Match Report - Salisbury FC v Metropolitan Police FC

Salisbury FC 1 Metropolitan Police FC 3

BetVictor Southern Premier South

Saturday, 14 September 2019

By Alec Hayter

There were two new names on the team sheet for this match, but neither Alex Lafleur nor the returning Bay Downing would have enjoyed the outcome as the Whites once again failed to find a way to beat an efficient Metropolitan Police side after what is now four attempts in two seasons.


The Met exploited the wide open spaces afforded to them in the middle of the park where the Whites were, to say the least, mostly pedestrian, and no one did more with the space than the impressive Ayoub Assal who made the most of his freedoms on loan from AFC Wimbledon.

It nearly started well when on 10 minutes Josh Sommerton fired in a corner for Darren Mullings, well forward, to miscue his header, but goal machine Jack Mazzone, who loves playing against Salisbury, threatened 3 minutes later when he cut in before bringing a great block from Salisbury keeper Tom Smith.

First chance to Darren MullingsFirst chance to Darren Mullings - ©Roger Elliott

After Dan Fitchett had sent a difficult looping effort over the visitors' bar, they went straight to the other end where Mazzone profited from Oliver Knight's threaded ball to beat Smith who, in fairness, nearly kept out the effort. No need for immediate panic however so early in the game, but it was not until just after the half-hour that Salisbury came close, and it was Fitchett again who nearly scored, getting onto a Danny Young cross but heading against the post in a painful slo-mo.

Anyone going for an early cup of tea before half-time will have missed lots of action which started with Mazzone driving a ball across the box with no one on hand to finish the job on 39 minutes and then, seconds later, at the other end, Young connecting well with a ball in from the left to force a good save from keeper Charlie Burns.

End to end for a couple of minutes, and 3 minutes before the interval, the Met proved that Salisbury are not the only team to give away goals, when a sloppy clearance from a defender found Toby Holmes near the byeline. Holmes took a couple of steps forward and then belted the ball towards goal and, to give him the benefit of the doubt, he was credited as the ball entered the net although there was more than a suspicion of a defensive deflection involved.

Any thoughts Salisbury had of getting themselves back into it were soon dispelled when on 44 minutes it took a last-ditch tackle by Nathaniel Oseni to deny Assal when through, and just before the whistle doubts were confirmed when Mazzone chased the ball down with Kevin Amankwaah trying to shepherd it out to safety. Although it appeared that the defender may have been fouled the referee waved away protests which followed after Mazzone robbed Amankwaah and finished past Smith to give his side a 2-1 interval lead.

As if that were not enough, in the space of two further playing minutes the visitors extended their lead at the start of the second period when the diminutive Assal sneaked into the box and again had time and space against a sleepy defence to head home at the near post. Two very disappointing goals conceded had greatly improved the Met's chances of taking home the points.

The Whites began to have more of the possession but it was not until the hour mark that there was any real cause for optimism. That was a fairly vain hope though as appeals were turned down for handball after Holmes had leathered the ball at a Met defender from close range. VAR might have helped, or maybe not.

Then began a period of more possession, but again with little cutting edge, with George Colson trying his luck from just outside the box on 63 minutes but seeing his snapshot go just the wrong side of the upright. On 70 minutes Bay Downing, playing a wide right role, cut inside onto his left foot but saw his effort saved by Burns, and seconds later Aaron Dawson hit an effort, but again wide of the target.

There was always the chance of a breakaway and on 78 minutes it could have been 4-1 when the visitors got well forward and fired a ball across the luckily empty area in front of of the home goal.

With 7 minutes remaining Salisbury had their best chance of the half to make it an interesting finale when Colson delivered a great free kick into the box but Oseni could only glance his 6 yard header past the post. In time added another Sommerton corner found Colson who headed over the top to indicate that it was not to be for an underpar Whites side, and salt was nearly rubbed into the wounds when well into stoppage time firstly Mazzone whipped a left foot shot just past and then Knight spurned a golden opportunity, allowing Smith to save.

OseniNathaniel Oseni's late chance - ©Roger Elliott

Before the match Steve Claridge had described Metropolitan Police as a nemesis, and so it proved as they put a strong restraining order on anything that Salisbury could produce. They must however have expected a more difficult game, and it is imperative that things improve for Tuesday night's visit to Weston-super-Mare who, somewhat surprisingly, went down at Walton Casuals by 2-1. On Tuesday there will therefore be a game between two sides both wanting desperately to get back on track, and a good contest is in prospect. Both sides will also of course have one eye on their FA cup games on the following Saturday when arguably the Seagulls will have a tougher task at home to Merthyr than the Whites should have away at Portland all things being equal.

