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Salisbury 8 Cirencester T 2

Salisbury FC 8 Cirencester Town 0

Evo-stik Southern South, West

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

 By Alec Hayter

 My report on the Poole game mentioned my own personal fixture list and after this latest league outing I have had to use two lines once more to accommodate the goalscorers for a game for the second time in just over a week. With the team in this mood I might be doing it again after we play Yate Town on Saturday, but of course that will be a different kettle of fish as we are away from home, but, hey ho, you never know – and you won't, at first hand, unless you travel to the game!

 The sirens started sounding the alarm early on for Ciren, and it took only two minutes before the Whites went into the lead with the first of their eight goals. Somebody commented that all the goals were tap ins. Well, that was because all the goals were the result of some extremely flowing passing moves which completely bamboozled the visitors, and 25 yard bullet shots were not needed. The first goal started with Jake Wannell pinging a clearance to Chris Shephard who, in the blink of an eye, made himself space before squaring the ball to Kane O'Keefe whose calm finish epitomised the whole move, and, in fact, most of the Whites' subsequent scoring moves.

 Five minutes later it was O'Keefe's turning provider, pulling the ball back for Marvin Brooks to fire wide from the edge of the box, and then we had to wait until the 22nd minute before Salisbury doubled their lead. O'Keefe once more started the move, feeding Lewis Benson to cross from the right. Brooks was on the end of the ball and nodded it back square for Shephard to convert easily. Simples!!

 On the half-hour it could have been three when more Shephard magic got the ball across goal where O'Keefe missed the target with a difficult sharp diving header, but the third goal came four minutes later, and this time Sam Roberts was part of the action when he received Shephard's ball before squaring it to Brooks who made no mistake. Carbon copy almost!

 The scintillating attacking style was bound to have some shortcomings however and a minute into time added at the end of the first half you could almost forgive Salisbury for conceding a poor goal when Felipe Barcelos had time and space to make it 3-1 with a header. No panic as we were always going to outscore them.

 The second period started as the first had ended as far as the Whites were concerned as, on 48 minutes, Roberts let fly from the edge of the box but keeper Mateusz Wierczorek could only parry the ball into the path of Brooks who couldn't miss.

 Once more the visitors replied when a long raking cross on 61 minutes from Matt Jones saw Ben Whitehead head home at the far post, but, as before, the response was rapid as only two minutes later the three-goal lead was restored. This time it was a long raking free kick from Benson which allowed Rhys Baggridge the chance to bury a header past the stranded keeper.

 Cirencester were falling apart and after Brooks had robbed a careless defender but floated his finish over the bar, it became six on 76 minutes when another trio of Salisbury players combined, Benson's cross being squared back by O'Keefe for Stuart Green who, with immaculate control when the ball seemed tucked under his feet, swept the ball in.

 Two minutes later Benson and Green combined for O'Keefe to make it 7-2 and after Charlie Searle had an easy save to make from Cirencester's Henry Spalding, Tom Whelan completed the scoring, jinking inside onto his left foot to dispatch the ball low into the corner.

 For the second time in ten days I have written about games in which the Whites have netted no less than eight times in each, but this eight goal victory was more meaningful das the visitors had conceded only 3 times away from home previously , and 7 times in total.

 On two occasions during the game the Whites quickly responded to conceding goals and, when in possession, and with the attacking intent they displayed, they looked formidable going forward. The final scoreline is no exaggeration as to their total control of the game.

 One thing which disappointed not only me but also Manager Steve Claridge was the size of the crowd – 500 less turned out for this game than for Poole Town, and although it is perhaps understandable that some might have been affected by that result, surely that is no good reason why only half the previous attendance should turn up. Marriage vows state "in sickness and in health". Well, we had the sickness on Saturday but we certainly had the health against Cirencester and I'm sure there will be many who will regret not having come to the game when it was odds-on that the team would react to the setback three days previously 

Fans can put that right on Saturday at Yate but perhaps more importantly the following Tuesday when highflying Swindon Supermarine visit the Ray Mac. As this is being written Supermarine are one of only three unbeaten teams in the League so in my humble opinion it's high time they lost their record! It'll be a great game, so come along and help the Whites achieve that.

