Badshot Lea become first team to win a league game at Jersey Bulls

Thursday 14th April 2022 6:00 am
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Baggies’ skipper Kane Fitzgerald fires his penalty past Terry Buss in the penalty shootout

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AS WEEKS go, this one must rank right up their for Badshot Lea.

They followed up the history-making Combined Counties Premier Division South victory at Jersey Bulls – to become the first side to win a league game on the island – by clinching their place in the semi-finals of the Cherry Red Records Premier Challenge Cup.

That was a nail-biting affair, as they battled back from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 with Hamworth Villa – the unbeaten runaway leaders of the Premier Division North to win 4-2 in a penalty shootout.

It means they go into this weekend’s trip to struggling Banstead Athletic in confident mood – and then there’s the local derby with Farnham Town on Easter Monday at their Wrecclesham ground (11.30am kick-off).

Michael Kamara headed Villa into the lead on the stroke of half-time and when Jordan Elliott doubled the lead soon after the break, the tie looked done and dusted.

But then Matty Matthews thumped home a header from a free-kick and Billy Upton hooked home the equaliser with 12 minutes left.

Keeper Kallum Lunn produced two stunning saves in the shootout to secure a 4-2 win.

Co-manager Gavin Smith was delighted. “We asked the players to believe in themselves. To be honest at 2-0 down I thought that was it, but the players fought back really well.

“We thought set pieces would be key and that’s how it proved.

“I’m delighted for Kallum – and I told him before the game he would be a hero for us, and he was.

“As a young lad he saved loads of penalties but for us I can remember him saving only one before – but he made two great saves in the lottery of the shootout.

“Villa are a good side and up front they are very impressive but we gave them a good game.

“Billy has a slight injury but he always gives us 100 per cent and he came through okay.

“The semi-final is going to be after the end of the league season but it gives us something to look forward to.

“We had a bad week and then we played well against Guildford, then won in Jersey and now this.

“I thought we didn’t play too well in the first half – I thought perhaps we were giving them a little too much respect.

“I felt we dominated the second half and should have scored another couple of goals.

“There was a good buzz about it. We are experiencing good moments, like beating Walton & Hersham at home, beating Ashford and Westfield away, and neatly coming through Hartley Wintney here – they are all little moments.

“But we want to build that up and win something. The buzz and what it brings to the team is great.

“I think we can beat anyone. Hopefully we can keep everyone this summer, build where we know we need to, and then have a real crack at winning something next season.

“It’s been a good week but I don’t get too carried away. Jersey was good bit it was only three points. We can’t celebrate – we haven’t won anything yet.”

On Saturday Farnham Town host Knaphill and the Baggies travel to Banstead Athletic in the league, and on Easter Monday Badshot Lea entertain Farnham Town in an eagerly-awaited derby (11.30am).

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