Nothing should be taken for granted though and to ensure that your team are given their best chance in these two away games a large travelling support would be appreciated, and would certainly help to get good results.

Come on you Whites, you're so much better than you showed today.


Salisbury FC: Smith, Colson, Sommerton, Dawson, Amankwaah, Oseni, Young (Downing 59), Mullings, Holmes, Fitchett, Lafleur (Knowles 55).

Subs not used: Betts, Bancroft.

Metropolitan Police: Burns, Akinwunmi, Fisher, Arthur, Robinson, Robertson, Knight, King (McCormach, 68), Mazzone, Assal, Sayoud (Appaiah-Allen 89).

Subs not used: Berchiche, Sterling.

Attendance: 737                    Referee: A Hobbs

Match Report - Thatcham Town v Salisbury FC

Thatcham Town 2 Salisbury FC 3

Emirates FA Cup Preliminary Round

Saturday, 7 September 2019

By Alec Hayter

When the draw was made, it revealed not the easiest of tasks for the Whites - against an unbeaten side already gunning for promotion and containing some experienced players, many of whom well known to Salisbury, and that's exactly how things panned out, so we should not underestimate the importance of going into the next round, and not least the financial rewards for doing so.

There is ample video evidence on the BBC, excellent Thatcham highlights on YouTube, and a comprehensive newspaper blog for those who didn't make it to game to see how things went, and the home side gave a good account of themselves on the day, but were not quite good enough to overturn their visitors.

Judge for yourself the main arguments, but do so in a full knowledge of the latest edicts on law changes and interpretation. You may not like it, and I don't, that the game is now less of a contact sport than before, but the fact remains and the sooner players and spectators realise that the better. The word "touch" springs to mind as these days you cannot expect to get away with touching players in the penalty area and, if you are a goalkeeper, you have become a protected species! That's the way the Laws are, for good or bad.

After George Jeacock saw a 5th minute effort easily gathered by Tom Smith (the keeper's only action for nearly an hour), a quick-fire move between Toby Holmes and Dan Fitchett gave for the latter a chance, denied by a fine save from home keeper Paul Strudley, and in the 7th minute Shaquille Hippolyte-Patrick, who, until having to withdraw with a knock later in the game, had given easily his best performance since joining the club, went past Michael Miller with ease, causing the defender to apply a touch which sent the wide man sprawling. George Colson did the business from the penalty spot to give his side a very welcome early lead.


Another good piece of combination play saw Shaq (HP – what a sauce calling him that!) backheel the ball into the path of Holmes who will have been disappointed to fire over the top from close in, and following a meek effort from Aaron Dawson, Darren Mullings' later half blocked attempt lost its sting.

Four minutes before the break, the Kingfishers had the ball in the net but the flag was raised for offside, and two minutes later salt was rubbed into the Thatcham wounds when the visitors extended their lead. Again it was the rampaging SHP who caused the trouble, getting to the byeline and crossing to the far post where Holmes rose to head against Thatcham defender Jordan Williams, the ball returning to the quick feet of the striker who did the rest. What a brilliant way to go in at the break.

Toby Custom©Michael Berkeley

The home side, who had steadily increased possession throughout the first half and were finishing as strongly as they had started it, were disappointed when a penalty appeal involving Joe Selman was waved away, but the Whites nearly had the last laugh in time added when a corner gave Fitchett a heading chance which was cleared off the line by ex-White (and almost everywhere else!) Adam Kelly. Sorry Adam if you’re reading this!

On 56 minutes Holmes suddenly found himself through but, as had been the case throughout much of the game, he seemed to have left his first touch at home, and the ball rolled to the relieved keeper. In spite of a lack of touch however, the striker still managed to add to his tally and, as many defences are yet to discover, his mere presence on the pitch can create space for others.

There was bound to be another response from Thatcham and it came in the shape of a Jeacock effort in front of goal which forced Smith into his first serious action, but the home side were gifted a lifeline seconds later when the normally reliable Nathaniel Oseni miscued a back pass, presenting it to just the wrong person in Felipe Barcelos who calmly slotted the ball under the keeper, giving his side fresh impetus.

