Fleet Spurs

0 - 1

Combined Counties Division One

Jersey Bulls

Friday September 18, 2020, 7:45 pm

Kennels Lane

Combined Counties Division One

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Match Report

Friday 18th September 2020

Combined Counties Division 1

Fleet Spurs (0) 0; Jersey Bulls (0) 1
(Kieran Lester 86)

Attendance – 177

Programme – 12 pages, £1 (A5, full colour) 150 copies printed

Fleet Spurs – Andy Rider, Robert Parrott, Oliver McAleese, Douglas Noble, Jack Cleevely, James Scott (c), Adam Bellmaine, Hamil Saleh, Jack Church, Ross Cheek, Jacob Bellmaine
Substitutes – Sam Knowles (not used), George Hedley (for Cleevely 89), Ivan Nsimbi (not used), Victor Mudonhi (not used), Matthew Hayler (for J. Bellmaine 89)

Adrian Wilson (Manager), Louis Walcott (Assistant), Richard Lane (Physio.)

All Royal Blue with Red trim to shirts and shorts; GK Purple

Jersey Bulls – Bradley Rolland, Jack Griffin, Jay Giles, James Queree (c), Luke Campbell, Kamen Nafkha, Harry Cardwell, Ruben Pestana, Arthur Illingworth, Sol Solomon, Fraser Barlow
Substitutes – Kieran Lester (for Illingworth 73), Kevan Nelson (not used) (only two substitutes)

Gary Freeman (Manager), Kevan Nelson (Assistant)

Red/White/White; GK All Yellow

Referee – Jack Ohene (Isleworth, Middlesex) Primary school P.E. teacher in his 16th season and amateur numismatist. Has refereed in Guernsey but yet to visit Jersey. All his Bulls’matches so far have been in September with two previous matches last season at Kensington and Ealing Borough and A.F.C. Hayes.

Assistants – Martin Etheridge (Walton on Thames, Surrey) For the second successive week after stepping in to the breach at British Airways seven days ago. The Combined Counties Referees Appointments Officer and in his 41st season as a match official. He has also been a linesman at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships since 1994. Was on the line for Bulls’matches at home to Sandhurst Town and away at Ash United last season. Tom Davies (Yateley, Hampshire) In his second season as a referee and his first on the Combined Counties’list and so making a Bulls’ debut.

Cautions – Oliver McAleese (Fleet Spurs) 39, Kamen Nafkha(Jersey Bulls) 64, Luke Campbell (Jersey Bulls) 79, Robert Parrott (Fleet Spurs) 81, James Scott (Fleet Spurs) 90+5, Jack Church (Fleet Spurs) 90+6

Fleet Spurs – (1) 1, Jersey Bulls (2) 7

Man of the Match Award (Online Voting) – Kieran Lester 65, Sol Solomon 26, Fraser Barlow 14

Man of the Match Award (Team Management) – Fraser Barlow

The Bulls’ team showed two changes to last week with Jack Griffin replacing the absent Jonny Le Quesne and Sol Solomon starting instead of Kieran Lester who dropped to the bench.

It was the Bulls’ first visit to Kennels Lane as last season’s fixture on Leap Year’s Day was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch and the re-match never happened. There could be a re-visit later this season as Bulls are due there in the Second Round of the Combined Counties Premier Cup.

Fleet Spurs were lying fifth when last season was halted. They had suffered two losses at Springfield, 0-4 in the league and 1-3 in the Division 1 League Cup. This season they had started with losses at home to Kensington & Ealing Borough and then at British Airways. But they started to turn matters around by holding current table toppers, Walton & Hersham, to a goalless draw before winning at basement club Sandhurst Town in their last outing. These last two results were far more indicative of the opposition faced on the night.

Whereas last season’s match was rained off, this time the pitch was arid with clouds of dust regularly being raised after Jersey kicked off attacking the A327 end. There was no streaming of the match back to Jersey despite a late crowd funding effort but Bulls’ devotees could still tune in to Chris Walker’s radio commentary.

Fleet proved a combative team and an early goal was needed to settle the pattern of the match. However, the high bouncing ball meant that although the Bulls had the early edge, it was difficult to translate this in to meaningful offence. Instead it was often midfield “pinball” with numerous misplaced passes from both sides.

There was not so much as a corner for either side in the first half hour. Shortly afterwards, Kamen Nafkha swung in a good cross from the left but Solomon could not direct his header away from the ‘keeper. Fleet retaliated with an attack that saw a cross deflected on to Luke Campbell’s outstretched arm but he gained the benefit of the doubt and so the first half ended goalless.

Straight from the restart a cross was unusually missed by the Fleet central defence but this seemed to catch Fraser Barlow by surprise and he scuffed the resultant shot wide. Fleet had their first meaningful shot just after the hour but it failed to trouble Bradley Rolland unduly and Bulls went straight up the other end where Barlow’s header was saved.

Kieran Lester was brought on with seventeen minutes remaining to join Barlow up front as Bulls pushed for the win. His first touch a couple of minutes later saw him burst down the middle on to be thwarted by Andy Rider diving at his feet. The ball ran to Barlow who was floored by the recovering Rider. The loose ball was put away for a “goal” but the referee had already awarded the penalty.

Jay Giles stepped up to take it and although it was well placed it lacked the power to beat Rider who redeemed himself by guessing correctly and pushing the ball around the post as the Fleet defenders celebrated exuberantly with their hero.

Lester and Barlow were not to be denied. Four minutes from time they conjured up the only goal of the evening when Barlow’s flick was controlled by Lester on his thigh, who thenwith a predator’s touch, deftly lifted the ball over theadvancing Rider.

There was, in fact, ten minutes still to play as the referee was to add six minutes due largely to the home side’s earlier timewasting tactics. That all changed after the goal as they swarmed forward in search of an equaliser. Their best effort was a header low to Rolland’s right that he importantly held as the Fleet forwards hoped for a loose ball to tuck away. Bulls held on for an important victory that lifts them to fourth as nearly all their rivals are engaged in F.A. Vase fixtures over the weekend.