Jets Battle Hard but Pay the Penalty
Oxhey Jets 3 Wantage Town 4
FA Cup Extra Prelim Round
11th August 2018
Jets fall at the first hurdle, gloom, doom… NO – none of that as the players today came the closest I’ve seen for three years to the “old Jets” spirit, coming back and breathing life back into the team on and off the field.
Tim’s halftime talk sparked a magnificent comeback, an exciting match and a very unlucky exit from the most famous of trophies. It was so good to see 20 players in a pre-match team talk together raring to go, dressed in club shirts looking like a team again.
Wantage were firm favourites and for Jets, a bad draw, not because of the club but how good we knew they were in the Hellenic Premier, so we had to be at our best, and Tim makes no secret we are a work in progress as he rebuilds the team from top to bottom.
A mention for the country’s youngest ground hopper Liam Priday who has now been to over 200 grounds and was the Mirror’s fan of the season in 2016. He was presented with a Jets pennant pre-match to act as a memory of his visit to us by Jets founder and General Manager John Elliott BEM. He was also asked to lead the teams out and swop mementoes pre-match with Wantage Town FC.
The first half saw the visitors in total control dominating the midfield battle with Jets defending deep and well to hold them at bay. Jets were second best, and Nick Kerley looked isolated up front as his support was forced to drop back. But for all the dominance of possession by Wantage, Jets held them almost chanceless and shotless as far as on target, so they were doing their defensive job correctly and were trying to spring the offence.
30 minutes in a decision swung the match to the visitors when Vass tackled, and the referee went straight to the spot and Chris Jackson converted. In the balance of fairness, both benches felt the decision was harsh, but at halftime, Jets players made the referee correct on the call.
Jets wobbled, and the visitors had another big penalty shout that was turned flat, it looked more of a shout than the first one! Jets held out for the break and were relieved to get in just a goal down at the break.
Tim O’Sullivan was not happy, and it’s fair to say the players soon realised that!! So would the “words” register an improvement? Well no, Jets were caught cold within two minutes when Harvey Scholes headed home No2, and it looked all over for the hosts.
Now a different team suddenly emerged, and Jets came alive, sweeping forward, good football and adventurous. Then a super strike from Luke Jones, a stunner in the top corner, blew the doors open for the Jets (51 mins).
Jets now sniffed a chance, and they flew at the visitors. First, Karl Penny looked like he’d levelled with a superb back post header but a brilliant fingertip save denied the notch, then Ollie hit the bar, and you just sensed it was coming. Then Ollie hit the post, and as the fans held their heads in their hands, Luke Jones pounced coolly again for 2-2 (62 min).
Hardly time to draw breath and a cutter through to Nick Kerley, who at last was getting the feed he deserves, and bang 3-2 Jets (65 mins).
It was now a ding dong of a game. Wantage shaken but now stirred as they came back at Jets. Both sides made changes, and it was a real FA cup classic for the neutrals. Then on 70 minutes, it was all to go wrong between Jets and a match official who seemed to lose all consistency in the heat of the battle.
Failing to punish simulation attempts both ways the calls went to he who shouts first and a major turning point, Sub Ryan O’Sullivan was outrageously flattened, but to everyone’s amazement, it was not given as a free kick but a corner. From the corner it seemed there were pulls and pushes everywhere as the referee lost all grip. The whistle went for a second penalty against Jets, who against nobody knows but it was converted again by Jackson (73 mins). (Looking at the video at 10:34, the attacker looks to run into the back of Andy Brennan and fall over!).
Jets lost their heads with the official and a small flutter of cards followed. More followed when a throw-in was reversed just as it was about to be taken, and the weird went weirder when Scott Bonner was made to leave the pitch after getting relief for cramp from a fellow player, not any staff.
Four minutes into stoppage time that was strangely long for a match that had only one on pitch treatment. Bonner off with cramp and the worst thing any team wants is a centre-half swop in stoppage time at a corner.
The ball cleared, and now the indicated five minutes before the long, long trip to Oxfordshire on Tuesday looked a done thing. Time ticked on, and sub-centre-half Wallace cleared one. Then a superb save by Jets keeper Evans held things all square. Then, from a corner, Jets lost all concentration, and Connor Mattimore headed home the winner (97min).
It was a bitter blow for Jets who were excellent second half. As disappointing as it was the positives must be drawn from the game by a new look squad that’s in the early stages of becoming a team. This was the best its looked for a couple of seasons, and BOTH teams deserved the standing ovation they received at the final whistle.
Of course, Jets were gutted, and it was a real shame, in the end, that the official had such a perceived influence on the final result, but we met and came nose to nose with an excellent side today and almost pulled off a superb comeback.
The Carlsberg Jets man of the match was easy and no shortlist, Luke Jones, for his influence and two good goals in a superb second half.
One thing I did ask is why the nickname the “Fred’s”. Wantage is where King Alfred burned his cakes! I hope we meet Wantage again maybe preseason and the cakes are on them, cos with a little help by the rub of decisions today they got the cherry on the top.
More Photos (click to see full size): –
Jones Longshot Grabs Jets the Points
London Colney 0 Oxhey Jets 1
Spartan Premier Division
7th August 2018
Jets got three good points on the road beating London Colney 0-1, much-needed points after two competitive defeats.
