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28/11/2015 – Jersey Football Combination versus ESBFL (FA Inter League Cup – Round 2)

JERSEY FOOTBALL COMBINATION:  0

ESSEX & SUFFOLK BORDER FOOTBALL LEAGUE: 1

(After Extra-Time – scores level at 0 – 0 at Normal Full-Time)

Date:   Saturday 28th November 2015

Venue: Springfield Stadium, St Helier, Jersey.

When the ESBFL defeated the Brighton & Worthing Football League in the First Round of the Bi-Annual FA Inter League Cup back in September all eyes were on who would be their next opponents and without any surprises the draw did not look favourable as a trip back to Jersey was forecast for late November 2015. Many local clubs and players will not need reminding that the ESBFL Representative Team narrowly lost out to Jersey, in the same competition, back in 2011, the year they went all the way to the final and won. Every year since, the ESBFL has been back at their invitation having built up a great rapport with the island football community and become good friends. However, in that time the ESBFL had failed to register a win in what was now five attempts and counting!

So with this National Cup Competition having much at stake the friendlies and old acquaintances were put to the back our thoughts and after much pre-trip logistical planning, a forward party of six followed by a larger group of thirty-five departed for St Helier last Friday. Whilst the forward party only had to deal with some early morning fog, the evening flight was to take off and land in some pretty atrocious conditions, gale force winds across the English Channel had delayed their departure whilst back on the island news of the Condor Sea-Cat and Ferries being postponed, filtered through to the earlier arrivals who along with the hotel staff were glued to the “easyjet” web-site for any positive news. Upon their shaken but safe arrival a two course meal had been pre-ordered and with a welcome beer the well briefed players retired to their rooms, whilst the supporting number stayed in the bar area.

Saturday morning arrived but the wind had not subsided at all, in fact it was probably stronger, and before long the rain was sheeting down from off the sea, just as the players set off for a pre-arranged practice on the well appointed 4G pitch and facilities at the Springfield Stadium. With practice over and a light lunch eaten the players returned to the hotel to prepare for the match which was scheduled to kick-off at 16:30pm local time. A pre-booked coach picked everyone up from the hotel and made its way round the outskirts of St Helier and the players, each sporting a sponsored holdall and wearing similarly sponsored tracksuit tops started to acclimatise to the importance of this match. The League had secured this sponsorship through local companies “The Carl Pentney Goal-Keeper Academy” and “Andreas-Carter Sports” to whom the league extends their thanks.

I had been invited into the Press Box which was high in the stand and away from the awful weather and but for a sheet of glass to one side gave me a perfect safe and dry vantage point from which to watch this match. Some of the travelling supporters did brave the elements whilst other sought shelter in the Directors Room next to the Press Box, apparently the bill is in the post! Now if I thought that my reporting job was difficult enough each week I witnessed two fellow scribes who started taking notes of assists, shots on and off target, corners, offside’s and cautions but don’t expect that from me every week going forward!

It was widely reported that Jersey FA had selected their sixteen players from just three island clubs whereas the ESBFL Management Team had kept faith with players from just five Premier Division clubs, despite having to make eight changes to the squad that won against the Brighton & Worthing Football League with injury, moving house and a honeymoon being cited as good reasons to not be available.

Just before the prescribed time for kick-off the young match officials led the teams out and conducted the “Respect” handshake in front of the stand, the respective team captains exchanged pennants and Jersey won the toss electing to change ends and play with the wind and the rain at their backs which would be an early test for the much changed ESBFL team. The ESBFL kicked-off and both teams started at a furious pace, totally ignoring the foul weather conditions whilst trying to get to grips with a greasy surface which caused players from both teams to struggle to initially control the ball first time. On seven minutes a great tackle by Andre on Cripps stopped a promising break with Cummins heading off his goal-line from the first corner taken by debutant Warren. Cummins got forward for Jersey but his searching cross towards Russell drifted away assisted by the wind and a goal-kick followed. The kick from Bethell looked good and distance looked to have been achieved until the wind blew and took the ball back into the ESBFL half for defenders to sweep up. On twelve minutes Polley fouled Lester just beyond the half-way line with the free-kick taken by Weir (C) being blocked by Cripps at the expense of a corner. Gibson rose to head the in-swinging clear but the ESBFL then gave the ball away at a throw-in taken by Warren with the cross from Lester being deflected by Wood forcing Bethell to use his reflexes to palm the ball out for another corner.