 Oh, and before I forget, it's congratulations to Eddie Perrett who made his 100th appearance for the Club. Pity you couldn't crown the occasion with a goal Eddie, as many of the others did, although of course you did not have as much time to do that as they did!

Teams

Salisbury: Searle, Wheeler, Wannell, Whelan, Baggridge, O'Keefe, Benson, Roberts, Shephard (Green 66), Brooks (Herbert 73), Young (Perrett

Subs not used: Hart, Colson.

Cirencester Town: Wierczorek, Christopher, Jones (Watts 26), Coupe, Stoddart (Loader 55), Pook, Spalding, Connolly, Griffin (Barcelos 42), Whitehead, Bennett.

subs not used: Mortimer-Jones, Rose.

 Attendance: 455                               Referee: M Rushton (Pewsey)

Salisbury FC 0 Poole Town 2

Salisbury FC 0 Poole Town 2

Emirates FA Cup 2nd Qualifying Round

Saturday, 16 September 2017

 By Alec Hayter

 Elation or deflation is the nature of the beast in cup ties and is not difficult to imagine which adjective applies for the majority of the 995 strong crowd. In these one-off games the result is everything and the visitors got what they came for after a match low on entertainment, quality, and exciting content.

 The Dolphins came on the back of what is for them a disastrous run of results, and there was not a lot to choose between the sides, although two leagues apart in stature. That says a lot, especially bearing in mind that on the day, this was a Salisbury side that did absolutely no justice to themselves. The officials may have played some part but in essence the Whites had only themselves to blame for not grasping what appeared to be a great opportunity to progress. A better performance would have ensured that they and not Poole were in Monday's draw.

It was a surprisingly comfortable ride for his team but Poole Manager Tom Killick will not have been fooled into thinking that his side's problems are over. He tasked his side to "do a job", in more ways than one, and this disrupted the flow of the game. The tactics worked and were last demonstrated by Tiverton Town in last season’s playoff final.

 The early signs were good however, especially when Elliot Wheeler nearly caught Poole keeper Nick Hutchings by surprise with a low 25 yard effort, but then the game drifted into a dull stalemate after the only other first half action on eight minutes when Charlie Searle had to come way off his line to deny the onrushing Tony Lee.

 In the first decent move of the whole game, almost an hour in coming, Marvin Brooks and Stuart Green exchanged passes before Brooks sent his effort over the top from 20 yards when he might have done better.

 On 62 minutes the Whites fell behind in the most disappointing manner from a set piece, when Jack Dixon delivered a corner into the danger area for Dolphins' captain Jamie Whisken to power a header past Searle from close range, with neither the keeper nor his central defenders getting near the cross or their opposite numbers.

 Having conceded, things could easily have got worse for the Whites fifteen minutes later when no card of any colour was shown after Warren Bentley was bundled to the ground by Jake Wannell. Bentley would have had a clear run on goal and might well have doubled his side's lead. This was the first of two major decisions for which I felt the officials were lacking.

 At long last it seemed to dawn on Salisbury that they had to up their game to get anything. Firstly Flavio Tavares, who did not have his usual effect on the game, sent in a teasing cross on 79 minutes which Hutchings palmed away in the absence of a Salisbury front man, before subs Kane O'Keefe and Chris Shephard nearly changed things, Shephard in particular during his short period of action making an immediate impact when, with almost his first touch, he gave Brooks a golden opportunity. Who knows what might have been had Brooks done as expected. Salisbury's best chance of the game from open play disappeared as his right foot finish cannoned back off the post.

 Another prolific goalscorer well known to Salisbury City fans, Richard Gillespie, came off the Poole bench, and with five minutes of normal time remaining he quickly tested Searle, who came out on top, blocking his finish from close in.

 Referee Brennan signalled six minutes of time added (barely sufficient to compensate for time wasting and injuries) and the Whites were given brief hope when Shephard wriggled his way into the area before being hacked down just as he was about to pull the trigger. In my opinion the referee made his second major decision error by waving away appeals for a penalty which appeared to be nailed on (and more so after looking at the video of the incident after the match). It would be interesting to know why the Whites' midfielder would go down when all he had to do was to toe poke the ball past the keeper! However, it may be that Mr Brennan did not see the incident properly, not having been ideally placed to do so. His assistant had that advantage though.