An indication late in the first half that all was not well with the way crosses were being dealt with by the home defence, (something probably spotted by the mid week spies), was confirmed on 73 minutes when a Colson free kick was met well by Darren Mullings, but unfortunately directed at the keeper. It was though only 3 minutes before the tactic paid handsome dividends as another Colson free kick, this time with the vicious curl, saw Kevin Amankwaah make the ball his and his alone as he powered into the box and nearly broke the net for Whites' third.


And that really should have been that, but this is the FA Cup and nothing is ever certain. It took easily the best goal of the game from Thatcham to provide a tense last few minutes. After Barcelos had held the ball well he played it back to Scott Rees for the substitute to hit a superb finish into the top corner from the edge of the box and close up the scoreline.

The Salisbury response was immediate and this time a Josh Sommerton corner saw Oseni exploit the same space in the centre of the home defence, but he couldn't keep his header down. With second half chances missed, you just knew that Thatcham would get a further opportunity, if nothing else other than from their last frantic push, and 3 minutes into time added they thought they had garnered a draw when Williams challenged Smith to a cross but, in the referee's opinion, the challenge was more on the body than the ball. Of all the 661 managers surrounding the pitch referee Baker had the best view, on it, but by that time any goal should only have been a consolation in any event. Another example of what a touch now means in the game.

So it's the Whites who will be listening to the draw on Monday morning and, at this stage of the competition they would hope for an easier game (if there is such a thing) in the next round. This was a tremendous effort from Thatcham.however, and if they continue their progress in their division, I have no doubt that the sides will meet again in the league should Salisbury remain where they are. This was a good advert for the nonleague game and the FA Cup in particular - real football with nation-wide coverage.

Next up, another virtual cup tie with the visit of Metropolitan Police to the Ray Mac on Saturday. No one will need reminding that the last tussle between the clubs saw Met Police come out on top, although the league games home and away had both resulted in draws. Salisbury's travelling faithful attended Thatcham in numbers and were a credit to the club, so as a tough encounter is expected on Saturday, another large crowd will help continue the current successful run of results.


Thatcham Town: Strudley, Miller, Williams, Alexander (Rees 65), Angell, Day, Kelly (Barder 75), Willmoth, Jeacock, Barcelos, Selman.

Subs not used: Morton, Westlake, Frank, Carrington.

Salisbury FC: Smith, Colson, Sommerton, Dawson, Amankwaah, Oseni, Hippolyte-Patrick (Bancroft 60), Mullings, Holmes (Bentley 65), Fitchett, Young.

Subs not used: Betts, Knowles, Wellard, Rayfield.

Attendance: 661                   Referee: Adam Baker

Match Report - Tiverton Town v Salisbury FC


Tiverton Town 3 Salisbury FC 3

BetVictor Southern Premier South

Saturday, 31 August 2019

By Alec Hayter

Four points lost!...... and before anyone thinks I've gone completely mad, I am of course referring to the consequences of a second successive away game when, on each occasion points, have been surrendered because of an inability to hold onto a lead. Those points would have catapulted us into top spot. Having said that, this high-scoring draw against high-flying Tivvy was worth much more as a confidence booster than a point at Swindon Supermarine, because today's opponents were technically superior to our Wiltshire rivals. For much of this game we were the better side, as Manager Martyn Rogers confirmed after the final whistle, and he appeared quite relieved to get a point. He was also surprised not to be facing from the start a Salisbury team without Toby Holmes and Warren Bentley, although Toby appeared just before the half-time interval.

The intention to limit the opponents’ opportunities and prevent going a goal behind went wrong after only 9 minutes as a result of a George Colson’s misjudgement of the spinning bounce of the ball, which went over his head and let in Jordan Bastin. He who calmly rounded exposed keeper Tom Smith (and that takes some doing!) to give his side the lead.

Although the Whites were having as much, and sometimes more of the play as Tiverton there were some sloppy moments and perhaps none more so when, on 15 minutes, after Josh Sommerton had got to the byeline and driven low cross into the box, debutant Luke Holmes appeared to miscue in front of goal, although the pace of the ball made it a very sharp chance.

On 24 minutes Tiverton's Jordan Dyer bundled the ball into the back of the Salisbury net but in order to do so had to commit a foul spotted by referee Timothy Burley, and 12 minutes later in another breakaway Nathanial Oseni had to be at his best to deny Jarrod Lewington with a last-ditch tackle.

On 42 minutes Lewington brought a good save from Smith, who was forced to touch the ball over from an accurate cross shot, but there was still time before the break for the Whites to get back on level terms. Good work from Aaron Dawson gave Dan Fitchett the ball on the edge of the box and one swing of the left foot later the ball was in the net to give his side a half-time boost and change the half-tome talk.

