0 - 4
Saturday July 2, 2022, 3:00 pm
Stevenage, the Bulls first ever opponents three years ago, returned for another pre-season friendly. With their Chairman, Phil Wallace, having a property on the Island, the inter-club connections are strong and their full squad flew in for a couple of days training at St. Peter F.C. prior to the match. A few of their dedicated supporters also made the trip over for a match played on a gloriously sunny afternoon of 21C with the St. Peter youngsters acting as the match mascots.
Stevenage spent most of last season anxiously looking over their shoulders as they looked to avoid returning to the National League, which they won as Stevenage Borough in 2010 when it was known as the Conference. Stevenage eventually avoided that fate by nine points as Oldham Athletic and Scunthorpe United were the ones that made way for the returns of Stockport County and Grimsby Town.
Stevenage had a dozen new signings with them as they looked forward to a more successful season and some of their older hands met up with Jersey’s Kurtis Guthrie beforehand as he had played for them for two seasons from 2018-20, scoring the winner for them in that inaugural match for Jersey.
Jersey were without Luke Campbell, still recovering from the injury he suffered against Banstead Athletic at Wycombe Wanderers, whilst Jonny Le Quesne was out of the Island. A few others, particularly a couple of the reserve goalkeepers, were in isolation following the recent rise in the pandemic numbers.
Jersey named 19 players on their teamsheet with Stevenage topping that with 21, with the match refereed by Luke Donaldson who had also been in charge last season for the F.A. Cup tie against Chertsey Town.
Sammy Sutcliffe took Campbell’s place in central defence with Kieren Stephens, returning after making five appearances in the opening season, displacing Joe Kilshaw in midfield. Kilshaw was on the bench along with other first team regulars, Sol Solomon, Fraser Barlow and Ruben Mendes-Pestana. Defenders Ben Le Rougetel, Josh Daniels and John “J.J.” Lloyd were also there along with striker Darryl Mvalo.
Jersey kicked-off attacking the Town end, which now hosts the newly constructed “Bulls Pen” where their most fervent supporters are to be found. It soon became apparent that Stevenage were not “out for a stroll in the sun” as they attacked “space” and the ball from the off as they swarmed forward.
Stevenage played a 5-3-2 system which enabled their wing backs, Max Clark and Kane Smith, to get forward regularly as they denied Jersey any space, or time on the ball. Dean Campbell and Jake Reeves were pulling the strings in midfield, whilst up front Elliot List and Danny Rose were a constant threat.
As early as the fourth minute Player of the Match, Euan Van der Vliet, had to pull off the first of his many fine saves as he dived to his right to push away a Rose header from a Kane Smith cross.
It was Rose who set up the first goal. Holding off the attentions of Sutcliffe he reached the left byline before pulling the ball back towards the penalty spot. List was quicker than the defence to react and placed the ball in the bottom right corner to open the Stevenage account.
Jersey’s first opportunity came in the 21st minute when a Stephens through ball saw Bickley beat the offside trap. He was right of centre and his shot lacked the power to cause Taye Ashby-Hammond in the Stevenage goal any concerns.
Shortly afterwards Kamen Nafkha injured his right thigh and while he was being treated a drinks break was taken and at the end of that Kilshaw came on for Nafkha.
Stevenage continued to dominate with Jake Taylor the next to reach the left byline but his ball across the face of the goal evaded everyone in the centre. Rose did the same just after the half hour and this time it was Taylor who failed to stab it home.
Jersey’s goal escaped again two minutes later when a long diagonal cross from Kane Smith on the right was met by Clark just beyond the far post. His header rattled the apex of the frame and out for a goal kick.
Jersey’s nearest to a goal came in the 37th minute when a Giles free kick just outside the right corner of the box was met by Bickley’s head only to flash narrowly over the Stevenage goal.
Rose hit a scissors kick from the penalty spot area straight at Van der Vliet but was not to be denied a minute later. Set up by Campbell, with a through ball left of centre, Rose doubled the visitors advantage with a low cross shot. Stevenage thought they had another in the 43rd minute but Rose’s superb volley from a right wing cross was chalked off by the flag of Paulo Franco.
As half time approached Clark crossed for Rose whose header was parried by Van der Vliet and fortunately for Jersey just spun wide of the left post, and in added time Van der Vliet was called upon again with a save low to his right.
