v Calne Town (Uhlsport Hellenic League, Premier Div – 8 Sept 2021)




Tuffley Rovers made it seven points from a possible nine, as they came away from a tricky tie at Calne Town with another three point haul, courtesy of another winner from recent signing Brennan Denness-Barrett.

After Rovers’ kit was delayed in arriving at Calne, kick-off was put back ten minutes and a largely unchanged side took the field, with Rich Cox making one change from the side who’d left Chipping Sodbury with three points, as Josh Aldridge made his full debut in place of the unavailable Warren Mann.

The hosts immediately looked to carry an attacking threat, as patient play at the back was usually followed by a swift move upfield designed to make use of a pacy attacking line, but Rovers coped well, for the most part, whilst also looking to counter when they were able.

It was from one such counter-attack that Rovers took the lead 27 minutes in, with Lewis Bainbridge matching his scoring exploits at Chipping Sodbury with another effort. After his initial effort was parried by Craig Edwards, Bainbridge did well to retrieve the loose ball, swivel and then loft a shot over the net-minder, who was back-pedalling and could do no more than push the ball into the roof of his own net.

This Rovers side lack height and it was not a complete surprise when Calne Town equalised on 34 minutes, as a deep corner was met, unopposed, by Matthew Jenkins, who headed the ball past Jack Copland in the Rovers goal.

Within nine minutes, however, Rovers had the lead. Joe Shutt chased down a Calne Town defender and when he blocked an attempt clearance, the ball went into the path of Denness-Barrett, who turned inside his marked, before giving himself a yard and then sending a stinging drive beyond Edwards and into the bottom corner of the net, to give Rovers a 2-1 lead that they were able to take into the interval.

Calne Town were on the front foot at the start of the second period and had it not been for a stunning Copland save from a free-kick, they might have levelled the scores.

There were signs that Rovers’ possession based game, added to their lead, was starting to test the hosts and tempers frayed as the half went on and Jamie Walters was sin-binned as the emotions boiled over.

With Calne Town temporarily reduced to ten men, Rovers almost extended their lead but Aaron Basford could only had a sumptuous cross-field pass from Aldridge marginally wide of the goal.

It was then Rovers’ turn to be reduced to ten men, as Archie Woodall said something to the referee and was promptly consigned to the sin-bin himself. That might have been the point at which this Rovers team would previously have folded, but a renewed spirit was evident and they battled hard to keep the hosts out and retain possession for long periods, which ultimately proved enough to ensure that Denness-Barrett’s second goal for the club was as valuable to the club as his first had been, as they left Calne with a much needed victory.