Salisbury started the second half the brighter, and Luke Holmes, who had already shown some good movement and touches, sent in a curling cross to Fitchett whose header was scrambled around the post by the keeper, but 12 minutes later an Ollie Knowles free kick reaped a better reward when Darren Mullings rose majestically to power in a header and give Salisbury the advantage.

It was only another 9 minutes before a two-goal lead was established. Toby Holmes turned provider, putting in Josh Sommerton who finished coolly with a deft chip over the advancing keeper. This was Josh's first senior goal of the season and we hope there will be many more - he seems to have picked up a tip or two on finishing from the prolific Toby’s recent hatrick, and his goal completed a good performance after he had subdued ex-Salisbury Chris Shephard well enough that Shep left the action shortly after the interval.

A two-goal lead with unjder twenty minutes left should have enabled Salisbury to see out the game, and just before they scored the third goal Tiverton might well have gone down to 10 men after a Tiverton player escaped punishment following a rash tackle. A yellow card would I think have been the Tivvy player’s second of the game and perhaps this was the only doubt in an otherwise accomplished performance by referee Burley, in what was a full blooded contest.

Rather like the Whites, his performance temporarily dipped, and three points for Salisbury

Slipped from their grasp, as on 78 minutes, and of course still with 11 men on the pitch, Tiverton started their final push and profited when a loose ball in the box allowed Bastin to get his second to make it 2-3. The vistors were pinned back, and it seemed inevitable that there would be an equaliser. On 85 minutes it arrived when River Allen's corner to the far post found Michael Landricombe, who powered in a header. The name Landricombe is not a popular one with Salisbury as of course last season another Landricombe grabbed a couple of goals in the second half to send the Whites home pointless. After that equaliser half chances from Tiverton's Olaf Koszela and Salisbury's Danny Young concluded the action.

For the second time on our travels I would have settled for a point before the game started, but this point, is more meaningful than that obtained at Supermarine. More travelling next Saturday sees us start our involvement in the FA Cup at Thatcham Town, for which the kick-off has been changed to 12:30 PM to accommodate the BBC’s live screaming on the BBC Sport app.

A brief look at the Thatcham squad reveals several familiar faces to anyone who has, like me, travelled to most if not all of Salisbury games in the past few seasons, and there is no doubt that Thatcham will provide stiff opposition to our progress to the next round. Today the Whites enjoyed a loud and substantial following for the long trip to Tiverton and next Saturday it is even more important that fans turn up and make it seem like a home game. Thatcham is nowhere near as far as Tiverton, so please do your best to get there.


Tiverton Town: Williams, Dyer, Smerdon, Nancekivell, Landricombe, Bentley (Elliott 81), Colewell, Allen, Lewington, Bastin , Shephard (Koszela 47).

Subs not used: S Rogers, Furness, G Rogers.

Salisbury FC: Smith, Colson (Rayfield 54), Sommerton, Mullings, Oseni, Amankwaah, Dawson, Knowles, Fitchett, Hippolyte-Patrick (T Holmes 42), L Holmes (Young 80).

Subs not used: Wellard, Bentley.

Att: 327                      Referee: T Burley

Match Report - Salisbury FC v Yate Town



Salisbury FC 3 Yate Town 2

BetVictor Southern Premier League South

Monday, 26 August 2019

By Alec Hayter

A four point haul from the Bank Holiday games and 10 points from the first 15 available is a very good return from this season’s start, and compares favourably with the 6 from 15 in the last campaign. It is even more creditable, though, because the squad is still very much in "getting to know you" mode, in contrast to today's opponents Yate Town, who, as confirmed by their officials, managed to retain the bulk of last season's promotion winning side, and therefore also maintained greater continuity.

There is great potential in the Whites’ current squad and of course from time to time there may be further changes to improve it, so that in games like today's they can not only capitalise on good positions but also manage games having gone ahead.

Today's result was not all about, (just mostly about!), Toby “HT” Holmes, who, I'm convinced, only failed to get his first treble against Dorchester before he was substituted because of a slight knock, but today he got back onto his hat trick track - try and say that after a couple glasses of red!. His personal triumph today bodes well.

