Match Report – Tankerton Seniors vs Deal Town Rangers – 22nd March 2015
With Seaview back in action but somewhat occupied, Tankerton Seniors went into their 4th to last game of the season at the secondary location of Herne’s Cherry Orchard full of optimism on the back of 5 consecutive wins. Their opponents today were old foes in the form of Deal Town Rangers. Having pushed today’s home side to the very end for the title last season and proving tough opponents during a close but ultimately successful day as far as Tankerton were concerned in torrid conditions during this campaign, it was clear this wasn’t going to be a walk in the park. Deal had played Tankerton Colts a week beforehand and came out on the back of a 3-2 defeat. However Rangers had only played with 7 players; which spoke wonders of their qualities. Today the visitors were slightly better off with 10 men however they had failed to beat Tankerton in their past three meetings (each of which featured 5 or more goals for the Blues). Could it be 4th time lucky for today’s visitors?
Tankerton lined up with the following eleven – Crane, Whyte, Agada, Bardrick (C), Lavender, Kupperblatt, Dale, Roffe, Schild, Radford and Clements – with Ginnaw, White, Mearns, Hinchcliffe and Finch as the 5 substitutes.
The game started just as Tankerton hoped with the hosts seemingly dominating the opening minutes despite having to play slightly up-hill and against the wind. The home side made the most of the space left free as a result of Deal’s lack of numbers and got the opening goal of the game with around 20 minutes on the clock. A lofted through ball from a Bardrick free-kick met Radford who controlled well just outside the penalty area. Before the attacker could get a shot away he was pulled down by a Deal defender, resulting in a free-kick for Tankerton. With 2 goals already from free-kicks this season (including the last minute winner against today’s opponents back in November), it was no surprise that Dale got his hands on the ball and readied himself for the set-piece. The Tankerton midfielder lived up to expectations by placing the ball with pinpoint accuracy into the top right hand corner of the Deal net with perceived ease. From then on Deal expected the worst. What resulted was much the opposite.
Deal Town Rangers made the most of what can only be deemed as over confidence on Tankerton’s part having taken the lead. The visitors noticed the rather nonchalant aura surrounding the home side and took full advantage with 10 minutes of the half to go via the equaliser. Despite their clear dominance during the second half of the first 45, Deal’s equaliser was most certainly not of their own making. A Deal attack went through on goal before White, suffering from illness during the game, and Crane had an unfortunate misunderstanding; causing the Tankerton left-back to slot it past his own keeper. In terms of Deal’s first half performance this goal was richly deserved. However in relation to the two Tankerton players of whom had the misfortune to be involved it can be warranted as a cruel act of bad luck for individuals who have both enjoyed consistently excellent seasons.
The second half saw Tankerton take the advantage as far as the conditions at Cherry Orchard were concerned. With the home side now playing down-hill and with the wind, Deal had to match or even better their first half performance if they were to win against the title challengers. Revitalised after the break, Tankerton returned onto the Cherry Orchard pitch with the confidence, rather than arrogance, which has typified their season so far. As a result, the home side took the lead for the second time with barely two minutes gone of the 45. Tankerton’s second, like their first, was sourced from a long free-kick of which this time Kupperblatt would loft into the box. The ball was met by Bardrick who climbed high to head the ball across goal where Hinchcliffe was waiting at the back post to head home. From then on there was no looking back for the boys in blue. Tankerton’s third was another header and another from Hinchcliffe. The Tankerton attacker was well placed to head the ball high into the net as a result of a delightful cross from White after a great run down the left wing from the Tankerton full-back. With Deal providing very little resistance, the home side’s fourth came in quick succession. This time it was Mearns who rather debatably got his name on the score sheet. The Tankerton forward met a loose ball at the front post and his shot took a couple of deflections off both a Deal defender and the goalkeeper before it finally found the back of the net. 4-1 was most defiantly not a flattering scoreline on Tankerton’s part. The home side had been clearly dominant during the second 45 with Deal as of yet not having a shot on target. The fifth goal soon followed and this time there was no controversy over Mearns’ finish. In search of his second goal of the game, Mearns powered through the laboured Deal defence to make it 5-1 to Tankerton. This meant that the Blues had scored 5 or more goals against Deal in each of their last 3 meetings – a remarkable feat.
The sixth for Tankerton brought another new name to the scoresheet. Based on his impressively clinical run of form of late there was little doubt Radford would make his mark on proceedings. The goal-getter brought Tankerton’s score total up to 6 with a neat finish inside the box.
A lull in the game’s tempo with around 10 minutes to go saw Deal enjoy a slight proportion of the possession; but to little reward. In fact things got even worse for the visitors as Tankerton and Radford responded with their 7th and 2nd goal of the game respectively after the forward burst through one-on-one with a helpless looking Deal goalkeeper.
Despite moments during play whereby players on both sides could have been deemed to have gone more forcefully into the challenge than was necessary, the final whistle confirmed another successful afternoon for Tankerton in their bid for the title. Deal can be proud of their resilience during the first half however the 7-1 scoreline will most probably still taste sour to the ten men involved at Cherry Orchard.
The only down point of the day as far as Tankerton were concerned was the fact that title rivals Herne Bay beat Woodnesborough 7-0 meaning they still had control of the final leg.
Next week Tankerton face Faversham Strike Force – a team the Blues have already played twice this season after losing narrowly on penalties to them in the cup in September and beating them comprehensively in the league 4-0 back in December.
A WORD ON THE COLTS – On the back of a long awaited win last week against Deal, Tankerton Colts were up against a physical outlet in Faversham Strike Force at Seaview. The Colts held their own during the first half and went in with the score at a respectable 1-0 to the visitors at half time. The second half proved much the same as a late Faversham goal resided victory to Strike Force with the scoreline ending 2-0.