 On such things matches can be decided but on this occasion what decided the final scoreline was more sloppy defending which allowed Jez Bedford a clear path across the penalty area in space normally occupied by Rhys Baggridge and Sam Roberts. In fact he was almost given sufficient time to spot the ball and take aim, but took his gifted chance well with a right foot shot into the top corner.

 The final outcome was really determined overall by a strange general lack of energy and appetite, a disappointing showing in the normally more effective midfield area, and a reluctance to change things when this became apparent. The goals conceded require no further comment on defensive failings.

 I keep my own fixtures and results list and once again, in my estimation, I am deleting reference to future FA Cup dates at too early a stage, for the second year in succession. A more normal performance might well have seen retention of those references but we must now turn to the possibility of six league points in the next seven days and, having gone out of the FA Cup, we should move on and concentrate efforts in that direction.

 A cup or league reverse is not the end of the world in itself, and although the manner of defeat today is worrying it might well prove beneficial in highlighting that nothing is for nothing in football, and that each point and result has to be earned. I suspect that many Whites' players will be disappointed with their contributions and have some regrets, but I'm sure they will want to put things right quickly. Tuesday evening would be a good time to get this performance out of the system when Cirencester Town are the visitors. Relegated from the Southern Premier Division and with a familiar personality as their Manager, they will provide a stiff test, so get along to the Ray Mac and help the team to restore "normal service".

Teams

Salisbury FC: Searle, Colson, Wheeler (Shephard 82), Whelan, Baggridge, Wannell, Benson (Herbert 87), Roberts, Green (O'Keefe 67), Brooks, Tavares.

Subs not used: Perrett, Hart, Young, Ball.

Poole Town: Hutchings, Lindsay, Moore, Spetch (Bedford 21), Whisken, Pettefer, Dixon, Smeeton, Lee (Gillespie 83), Bentley, Harfield.

Subs not used: Baggie, Balmer, Neale, Cook, Rees.

 Attendance: 995                               Referee: L Brennan (London).

MATCH REPORT: Shortwood United 0 Salisbury 8

Shortwood United 0 Salisbury FC 8
Evo-stik South, West Division
Saturday, 9 September 2017

By Alec Hayter

What a weekend! I won Euromillions on Friday (a massive £2.50), and £10 in a pre-match draw at Shortwood United, all of which made me feel good enough to load my clipboard with double the amount of sheets to record the details of the match. I wish I could predict lottery results with the same degree of confidence as I had predicted the need for additional paper, for the Whites went on to record their highest ever Southern League win and, to boot, away from home. Other notable recent milestones reached included Claudio Herbert becoming the third Salisbury FC player to reach 100 appearances (at Farnborough), to follow Tom Whelan and George Colson within our new Club, a first hat-trick for Marvin Brooks, a leap into fourth place in the league only three points behind joint leaders Bristol Manor Farm and Taunton, and incredibly, at this stage of the season, with a goal difference double that of each of them. Of course it is early days, and without wishing to dampen the euphoria at a great win away from home, it must be said that the hosts were neither the most experienced nor capable of sides, although to their credit, in spite of constant barrage they didn't give up, and tried to play some good football. Referee Gelov did not once have to reach for a card.

However the Whites were much too strong for their hosts and started like the proverbial train with Flavio Tavares in particular threatening danger every time he got the ball, the first time being within 30 seconds of the start. He sent in a cross from the left after leaving his defender in his wake for Brooks to head on to the underside of the bar – and out. (where were you this week, Rhys Baggridge?)

A poor clearance from home keeper Lloyd Price shortly afterwards fell to Lewis Benson some 35 yards from goal but a miscued attempt went wide, with the same player making amends on five minutes when he got on the end of another fine Tavares cross to bundle the ball in at the far post. A minute later Tavares again fed an inviting ball square to Benson whose drive was blocked, but on 10 minutes Salisbury doubled their advantage when, (guess who?), Tavares, of course, laid the ball back to Sam Roberts. There appeared little danger until the ball left Roberts' right boot and nestled in the net from fully 30 yards.

