The Whites 2nd string went into this Hampshire Development league Premier Division match looking to maintain their good run which saw them move to 2nd on goal difference to Laverstock & Ford FC in the table. Stoneham, despite their lowly 8th position showed that this league is a tight one and the table can change in a matter of weeks. In a match up earlier in the season the visitors inflicted the only big defeat on the whites in a 7-2 reverse. Salisbury on the other hand we’re in form and went into the game on a high after winning away at high flying Gosport Borough the week before.
With Stoneham starting the stronger in the first 10 minutes the whites relied on stopper Szymaniak on more than one occasion to keep the scores level.
However once the home side got in their stride it didn’t take long before good work from striker Ed Timperley ended with the ball being squared across the box for Sam Butt to slot his 3rd of the season into the bottom right corner. The remaining 32 minutes of the first half was end to end but no chances taken. Just 4 minutes into the 2nd half and Stoneham got level after a cross from the left that evaded the home keepers grasp fell to a visiting player to level the scores. Around the 60 minute Mark the Whites rang the changes with Smith replacing Waterson up front and Boulton replacing Thomas. The changes had a near instant impact when Ruben Smith drove at the Stoneham defence and broke through but was pulled back just before he pulled the trigger with his shot. The ref immediately blew the whistle for seemingly a free kick. But after consultation with his linesman awarded the penalty. The guilty defender was also shown a red card, thus reducing the visitors to 10 men.
Smith dusted himself down and took the penalty himself. Striking the ball perfectly to the keepers right to put the Whites back ahead in the game. If their first half performance was below their own high standards, the Whites had done enough to edge ahead in this tight game, just about! Unfortunately for the home crowd and side this lead only lasted to the 77 minute when they conceded a goal from a corner, a bit of bug bear of the very young Salisbury side this season so far.
Despite both sides going for all 3 points hammer and tong so to speak, the game ended 2 v 2.
Elsewhere Laverstock extended their lead by 2 points with a 3 v 0 win over Romsey Town reserves whom are the Whites next visitors to the Ray on the 19th December. Harlequins 2nd string suffered a rare defeat to US Portsmouth whom have only dropped points once this season which was against Salisbury. With all three of the cities clubs reserves sides in the top 5 of the only reserve league system in the Wessex area it bodes really well for football in the city of Salisbury as we go into 2021.
The Whites have 4 games still to play this season against teams currently in the top 5 starting with a visit to the Dell at Laverstock on the 2nd January 2021.
However, before thoughts turn to Laverstock Romsey are the visitors this Saturday for a 3pm kick off.
photo’s kindly taken by Michaela Berkeley
(all original photo’s available for £5 from Michael)