Injuries and holidays forced boss Tim O’Sullivan into changes, and it was a tough decision on how to line up after the host’s excellent result winning 2-0 against one of the early title hunters, Leverstock Green, who seem to have found fantastic back scene resources.
Tim recalled Gary Wallace and a season’s debut for returning Ashley Fongho, taking a break from his pop star Rak-su fame to put in a solid performance at the back in place of working Chris Killer (His last match was in front of a full house at Old Trafford!).
It was an end to end battle on a steep pitch, but Jets wanted something going down the slope. Jets had the first significant opening when Ryan O’Sullivan broke clear, but the chance and shot was scuffed.
We thought we had the breakthrough when, from a corner, Vass got a header that beat the keeper but bounced back off the post ( again as it happens this season that’s five times in three games).
The hosts swung, and it was dig-deep time and Jets back four did well. With half-time approaching Colney had a great chance skim past the goal then Jets instantly broke forward, and a Luke Jones long-shot beat the keeper for the lead 0-1 (43min).
Jets had a massive chance when good play took it past the advancing keeper, but one, two, three passes later and no shot ending with the defender’s frantic efforts to block and the chance was lost, and then it was the half-time break.
It’s a significant slope and Jets knew there would be periods to mop up the pressure, and there was now long periods, but Jets dug in very very well, and the back four and keeper were equal to everything.
Changes were made as the manager played all the cards and Jets were pushed back for long periods but held out for three excellent points.
The Carlsberg Man of the Match was contested, an excellent debut by Ashley, the whole back four and Leigh Stevens and Degi working their socks off again, but the award went to Vass for a commanding match by the youngster.
Three big points after two defeats and a morale boost to take into the FA cup tie on Saturday against a very good and in form Wantage team.
Ashley Cam! …
Jets Rue Defensive Lapses
Oxhey Jets 2 Crawley Green 3
Spartan Premier Division
4th August 2018
Jets battle and fought back from two down in a display of determination but defensive lapses cost them dearly, and manager Tim O’Sullivan was bitterly disappointed that the winner was a carbon copy of the second goal that was adequately discussed at halftime to avoid a repeat.
The game was even, both sides doing battle in the soaring temps in a nose to nose battle, both sides having chances as Nick Kerley just tweaked the outside of the goal with a long-range shot, and the visitors missed a sitter with a header. It feels like the officials save the controversial decisions for competitive games as after a quiet preseason, like buses they all come along together.
Jets fell behind on 27 minutes from a hotly disputed penalty which Danny Watson converted. From the dugout side, everybody including the away bench saw it as backing into the Jets centre-half and were amazed and angry at the decision. ( I say the dugout side as in fairness to the official the stand side including Jets people said it looked like a shirt tug by the defender, soft but a tug !!).
Jets attacked and looked dangerous, then suicide as deep in the Green half a sloppy pass caught Jets upfield and a single 60yd cross pitch long ball found Lobjoit who converted after excellent control and slotted home.
Jets in desperate trouble, would they fold. Chris Killer called into the side following the charity shield match hit a perfect corner that Nick Kerley met in the air to shoot home 1-2 (33 min). The excellent game by both sides see-sawed, and Jets GK Matt Evens saved excellently on a 1:1 from Watson. Then another header back post ball was missed by the visitors. Jets attacked were wilting on the wings before delivery. HT 1-2
Jets came straight out the blocks. Andy Brennan was lost to injury always a blow as his energy is inspirational. Ryan O’Sullivan attacked out wide and slipped the perfect ball to Brennan replacement Luke Jones, whose long shot was saved but not held by the visitor’s keeper, and Nick Kerley was on hand to stab home the rebound reacting first. 2-2 (47 min)
Jets had a massive chance to take the lead as Ryan O’Sullivan broke completely clear and with the keeper wrong-footed and just watching O’Sullivan placed the ball square on the post and out again(53 min).
The match was now in Jets best period, and they must have been looking at the win. Then disaster as Jets right up near the Crawley penalty area cheaply laid the ball to the defender and bang, a straight low and upright diagonal ball found Nimi, who stripped off the defender caught wrong sided and with the keeper staying at home slotted into the corner low for the winner.
Jets pushed, Crawley almost killed it off but was denied by an Evans point-blank save then injury time drama. The last throw of the dice and Leigh Stevens upended inside the box, and yet again both sides agreed on a pen, literally everyone home and away said it, Crawley supporters even tweeted it, but, yes another BUT the referee gave it outside, and the resulting kick came to nothing and Jets were beaten.
Three points lost to us, and essential promotion marks lost for the official since the changes this season say mark a section for significant decisions separately !!
Jets were excellent at times, definitely a breath of fresh air from last season’s efforts, but its work in progress and the new side has people missing and understandings to develop, but also the lessons must be learned and mistakes not repeated.
This season our excellent sponsors will be giving a bottle to the man of the match and special event tickets at random to players earning them, so decisions need to made for each game.
Today Leigh Stevens and Chris Killer were nominated as was two-goal Nick Kerley who played excellently and a constant threat. The final nod went to Degi, who battled and ran and battled some more. High energy when jets needed it most.
Oxhey Jets video strengthens the view that the foul on Stephens was inside the area. The ball had been played back to Kerley but Stephens was then taken out.