Where there is a Will, there is always a way to win.
This Hampshire combination league fixture was played in absolutely awful conditions on a pitch at Whiteparish which became increasing difficult as the game progressed. I am sure anyone that ventured out between 3 and 5pm on Saturday will know what the wind speeds were like at times. But fair play to both sets of players, this was a game played with both sides trying to play the right way despite the weather.
The last time some of these Whites faced this Wimborne side was in the floodlit cup about 1 year ago. That game in Wimborne ended 11-1 to the hosts. And within 9 minutes with the wind against them Wimborne took the lead. The impressive number 9 was running the Whites back line a merry dance already when and a chance which was blocked and forced out to the right side of the Whites goal, he was the first to react and get to the ball. His clever cross into the back post was expertly met by a team mate who headed it back across the home goal and into the net for the perfect start for the Magpies.
With the wind behind the whites in the first half every through ball for the strikers was simply flying on to the keeper or out of play, and the lads really were struggling to get any grip in this game. Then on 24 minutes a visiting player was allowed to run 60 yards with the ball through half hearted attempts to stop him. The home side paid the price for some bad decision making during that run when he eventually slotted the ball home to double the visitors advantage at half time.
I always thought the direction of the wind could make this a game of two halves, and it did but not till Wimborne had the chance to extend their lead on around 50 minutes. Debut whites keeper Szymaniak whom had done great to keep his side half in this match during the 1st half, had what fans of the old club would understand as a ‘Will Puddy moment’. A long ball was going more towards the corner flag than the goal, but the keeper decided he had to get there at the edge of his area, but the attacker beat him to it and was taken out by the stoppers late challenge.
Standing on the verge of conceding a 3rd, the Polish keeper (on debut) felt he owed his team one, and what followed was firstly a well hit pen low down to the keepers right and far enough in the corner you would imagine to be unstoppable, well Konrad was having none of it and pulled off an unbelievable save. They say some times moments in games can change them, that save most definitely did.
The home side it seemed felt like they had been given a lifeline in this game, they had, but could they take it? From that moment on it was one way traffic for most of it and when on 57 minutes a smart whites move ended with Timperley finding space near the by-line to the left of the Wimborne goal his driven ball along the six yard line was met by Layton Tulk first time while racing in at full pelt. He caught it perfectly and gave the keeper no chance. 1v2. Game on.
Wimborne looked shell shocked, but when they did venture forward, they found Davies and Feest the Salisbury centre halves determined not to let them through, and that was only once they got past Jones and Thomas in the whites midfield. To be honest yes we were still 2-1 down and the next goal was critical, but you just had a feeling.
Another quality whites move down the right saw sub Harry Boulton feed the ball into the path of striker Ruben Smith’s great run. His shot from a ever narrowing angle found the far corner of the net to cue mass celebrations. At this point given that thrashing a year ago, this would have been a nice point to stop the game and get out of the abysmal weather. But no there were 3 point to win.
Both sides were trying to win this game, but momentum was with Salisbury and when on 87 minutes Jones in central midfield dropped a shoulder and sent first one player the wrong way, and then sprinted past the challenge of a second before playing a perfectly weighted ball to Will Waterson, whom for the first time in the game managed to get between the two centre backs near the edge of the visitors box. Last seasons leading goal scorer for the U18’s (as a U16 too) never lacks confidence and his first and second touch set himself perfectly to slot the ball past the diving keeper into the corner and cue even bigger celebrations on the pitch, the bench and amongst 50% of the crowd.
Understandably the visitors threw the kitchen sink at the Whites and forced 3 consecutive corners right near the death, their keeper was forward for the final attempt, but the Whites held firm and took all the points.
The Whites 2nd string next visit the Dell, home of neighbour’s Laverstock on Wednesday night K.O 7:45. They sit top of the league today and the Bulldogs 1 v 0 win at the Ray Mac a month ago is still fresh in the memory. A win for Salisbury will put the two sides level on points at the top going into next Saturdays round of fixtures which see’s Salisbury host Hamworthy united. It has to be said the current premier league table looks good for the city of Salisbury. Although the table won’t be a true reflection until probably January given the differences in games played.
Todays man of the match goes to debutant Konrad Szymaniak. He made some cracking saves in the 1st hour, often to keep his team in the game. Yes he cost us the penalty, but he made amends in some style and that save changed the game. A special word for the two centre backs in front of him, Owen Davies and Tom Feest. Both put in big performances when they were needed.