Congratulations to Southall FC, who on Tuesday evening last 19th April secured promotion to Step 4 of the National League Pyramid. They went into their game against 10th placed Tadley Calleva, already certain of second place in the Combined Counties League Premier Division North but still requiring another 2 points to reach 75 and achieve the average points per match figure required for automatic promotion.
Our roving team of Chris Benn (photographer) and Jim Taylor (reporter) went along to the Robert Parker Stadium to witness the evening’s events.
The Southall team, which was depleted due to injuries to key players, sustained in the run in at the end of an exacting but very successful season, rose to the occasion once again and tore into Tadley Calleva. They built up a four goal lead before half time and although they only scored once more in the second half, they remained comfortably in control to win 5-0.
Lewis Putman hits a free kick around the wall...
Southall started aggressively and made several scoring attempts, including one from Lenny Farhall, which hit the cross bar and one from Luke Heneghan, who had a low shot blocked, within the first five minutes. They went ahead in the 9th minute from a free kick, awarded for handball, just outside the penalty area. Lewis Putman hit his shot low around the defensive wall and into the corner of the net.
...and into the corner of the net
Lenny Farhall burst through the Tadley defence but keeper, Joel Halliday saved with his feet.
Keeper Joel Halliday saves with his feet from Lenny Farhall
Tadley briefly came into the match and forced a couple of corners, which were cleared following some goalmouth action.
Southall doubled their advantage in the 18th minute, when Luke Heneghan converted Lewis Putman’s low cross.
...and Luke Heneghan converts
Luke had two further scoring attempts, a high shot and a low drive from around 25 yards, saved by keeper, Joel Halliday.
Tadley Calleva were having a fair share of the possession at this stage but looked vulnerable at the back.
Lewis Putman broke from half way to within shooting range but fired wide, with only the goalkeeper to beat. However, Southall scored a third goal in the 41st minute. James McCluskey took the ball into the box and set up Anthony O’Connor, who netted.
Then Joel Halliday saved Lenny Farhall’s header from Louis Stead’s free kick.
Anthony O'Connor rounds the keeper...
...nets (he is off camera)...
Southall’s fourth goal arrived in the final minute of the half, when Anthony O’Connor took the ball around the keeper before hitting it home.
Half time score: Southall 4 Tadley Calleva 0
Lewis Putman volleyed over the bar following a corner. Tadley skipper, Brad Neal went up for a corner and volleyed just wide after a goalmouth melee.
Luke Heneghan hit the side netting with a drive and the keeper held a high shot from Lenny Farhall. Anthony O’Connor took the ball through the visiting defence to score Southall’s 5th goal and complete his 5th hat-trick of the season for Southall, in the 66th minute.
Anthony O'Connor scores Southall's fifth goal
Southall continued to dominate the game and had several more attempts on goal, mainly from Anthony O’Connor, who hit a post in the last minute of normal time. During the added time, the visiting keeper made a very good double save from Anthony and then from Jack Bennett.
Referee Tom Simmons and his two assistants controlled the match very well.
Final score: Southall 5 Tadley Calleva 0
Southall: Berkley Laurencin, Ryan Hope, Frankie Taylor, Louis Stead, Louis Dailey, Jack Roper, Lewis Putman (Nathan Dennis 61 min), James McCluskey (capt) (Adam Louth 79), Anthony O’Connor, Luke Heneghan (Jack Bennett 64) and Lenny Farhall.
Unused substitutes: Daniel Julienne and Koju Abayomi (goalkeeper).
Tadley Calleva: Joel Halliday, Aiden Harris, Jordan Goater (Kieran Maylen 67), Andrew Charlsey, Brad Neal (capt), Ian Jones, Kallum Cousins (Brett Denham 55), Scott Kinge, Jack French, Ben Wright and Callum Cleary (Jacob Rolfe 75).
Unused substitute: Marc Vockins.
Referee: Tom Simmons Assistant Referees: James Hall and Steven Hart.
As always we give thanks to Chris & Jim for covering this important match. As customary they have selected some of their favourite shots which can be found throughout the report. Finally we give further thanks to Chris who has kindly provided a full album of imagery.
Chris & Jim's Picks
Full album courtesy of Chris Benn