Whilst both teams had started quickly it was Jersey who began to get on top on the quarter hour mark forcing another corner, taken by Lester with Cannon rising to head goal-wards where Polley cleared off the goal-line after the header took a wicked deflection off Miley. When Wood was fouled the free-kick from Warren flew wide of the left hand upright and Cripps gave chase to a long ball from Bethell but Campbell headed the bouncing ball back to his keeper, Van der Vliet. The ESBFL defended well during this period when Jersey had gained an upper hand and Cripps, Palmer (M) and Dobkin tried to get forward which left the defence short so when Wood and the retreating Dobkin got in each other’s way it allowed Weir (M) to find space and latch onto the loose ball but he could only watch as Bethell produced a fine left-handed save with the goal at his mercy. From the resulting corner, taken by Cannon, the attempted clearance header from Reddick crashed against the cross-bar for another corner which was cleared.

On twenty-five minutes the Jersey pressure increased, Reddick dived into a challenge foot first and was spoken to by the efficient match official whilst the fourth official called him over to reprimand the ESBFL bench for some ill-chosen comments on the previous decision. Weir (C) found Cannon, always a dangerous player with such a big presence but from his knock-down Russell allowed the ball to run away from him aided by the strong wind. Gibson went down clutching his face when a stray arm from Cannon caught him fair and square with Cannon receiving a verbal warning from the referee. Warren fouled Lester thirty yards out but the free-kick from Cannon was poor and failed to trouble keeper, Bethell and Wood received the first caution when he unceremoniously dumped Weir (M) into touch in front of the stand. When Bethell received a back-pass he delayed his clearance allowing Miley to attempt to close him down but cool as you like Bethell flicked the ball wide of Miley before running on to clear up-field but are the ESBFL riding their luck a bit! The rain looked heavier now as it drifted past the glowing floodlights and the wind continued to hold the ball up which did not allow the ESBFL to get as far forward as they had hoped when they tried to attack.

Ten minutes before half-time and Reddick again dived into a challenge too many, this time on Cannon and he too was cautioned without any protest and from the free-kick restart  a shot from Miley was saved low to his left side by Bethell. When another debutant, Dingli managed to wriggle away down the right wing his cross almost found Redman over-lapping into an attacking position but he met too many defenders and the chance went. A long ball forward from Andre caught Gibson out when the ball bounced over his head whilst the covering Lewis sliced his clearance out for a throw-in. Redman took a knock and was forced to leave the field temporarily and Palmer (M) slipped when trying to defend on the half-way line but when Redman returned his long curling free-kick was headed clear by Andre and the last action of the first half saw another Redman free-kick drift just wide of the goal with home keeper Van der Vliet a virtual spectator.

HALF-TIME:      0 -0

There were no changes to playing personnel at the second half restart made by Jersey and it was Dingli who had the first wind assisted shot which cannoned off Campbell to enable keeper Van der Vliet to collect. Jersey played the ball forward and Reddick was on hand to clear up at the back, notwithstanding the amount of statistical detail being collected around me I was then informed that the wind-speed outside was gusting to 49mph across the pitch, so I was more than glad I was sheltered. Home captain, Cannon, upon whom a lot seemed to depend for Jersey, skied, a decent chance when Gibson failed to control the greasy ball just outside the penalty area. As expected Jersey continued to push forward despite playing into the wind and rain created more chances, Russell dragged the ball wide after Cannon had played a decent pass into his path as the ESBFL momentarily took their eye off the game! A long ball from Bethell fell to Dingli whose control was good but his shot after turning was off target but a better effort. Clearly, neither team, wanted to make a decisive error and any margin of victory might be a long time in coming through either a moment of brilliance or a mistake, hence the continued caution when passing the ball.

