Division South
This return match was eagerly looked forward to after the dramatic finale to the first meeting on 6th November. On that occasion Jersey were seemingly home and dry when they were 4-1 up in the 85th minute, only for the opposition to score three times in the last ten minutes to claim a dramatic draw and a significant transfer of points.
Table toppers Walton & Hersham came in to the match having won their last seven games, five league and two cup, and boasting a record of 21-5-3 76-25. They lead Beckenham Town by a point but have played two games more. Jersey trail Beckenham by four points with a game in hand. So a vital match for both sides.
Walton & Hersham were relegated from the Isthmian League Division 1 South in 2016 and then the Combined Counties Premier three years later. They have since been on an upward path, promoted along with Jersey Bulls and Farnham Town on the strength of their record in the two curtailed seasons, they are now looking for promotion back to the Isthmian League.
In the F.A. Cup they went out in a First Qualifying Round replay after a draw at Beaconsfield Town, two levels higher than them. In the F.A. Vase they were exempted to the Second Round (last 64) on the basis that they reached the last 32 last season, but they lost their opening match at Tunbridge Wells.
Walton & Hersham, winners of the penultimate F.A. Amateur Cup in 1973, played at Stompond Lane until 2017. That became a housing development and the club re-located to the newly built Elmbridge Sports Hub. This riverside site is shared with Walton Casuals of the Southern League, whose old ground, the Waterside Stadium, was on the fringes of the new complex.
Not surprisingly Jersey kept the same starting line-up as at Guildford but were missing the unavailable Frank Tobin and Rai Dos Santos, who both came off the bench on Saturday. Karl Hinds was instead joined there by Adam Trotter, returning from injury, plus Jake Prince, Kieran Lester and Sammy Sutcliffe.
Since playing at Springfield Walton & Hersham had lost their star striker, Palace Francis, to Conference National side Bromley. Harry Mills, out injured in November, was now in the side plus four other new faces, to Jersey at least, Oliver Twum, Taurean McDonald-Roberts, Ben-Carl Krauhaus and Dean Rule.
The top of the table clash attracted double Walton’s average crowd, and their second highest of the season. On a mild evening, with the temperature still well into double figures, Jersey kicked off attacking the reserve pitch end. Despite the dry conditions the pitch was slick as was the Walton closing down of the Jersey players.
Alex Kelly clattered Ruben Mendes-Pestana early on but the resultant free-kick was quickly returned up the Jersey right by Louis Collins. Jonny Le Quesne attacked the bouncing ball but was beaten by the bounce which set Dean Rule free. His low cross to the edge of the box was swept home by Eddie Simon, Jersey’s Springfield nemesis, to give Walton an ideal start.
Kamen Nafkha seized on a loose ball on the left after a dozen minutes but scuffed his shot across goal and within a minute Ben Krauhaus stole in between James Queree and Euan Van der Vliet but was unable to steer the ball away from the ‘keeper. Mid way through the half Simon threatened down the right but was brought down by Luke Campbell to earn the first caution of the night, which despite the “intensity” shown by both sides, all went one way.
Just after the half hour Sol Solomon went down off the ball clutching his left thigh. Lengthy attention failed to remedy the problem and he was replaced by Jake Prince.
Jersey now, at last, threatened, with Mendes-Pestana putting a thirty-five yard lob just over the bar as Liam Allen scrambled vainly back. Then Lorne Bickley breaking down the left hit a low cross which just eluded Prince and in added time James Queree hit a twenty-yard attempt well over the bar.
The second half started like the first with an early Walton goal. Oliver Twum tumbled over Campbell’s leg in the right corner of the box and Walton had their 19th penalty award of the season. They have also benefitted from four own goals. Harry Mills, having already scored a hat-trick of penalties twice this season, sent Van der Vliet the wrong way as his shot went in off the inside of the base of the left post.
Walton continued to snuff out most of Jersey’s attacks but with quarter of an hour to go Bickley had a “sniff” of goal but dragged his shot wide of the left post. Campbell later headed against the bar only to be ruled offside whilst at the other end Dean Rule when well-placed failed to extend Van der Vliet. The half ended as it began with Walton claiming a penalty, but this time it was waved away.
The result was no doubt welcomed by the third team contesting top spot, Beckenham Town, who if they win their games in hand must now be favourites. Jersey must also win all their games in hand if they are to catch Walton.
Walton & Hersham 2 (Eddie Simon 4, Harry Mills pen 58), Jersey Bulls 0
Attendance – 508
Programme – £2, xx pages
Walton & Hersham – Liam Allen, Harry Mills, Louis Collins, Alex Kelly, Max Hustwick, Joe Hicks (c), Oliver Twum, Taurean McDonald-Roberts, Eddie Simon, Ben-Carl Krauhaus, Dean Rule
Substitutes – Joe Pratley-Jones (for Twum 65), Jordan Adeyemi (for Simon 50), Darryl Siaw (not used), Maliq Morris (for McDonald-Roberts 81), Harry Pointing (not used)
Scott Harris (Manager), Billy Rowley (Assistant), Charlie Clapham (Coach), Tiffany Weedon (Physio.)
All Red (White trim); GK All Green (Black trim)
Jersey Bulls – Euan Van der Vliet, Jonny Le Quesne, Jay Giles, James Queree (c), Luke Campbell, Kamen Nafkha, Fraser Barlow, Joe Kilshaw, Lorne Bickley, Ruben Mendes-Pestana, Sol Solomon
Substitutes – Adam Trotter (for Nafkha 65), Karl Hinds (for Mendes-Pestana 68), Kieran Lester (for Kilshaw 83), Jake Prince (for Solomon 36), Sammy Sutcliffe (not used)
Blue/Blue/White; GK Yellow
Gary Freeman (Manager), Kevan Nelson (Assistant), Dan Seviour (Coach), Richard Hebert (GK Coach).
Referee – Gareth Burton (Harrow) his first Jersey match
Assistants – Jack Healy (Worcester Park) also his first Jersey match and Matthew Leaning (Surbiton) who was also on the line for the league match at Colliers Wood United in December.
Cautions – Campbell (JB) 21, Nafkha (JB) 43, Trotter (JB) 90, Barlow (JB) 90+2
Corners – Walton & Hersham (1) 4; Jersey Bulls (0) 1
Player of the Match Award (commentator) – Jay Giles (JB)