The TVPL rep side battled their way into the next round of the FA Inter League Cup with a 3-2 defeat of the Spartan South Midland rep team writes Bernard Carvell.
With the pitch at Rivermoor Stadium looking in immaculate condition the home team fielded a team containing no less than nine players from last season’s champions and runners up Reading YMCA and Marlow United, probably a reflection of the management team of Karl Curtis and Matt Letts.
In the end though it was Carl Jenner the sole Newbury rep who stole the show with a brace of goals and a superb second half defensive display which ensured the hosts held on to their one goal lead and progressed into the next round.
TVPL began the game in confident style earning a free kick on the left of the Spartans area in the first minute with Dan Donegan, team captain, seeing his kick sail to the far post where an unmarked Jenner reacted first to guide the ball over the line from close range.
Woodcote’s Frank Dillon saw his effort saved by keeper John before the visitors enjoyed their first serious venture into opposition territory, a free kick followed by a cross being cleared.
The Spartan side were beginning to settle into the game by now, seeing more of the ball and winning the first corner of the game. The equaliser arrived on twelve minutes as a McComick free kick awarded just inside the TVPL half was missed by two defenders the ball arriving at the feet of an unmarked Brent who smashed home from around ten yards.
The visitors midfield were winning the important battles at this stage of the game and TVPL were grateful to a solid display from their back four who ensured that Rundle was not called into serious action.
Spartans gained a number of corners and free kicks with the hosts looking to find the mercurial Liam Bushay who looked to pose the greatest threat at this stage although usually outnumbered by defenders.
The home midfield began to wrest control back from their opponents, Hardie and Donegan working well as a pair, and they created a number of dangerous situations without looking like scoring whilst at the other end Ali saw his dangerous cross cleared by Britnell.
Cox saw an effort sail over from a Hardie cross on forty minutes and three minutes later the same player cleared from a Spartans corner but within a minute the home side took the lead with the goal of the game.
TVPL had the ball in the back of the net within two minutes of the restart only for Bushay’s headed effort to be ruled out for offside.
The game was more open with play switching back and forth but it was the Spartan side who drew first blood in the half, equalising on the hour as following a Jenner clearance from his penalty area the ball was played back into danger with Cooke picking up the pass and scoring with a crisp shot that gave Rundle no chance.
TVPL bought on Lorenzo Medford for Dillon on sixty five minutes as manager Curtis attempted to add fire power to his front line and within two minutes the home team retook the lead as Bushay won a corner following a run past two defenders, his shot being deflected.
Donegan’s corner was then met with a towering header from Jenner that flew into the back of the net to restore the one goal lead.
The visitors upped the pressure as they looked for an equalising goal but the TVPL defence held firm with Jenner in the thick of it organising and instructing his defence as they kept out the Spartans increasingly desperate attacks with Curtis bringing on Jo Jarra for Bushay to bolster the midfield with time running out.
Spartans Blackwell was shown a straight red on eighty eight minutes for a rash tackle on Medford leaving the visitors to play out the six added on minutes with ten men, the final whistle seeing the TVPL deservedly advance into the next round.
TVPL Team: M Rundle, M Froude, R Britnell, J Hardie, N Reynolds, C Jenner, D Donegan (c), J Cox, L Bushay, J Piercy, F Dillon. Subs: L Medford (for Dillon 65), J Jarra (for Bushay 85)
Following the win, the TVPL have been drawn against the Cambridgeshire County League in December after they beat the Hampshire Premier League 2-1.
Results from the First Round of the competition:
- Cumberland County League P – P North Riding Football League
- Northern Football Alliance W – O Lincolnshire League (walkover for Lincolnshire League – Northern Football Alliance withdrawn)
- Liverpool County Premier League 3 – 2 West Yorkshire Association League
- Chester & Wirral Football League 6 – 3 Cheshire League AET (3 – 3 at the end of normal time)
- York Football League 2 – 1 West Riding County Amateur League
- Dorset Premier League 2 – 3 Kent County League
- Guernsey County Senior League W – O Surrey Elite Intermediate League (walkover for Guernsey County Senior League – Surrey Elite Intermediate withdrawn)
- Thames Valley Premier League 3 – 2 Spartan South Midlands League
- Northamptonshire Combination 1 – 2 Humber Premier League
- Bedfordshire County League 6 – 4 Southern Amateur League
- Isle of Man League 4 – 1 Peterborough & District League
- Staffordshire County League 5 – 0 Lancashire Amateur League
- Jersey Football Combination 3 – 2 Essex Olympian League
- Somerset County League 3 – 3 Essex & Suffolk Border League (AET, Essex & Suffolk Border League won 3-0 on kicks from the penalty mark)
- Hampshire Premier League 1 – 2 Cambridgeshire County League
- Anglian Combination 0 – 5 Amateur Football Combination
Main image: The Thames Valley Premier League squad that faced the SSML by Peter Toft.