Weir made a strong run down the left wing with his cross being headed out for a corner by Gibson and on fifty-eight minutes the first off-side decision was made against Cannon and five minutes later Jersey replaced Miley with Murray whilst Dingli was replaced by Eaton for the ESBFL, in both cases a straight swap of forwards. Russell struck a half-chance high and wide with an attempted over-head kick after the ESBFL failed to clear a bouncing ball inside the penalty area. Polley was adjudged to have fouled Lester, wide on the touch-line but in fairness the original attempt was genuine enough, it was just that the ball held up in the wind and never reached the two contesting players. When Eaton and Cripps passed the ball through the Jersey half the final ball to Polley was good but his first time control let him down and another attack stumbled with Jersey clearing. A free-kick from Redman, after Palmer (M) was fouled, was controlled by Warren but his shot on the turn was again too high and there were rumblings from the crowd as Eaton started to chase and close down the home team who wanted to pass the ball out of defence, which was probably the right thing to do with the wind still howling. A free-kick, this time taken by Warren was fractionally too high for Cripps and keeper Van der Vliet used his considerable height to claim the ball.

Jersey patiently attacked again and when Wood stumbled to concede possession to Cannon it was Gibson who got across to make an excellent defensive block with only his keeper behind him. Murray side-footed wide the second best chance of the game from seven yards after a penetrating run and cross involving Weir (C) and Lester. Another long clearance by Bethell found Cripps and after controlling the ball with his head he attempted a lobbed ball towards goal from thirty yards out, cheeky perhaps but with this wind anything might happen. Reddick also tried his luck from a slightly closer but his rising shot drifted marginally wide with the keeper standing well off his goal-line, this after Andre had lost control of the ball. When Thomson clattered recklessly into Reddick on eighty-one minutes he reacted angrily to a previous non-decision from the otherwise excellent match official he was duly cautioned as players from both sides stepped in to quell frustrations.

Now in the last ten minutes the rain continued unabated, Weir (M) was stopped by an excellent challenge from Dobkin after the tricky Lester had played the ball towards the six yard box whilst a deep cross from Murray failed to trouble Bethell. With five minutes remaining Jersey took off Thomson, perhaps a cautionary decision, with Pestana entering the game. Lester headed over the cross-bar from close range, this from a right wing cross from Weir (M) whilst in the last minute a long drifting cross from Cripps was fielded by Van der Vliet and from the last attack of normal time Weir (M) strayed off-side although the header from Lester again cleared the target which summed up some of the wasteful efforts by the Jersey team who had been thwarted by a determined defensive display from the ESBL.

FULL TIME: 0 – 0

Once again the ESBFL lost the toss at the start of extra-time but this time Jersey chose to kick into the wind with the ESBFL making two more substitutions replacing the injured Redman with Palmer (N) and Kioussis replacing Palmer (M), however Gibson also seemed to be limping at this stage. Eaton was given a chance to chase a long ball but Van der Vliet reached the ball first, Pestana shot off target straight from a throw-in and Palmer (N) made his presence felt with a poor challenge on Pestana who took the free-kick himself only for Polley to misplace his header to Cannon but Bethell was alert to save. On ninety-seven minutes the ESBFL rode their luck again, this time when Weir (M) crossed and the unmarked Murray headed over from six yards out but the ESBFL defence held firm again with the frustrated Murray then being cautioned for dissent after a poor challenge on Cripps. On one hundred minutes Jersey made their last substitution replacing Weir (M) with Trotter and then a piece of play followed that many of the ESBFL contingent feel was a turning point in this game. With the ESBFL defence caught up-field, Murray drifted past the last defender and was technically through on goal until Palmer (N) raced back to get alongside and make a perfectly timed tackle to save the day as any other non-ball contact would have meant a penalty and probably a dismissal as well! Palmer (N) also stopped another potential goal attack after a poor clearance from Bethell put his team in trouble.