In the first 7 minutes he had two presentable opportunities when firstly in a one-on-one he easily took the ball round the keeper but found the angle too tight and could only put it in the side netting. A matter of seconds later he somehow managed to hold off a desperate physical challenge, but still managed to apply a touch which saw the ball clip the post. Maybe he should have gone down, but I suspect his mindset is to put the ball in the net first and argue afterwards.

Salisbury's good start continued when on 9 minutes Shaquille Hippolyte-Patrick fed Warren Bentley, whose shot on the turn flew wide of the far post, and it was not until 4 minutes later that Yate showed anything in attack, with Jake Lee's high right foot effort from the edge of the box leaving home keeper Tom Smith unruffled.

Fiirst goalFirst of a treble - no trouble! - ©Michael Berkeley

Holmes' first goal came on 21 minutes. Aaron Dawson threaded the ball through to him and the marksman calmly took it round the keeper with some quick foot trickery before planting it in the net. So the lead arrived, but after a period (possibly of reflection or more likely recuperation from the extreme heat!) by the Whites, Yate then manufactured their first real opportunity, a cross shot from ex-White loanee Ollie Mehew going just wide of the target on 33 minutes. This was the start of a short period when Yate looked dangerous and it was really no surprise when they equalised 6 minutes later with Jake Lee's driven cross from the right being met at the near post by Michael Bryant who really couldn't miss.

Before the break Yate keeper Adam Forster made a good stop from Hippolyte-Patrick but could do absolutely nothing to prevent Holmes getting his and the Whites' second on 43 minutes. It was a fair imitation of Bryant’s strike when George Colson whipped in a tremendous cross from the right and timely Toby's arrival saw him belt in a volley before the keeper, or anybody else for that matter, could move.

Second goalMy season's taking off - just like my celebration! - ©Michael Berkeley

Being one goal ahead at the interval was welcome, but straight after the break Salisbury could have doubled their lead when a Bentley flick found Dawson whose hasty volley went over the top, but it was not long before the third goal arrived. The ball was fed out to the right where Holmes was lurking and he made the job of beating two defenders look ridiculously easy before then beating the keeper. A 3-1 lead looked comfortable, and really should have been, but Yate had other ideas and the lively Mehew found himself in the clear, one-on-one with Smith, who did his usual, winning the encounter. However, in the ensuing melee as the ball ran loose, the visitors appealed en masse for handball, but these appeals were waved away by referee Alex James.

Third goalThis one gets me the match ball. (thought you said you didn't have a left foot Toby?) - ©Michael Berkeley

On 57 minutes Yate got their reward however when a cross from their left found Lee in space in front of goal. A header at point-blank range was just too hot for Smith to handle and the rebound fell to the Yate man who took advantage to make it 3-2, a much less comfortable state.

For the remainder of the match goalmouth action was scarce but tensions heightened (well, my nails suffered!) because of the slender lead, which meant that anything could happen. Nothing happened for Yate but on 65 minutes Colson was very unlucky to see a lob go across the face of goal, and just over the bar, and 5 minutes later Lewis Benson blazed a difficult chance over the top from the edge of the box. It was one of those chances which are great if they go in but when it's understandable if they don't.

The final real action came with 15 minutes remaining when Hippolyte-Patrick's low piercing cross flew across the box but just beyond the reach of Holmes who, in any event, was hampered by a last-ditch tackle. You wanted a fourth goal Toby, but had to settle for three, and that's all right for me! Maybe next game you’ll at least do the same?! Not only was the hat-trick pure poetry.

That next game is of course at Tiverton, and Ladysmead has not in the recent past been a happy hunting ground. Today, Tivvy, unbeaten beforehand, felt the force of Taunton's refreshed start to the season, losing 3-1, so there is likely to be a backlash, but at least there will be I understand only one Landricombe in their side, and not the one that did such a good job on us on our last visit. Their flock does, however, have a Shephard in their midst, and he is unlikely to be sheepish on this occasion!

If we can enjoy the same excellent noisy support seen and heard in today's game against Yate, that will give the team the benefit of a twelfth man, so please try and make the journey.


Salisbury: Smith, Colson, Sommerton, Dawson, Amankwaah, Oseni, Benson, Knowles, Holmes (Fitchett 76), Bentley (Mullings 72), Hippolyte-Patrick (Young 87).

Subs not used: Wellard, Bancroft.

Yate Town: Forster, Keightley, Humphreys, Peare, Ford (Twyman 68), Boulton, Kamara, Guest (Price 88), Mehew, Bryant (Ollis 62), Lee.

Sub not used: Langworthy.

Attendance: 632                   Referee: A James.