At the interval both sides brought on five of their substitutes with one of Stevenage’s, Jamie Reid, soon set up by Clark. Reid’s shot forced another good save from Van der Vliet, diving to his left this time. Another Stevenage substitute soon added a third goal. A corner on the left was taken short and worked to the left byline, yet again, before a shot from the edge of the box was finished off by Jordan Roberts from a couple of yards out at the far post with Jersey vainly hoping for an offside flag from Gareth Walker.
A trio of Stevenage substitutions on the hour did not change the complexion of the match with both Roberts and Carl Piergianni testing the Jersey keeper before there was another drinks break with twenty minutes remaining.
Soon after it Arthur Read placed a corner on Dan Sweeney’s head in the centre and from ten yards he planted his header firmly in the bottom left corner to make it 4-0.
With three minutes to go the Stevenage player of the match, Max Reeves, from a similar position, shot against the left post only to see it rebound out.
Stevenage deservedly ran out winners with Jersey pleased the margin was only four as the gulf of five levels between the sides was amply demonstrated on the day.
Jersey Bulls 0, Stevenage 4 (Elliot List 13, Danny Rose 40, Jordan Roberts 51, Dan Sweeney 73)
Attendance – 436
Programme – £2, 28pp
Jersey Bulls – Euan Van der Vliet, Sammy Sutcliffe, Jay Giles, James Queree (c), Frank Tobin, Kamen Nafkha, Francis Lekimamati, Adam Trotter, Jake Prince, Kieren Stephens (wore 12), Lorne Bickley (wore 16)
Substitutes – 10. Ruben Mendes-Pestana (for Stephens 46), 11. Sol Solomon (for Lekimamati 46), 14. Joe Kilshaw (for Nafkha 24), 15. Darryl Mvalo (for Bickley 46), 18. John “J.J.” Lloyd (for Tobin 64), 20. Josh Daniels (for Giles 46), 21. Fraser Barlow (for Prince 46), 23. Ben Le Rougetel (for Sutcliffe 46)
Price returned for Trotter 70 and Sutcliffe returned for Queree 73
Red/White/White; GK All Yellow
Gary Freeman (Manager), Kevan Nelson (Assistant), Dan Seviour (Coach), Richard Hebert (GK Coach), Ciaran Pack (Physio.)
Stevenage – 12. Taye Ashby-Hammond, 2. Luther James-Wildin (c), 3. Max Clark, 4. Jake Reeves, 7. Elliot List, 8. Jake Taylor, 10. Dean Campbell, 14. Kane Smith, 15. Terence Van Cooten, 32. Danny Rose, 34. Mackye Townsend-West
Substitutes – 1. Aaron Chapman (for Ashby-Hammond 46), 5. Carl Piergianni (for Townsend-West 46), 6. Dan Sweeney (for Campbell 60), 9. Luke Norris (not used), 11. Jordan Roberts (for List 46), 16. Arthur Read (for Taylor 46), 18. Michael Bostwick (for Van Cooten 76), 19. Jamie Reid (for Rose 46), 33. Alfie Williams (for K.Smith 60), 35. Jack Smith (for Clark 60)
All Purple with White trims; GK All luminescent Yellow
Steve Evans (Manager), Paul Rayner (Assistant), Alex Revell (Coach), Ian Pledger (GK Coach), Matt Rodgers (Physio.), Keith Bell (Kit)
Jersey (4-3-3 R to L)
First half – 1; 5-4-2-3; 6-8-12; 7-16-9
Second half – 1; 5-4-23-20; 10-8-14, 21-15-11
64 mins – 18 for 5 and 5 for 4
Stevenage (5-3-2 R to L)
First half – 12; 14-2-15-34-3; 8-10-4; 7-32
Second half – 1; 14-2-15-5-3; 16-10-4; 11-19
60 mins – 1; 33-2-15-5-35; 16-6-4; 11-19
Referee – Luke Donaldson (Greenwich) also refereed Jersey v Chertsey Town in the F.A. Cup last season
Assistants – Gareth Walker (Jersey) on the dug-out side and Paulo Franco on the grandstand side.
Drinks breaks – 22 and 70 minutes
Cautions – none for either side
Corners – Jersey Bulls (1) 3, Stevenage (7) 13
Player of the Match Award – Euan Van der Vliet