EXTRA-TIME: HALF-TIME: 0 – 0

Right, here we go again, fifteen minutes to decide this game before the dreaded penalty shoot-out, n0eedless to say the weather had not improved and the ESBFL would be playing into the gale once again. Palmer fell heavily into touch and required treatment that would hamper his movement from now on, Wood made a error in clearing the ball but Bethell was alert to clear outside his penalty area. Then five minutes into this last period we witnessed a goal, the ESBFL won a corner down on the left hand side, Kioussis took the kick short to MATTHEW WARREN who took two strides forward to the corner of the penalty area before sending a searching curling cross-cum-shot towards the far post but when every player stood and watched, the ball bounced twice before burying itself into the far corner of the goal, queue jubilation all around the ESBFL supporters and even I was out of my chair celebrating. My fellow scribes reminded me that this was the first ESBFL shot on target to which my response was that this represented a 100% return. As you would expect the Jersey response was immediate, a corner on the left saw Bethell punch clear through the massed defensive ranks then a shot from Cannon literally cannoned off Wood for a corner, taken by Cannon only for Campbell to head over the cross-bar with the goal gapping. Once again the ESBFL were pinned back despite a great run down the right by Eaton using his pace to take on two defenders but when he cut inside he chose to try a shot with his left foot but completely missed the ball with Cripps running free to his left. As Jersey pushed forward in desperation, last defender Andre made a timely interception to a ball played by Eaton towards Cripps who would still have had most of the half to negotiate but gaps were appearing at this late stage. Bethell watched a long effort from Pestana clear his cross-bar and allowed time to run down before taking the goal-kick, Cannon fouled Reddick and Warren took the ball into the corner to waste a little more time.

EXTRA-TIME: FULL-TIME: 0 – 1

At the final whistle there were clear signs of joy from the ESBFL contingent both on and off the field as despite being out-played for long periods of the game, chances had been few but the one crucial strike found the net, whereas Jersey had squandered their many opportunities and according to their management were below par but take nothing away from the ESBFL players who were out on their feet.

Once again for a game of this importance I must pass on my comments about the excellent match officials who worked well as a team, hopefully their careers will flourish as they get older.

 Statistics: Jersey ESBFL
 Chances created: 22 8
 On Target: 8 1
 Goals Scored: 0 1
 Corners: 12 8
 Cautions: 2 2

Later in the clubhouse Charlie Brown, President of the Jersey Combination Officials congratulated the ESBFL on winning this game despite not playing the best football on show, however, its goals that win games and one against none was good enough. In response, Brian Tatum, Chairman of the Essex & Suffolk Border Football League was glowing in his praise for his League team whilst commiserating with the gallant losers but felt that the only real winner on the day was the weather which clearly spoilt what should have been a showpiece game of football. The respective competitions then exchanged a trophy memento to mark the special occasion. Tony Armstrong, Manager of the ESBFL Representative team then spoke admirably about his teams efforts despite having to have made so many player changes for this trip, but having a good coaching team of Lloyd Pentney and Matthew Carmichael and support team, kit-men Barry Vernon and Darren Locke and guest physio, John Barwick, (who made the trip from Ireland) around him plus a committee, nine of whom made the trip, and who had organised a fantastic weekend away, made all the more sweet by a long awaited victory in Jersey.

Once again, given that I considered this match to have been played by the whole team I’m again resisting any chance of naming an individual Man of the Match, all the players and management may have their own opinions but it would be unfair to single out just one player, but another great squad effort though.

