In this episode of Extra Time, we feature, Josh Sommerton & Alex LaFleur.
There was a time, in my playing days – or in other words eons ago – when defenders were really only asked to defend, but nowadays they have to do more. We didn’t have wing-backs for example, and, as I have said many times before, there was (and still is, in my case) only one formation that I understand. For the younger amongst you that’s 2,3,5 with Stanley Matthews on the wing!
Two good examples of the new order feature in this article and Josh Sommerton, shown in action here against Yate in August, is one who has come up through the ranks to rightfully be regarded as first choice left back at the Club – although Alex LaFleur might have something to say about that. As SFC will be running a second string next season, there will hopefully be others to progress in that way.
It was a pretty tough test for Josh (and everybody else), at Thatcham in the FA Cup, but the youngster performed well and the Whites edged it 3-2. Here he leaves an opponent with no choice other than to protest his innocence (or maybe he was holding his hands up in admiration as he was brushed aside!)
Alex Lafleur, on the other hand, joined us from Gosport Borough, having had experience even at his tender age with a host of clubs. He made his first appearance for the Whites in September, and came on for 22 minutes against Met Police. Unfortunately, by that time the damage was done and his side were training 3-1, the final scoreline.
Josh, at Portland United, often seemed to be outnumbered, and in truth the Sydenhams Wessex side did a pretty good job of making life difficult for all Salisbury players, but not quite good enough though as the Whites prevailed by the narrowest of margins.
Josh enjoyed the 2-0 success against Hartley Wintney at the end of September….
….but neither Alex, nor many of the travelling supporters had any joy at Paulton as Salisbury departed the League Cup. Alex wasn’t involved in the home reverse against Margate in the FA Cup, but returned to score one of his two goals for the campaign at Amesbury in a 5-1 Wiltshire Professional Shield win.
Josh was involved against Margate, but, like his colleagues could not have really enjoyed either the game or the defeat.
Alex, like most players, could not have relished sitting on the bench at Hendon as the Whites recorded a solid 3-0 win, and he didn’t get a chance against Taunton. He had 45 minutes against Harrow Borough on 19 October, coming on for the injured Elliot Wheeler. The good bit is that Salisbury won that match and he played a full part in that, but the downside was that Elliot’s season ended with the injury. Alex helped Salisbury gain a hard-earned point at Merthyr on 22 October, and kept his place in the 3-3 Trophy draw at home to Dorchester.
In the first week of November, Alex helped to gain a second consecutive clean sheet away from home at Farnborough – another hard-earned point.
Both Josh and Alex started the game against Kings Langley in the Trophy, with Josh playing the full 90 as the Whites went through with a narrow 2-1 win.
Having been substituted at half time in the Kings Langley game, Alex was not in the squad at Hayes & Yeading seven days later for the League game, but Josh was. Here he is in the midst of things as the Whites went down 1-0.
Alex would get his chance though against Hayes in the Trophy replay at home on 23 November, and made the most of it by scoring Salisbury’s third. That late equaliser set things up and Warren Bentley settled it with a fourth Whites’ goal to secure the winner deep into added time.
Happy days for Alex against Hayes, but not so happy at Walton a week later as the Whites suffered a 2-1 loss. He had just over an hour on the pitch before a tactical switch meant that Owen Howe replaced him in a last-ditch attempt to take something from the game. He did however get 90 minutes on 3 December against Melksham Town in the Wiltshire Professional Shield and helped see the Whites safely through 3-1.
Over the past few seasons Salisbury have really suffered on the injury front, and against Blackfield & Langley Josh suffered a nasty injury – would you believe on his return…..from injury!
The picture shows what no-one ever likes to see – Josh, or any player for that matter, being stretchered off, but it was obviously going to be one of those occasions when things don’t go as you would wish. Marcus Beauchamp had not even been able to start the game, having been injured in the warm-up, and Gerard Benfield ended up in hospital, as did Josh. Oh, and it was a disappointing 1-1 draw by the way against the Watersiders.
Alex had to sit out the win against Poole Town, and that at Yate, and only had minimal involvement in the Whites’ 3-1 victory at home to Wimborne, but he returned in what was billed, and what turned out be, a tough meeting with Chesham. He acquitted himself well as Salisbury succeeded 3-2.
Alex was part of the squad in the Eastbourne replay, but only saw time on the pitch as the Whites wound down the clock, and he then had to endure another 90 minutes as a spectator in the Trophy defeat at Chelmsford. He would not have enjoyed being on the bench, nor especially having to watch as the Whites were thrashed 4-0. However, his next action (pictured) came with a solid 90 minutes at Dorchester, when Salisbury romped home 5-0.
If the Dorchester game was not the most difficult, the arrival of Tiverton at the Ray Mac was certain to restore some reality, and Alex played all but 13 minutes of the 2-2 draw before another tactical substitution, in an attempt to get the three points, saw him give way to Toby Holmes.
Alex is seen here in the 3-0 home reverse against the team who would surely have gained promotion had the season completed – Truro City. Before that game though, he had more than made up his “pitch minutes” with no less than 120 at Melksham against a strong Swindon Town side in the Wiltshire Professional Shield. A defeat at Met Police followed where he came off the bench late in the game, and after Truro he did not get any more on pitch action, having to be content with being in the squad at home to Merthyr and away at Harrow.
On 22 February the fit-again Sommerton helped the Whites to a double over Hendon in a comfortable 2-0 win……
……but even applying his usual workrate he could do nothing to help his side take more than a point at Gosport in a 0-0 draw.
The meeting with Merthyr on 7 March went the same way as usual, in that the games are always difficult, but this time the Whites came from behind to record a 2-1 win
No such result at Harrow though, and in fact not much to speak about in the 2-2 draw, apart from the oddity of two goals for each side all coming from the penalty spot! Obviously the referee thought she should be even handed to both sides, although some would argue with that. Surprisingly, some home officials looked puzzled about a penalty THEIR side had been awarded, which makes it pretty obvious how some travelling supporters saw it!
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