Match Report -

Match Report - , by Roger Allen

Tadley Calleva v Royal Navy F.A. 02/10/18

Tadley Calleva 3 Royal Navy F.A. 5

GOALS are what football is all about so one should not quibble over eight in one evening but the game itself did not match the scoreline. There was some good football at times and it was always competitive but it seemed a little disjointed and a number of the goals could, and perhaps should, have been prevented. This is seemingly the Royal Navy’s, or to give them their full title, the Royal Navy FA, initial season in the Hampshire Senior Cup and having beaten East Cowes Vics in their first tie they now faced Premier League opposition at Barlows Park and made the best possible start with a goal inside three minutes. Home keeper Sean O’Brien dallied on the ball and Alan SNEDDON, who was a threat throughout, charged down the eventual clearance and rolled the ball in to the vacant net.

Sneddon followed that with a shot that grazed the crossbar and his strike partner, Steve Morgan, saw a shot cleared off the line as the home side struggled to get in to the game. On twenty minutes the lead was doubled as the keeper was perhaps slow in leaving his line and Ryan McKECHNIE, more often seen in a Portland shirt, slotted the ball past him. To their credit the home side did gain a foothold and levelled the scores with two goals in quick succession around the half hour mark. The first was fashioned by Harry Pearson and Brett Denham down the right and when the former’s cross was only partially cleared Jamie REID lashed the ball home from the edge of the area. The second goal came very much in the preventable category as a corner hit a defender, who was under no pressure, on the back of the head and bounced past the rather flat footed keeper [Ed- Tadley crediting Reid with the goal]. Another effort from Sneddon was close and O’Brien saved well from Morgan leaving the scores level at the half time break. HT 2-2

The Navy again were quicker in to their stride, though the home side’s Phillips was only an inch or so too high with a clever lob, but the relationship between the Navy keeper and his defence, which included a Dion Dublin lookalike, was at times tenuous and the keeper’s handling was none too secure, so when Tadley did get forward they were always in with a chance. Denham had a shot saved and the Navy’s Danny Kerr missed badly with a free header from a corner before his side regained the lead midway through the half. A free kick on the left hand corner of the penalty area, a training ground move, and SNEDDON beat O’Brien at his near post from some twenty yards.

A Tadley free kick from a dangerous position hit the defensive wall – rather painfully for one of its occupants -and keeper Margerson rather fumbled another effort round the post before the Navy looked to have made the game safe with a fourth goal. Kerr made some space for himself with some neat footwork and the shot was handled on the line by Chad Abrams. The defender was rather apologetically dismissed by the referee, who had an excellent game, and SNEDDON completed his hat trick from the spot. Is there a case for saying that a sending off in such instances is too harsh? Perhaps that should only be the case if the penalty is missed? With time running out those spectators drifting towards the exit were stopped in their tracks as two of Tadley’s substitutes reduced the deficit to one. Connor Thorne’s shot was pushed on to the bar by the keeper and Cameron GEORGE turned the loose ball in to the net.

But there was to be no late equaliser as the final goal came in stoppage time at the other end with Stuart MORGAN lifting the ball over O’Brien to seal his side’s win and a place in the next round. Tadley were short of one or two regulars and the Navy always looked on the night to have too much up front. They could well progress further in the Competition – incidentally as well as McKechnie former Petersfield stalwarts Matt Short and Phil Archbold were on the bench – but on the night their defence did look vulnerable. But you cannot quibble over eight goals in an evening. FT 3-5 (John Gorman)