Once again a special thank you to “The Carl Pentney Goal-Keeper Academy” and “Andreas-Carter Sports” who sponsored both the player and team equipment holdalls as well as the tracksuits tops worn to Jersey and to the match by the players. Thanks also to the efficient run Kings Coaches for providing coaches to and from Gatwick Airport I hope the players were not too rowdy after another harem-scarum flight home on Sunday.

The draw for the next round is scheduled to be made early in the week commencing Monday 14th December 2015, this following the last fixture to be played next weekend, details of previous results and fixtures can be found on: http://www.thefa.com/fa-inter-league-cup

Teams

JERSEY FOOTBALL COMBINATION:

Colours: Blue Shirts, Blue Shorts and Blue Socks

Starting Eleven:

1.     Euan Van der Vliet

2.     Peirce Cummins

3.     Calvin Weir

4.     Luke Campbell

5.     Stuart Andre

6.     Max Thomson

7.     Kevin Lester

8.     Cavaghan Miley

9.     Craig Russell

10.  Jack Cannon (Captain)

11.  Michael Weir

St Pauls FC

Jersey Scottish FC

Jersey Scottish FC

Jersey Scottish FC

St Pauls FC

Jersey Scottish FC

St Pauls FC

St Pauls FC

St Pauls FC

St Pauls FC

St Pauls FC

 

 

 

 

 

(C) (Sub: 85m)

 

(Sub: 63m)

 

 

(Sub: 100m)

Used Substitutes:

14.  Reuben Pestana

15.  Adam Trotter

16.  Rupert Murray

Jersey Scottish FC

St Pauls FC

St Ouen FC

(Sub: 85m)

(Sub: 100m)

(C) (Sub: 63m)

 

Un-Used Substitutes:

1.     Scott McGlurg

2.     Craig Fletcher

St Pauls FC

Jersey Scottish FC

 

(G/K)

Manager: David Kennedy.

Assistant Managers: Paul Brannan & Russell Le Feuvre

ESSEX & SUFFOLK BORDER FOOTBALL LEAGUE

Colours: Black & White Striped Shirts, Black Shorts and Black Socks

Starting Eleven:

1.     Luke Bethell

2.     Luke Redman

3.     Jamie Dobkin

4.     Lewis Wood

5.     Gareth Gibson (Captain)

6.     Stuart Reddick

7.     Stephen Polley

8.     Matthew Warren

9.     Sam Cripps

10.   Jacob Dingli

11.   Mark Palmer

West Bergholt FC

University of Essex FC

Little Oakley FC

Little Oakley FC

West Bergholt FC

West Bergholt FC

Little Oakley FC

University of Essex FC

West Bergholt FC

University of Essex FC

Little Oakley FC

 

(Sub: 90m)

 

(C)

 

(C)

 

 

 

(Sub: 63m)

(Sub: 91m)

Used Substitutes:

12.    Shaun Kioussis

1.     Steve Eaton

2.

6.     Nicky Palmer

Little Oakley FC

Holland FC

 

Holland FC

(Sub: 91m)

(Sub: 63m)

 

(Sub: 90m)

Un-Used Substitutes:

15.    Sam Eldridge

6.     Sam Felgate

Little Oakley FC

Harwich & Parkeston FC

 

(G/K)

 

Manager:

Assistant Managers:

Coach:

Physio:

Kit-men:

Tony Armstrong

Lloyd Pentney

Matthew Carmichael

John Barwick

Barry Vernon & Darren Locke (aka. Panda).

 

Referee:

Assistant referee:

Assistant Referee:

 

4th Official:

Greg Read

Nick Blogg

James Harding

 

David Brunton

(Level 3)

(Level 4)

(Level 4)

 

 

(Addlestone, Surrey)

(Horsham, West Sussex)

(Burgess Hill, West Sussex)

 

(Jersey FA)

Men of the Match: Another real team / squad effort.

ESBFL - Jersey (11)-(2015) C.

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