Shortwood produced a chance on 15 minutes but Jordan Morris, one of their best players throughout, thrashed the ball well over the top.

The lightning flashed and the thunder roared as the Whites continued to pummel their opponents. Benson had a left foot effort saved, before, on 21 minutes, Tavares, working his magic once more, sent a low ball across the box which beat the keeper, the defence, and also unfortunately the efforts of his colleagues to be in the right place and finish the job.

On 36 minutes it was "game over" – if it hadn't been so before – when Shortwood's Sam Ockwell lost the ball which went loose, and in a race between Brooks and keeper Price the ex-Poole man was first and looped the ball in for Salisbury's third.

It took only a further five minutes to increase the lead and Stuart Green, who had replaced
Tavares, made his first telling contribution in sending over the superb curling cross from
the right to the far post where Brooks headed firmly past Price. That one ranks aa"picture"
goal, but there was hardly time to celebrate before Shortwood had perhaps their
best chance of the match, with Joe Noakes' cross finding Adam Price whose overhead
volley was pushed round the post by Charlie Searle. They actually had the ball in
the net just before the whistle but the effort was correctly ruled out for offside.

So the Whites were looking comfortable at the break, and became even more so eleven minutes into the second half when Tom Whelan opened up the home rearguard and aimed a low right foot shot past the keeper for the fifth goal.

It was a question of "how many", and it should have been one more on 63 minutes when Roberts put Green in, but with only the keeper to beat he dragged the ball wide of the far post. Shortwood flickered briefly once more but Lewis Fogg missed (!) his opportunity with a weak attempt from the edge of the area.

Brooks was then put in by another searching Roberts ball but indecision saw him send in a delivery which was neither an attempt on goal nor a cross to Kane O'Keefe. The home side then had a half chance when a ball was played inside Colson to Ben Prictor whose 25 yard drive went wide, but that was the finish of any "end-to-end" play as the Whites added a further two goals in three minutes, Brooks atoning for his earlier wasted opportunity with a superb overhead bicycle kick from O'Keefe's cross to make it 6–0 and give him a deserved hat-trick. With eight minutes left Whelan played a short corner to Benson whose delivery was met with a firm O'Keefe header for Salisbury’s seventh.

In a final flourish Prictor again had an effort on goal which Searle saved at the near post, before Salisbury finished the game with a flourish of their own, O'Keefe nearly getting a second with a header that shaved the post before, in time added, the eighth arrived after Benson's low cross was converted by Green (although it was called as an own goal from Ockwell). I must say that I felt it was Green's goal, and the more ideally placed Dave Todd confirmed that. I'm sure Ockwell would prefer that we were right!

What better way to warm up for next Saturday's FA Cup tie against Poole Town at the Ray Mac? In contrast, our visitors will no doubt be smarting from back to back defeats - against Hemel Hempstead at home on Tuesday (2–4), and away to Welling United (2-0), so they will want to get back to winning ways. Help your team prevent that by coming along to the game and creating a large, noisy crowd to help the lads through to the next round. Don’t be fooled into thinking it’s going to be easy!



Teams

Shortwood United: L Price, Noakes (Hawes 59), Pricktor, Ockwell, Thwaite, Kibble (Freeman 63), Meredith, Morris, A Price, Marks (Fogg 65), Cox.

Salisbury FC: Searle, Colson, Wheeler (O'Keefe 69), Whelan, Baggridge, Wannell, Herbert (Perrett 57), Roberts, Benson, Brooks, Tavares (Green 37).
Subs not used: Hart, Young.

Attendance: 164​

Referee: I Gelov.

MATCH REPORT: Farnborough 2 Salisbury 3

Farnborough FC 2 Salisbury FC 3
FA Cup 1st Qualifying Round
Saturday, 2 September 2017

By Alec Hayter

It looked a close game if you judge these things by the final score, but in actual fact, in all but periods totalling about 20 minutes the Whites were masterful and in total control of this cup tie, fully deserving their success and a place in Monday' s draw. After the game, Boro's Manager Spencer Day was fulsome in his praise, saying that although in recent games his side had been unlucky to come out on the wrong end of things, on this occasion his side were "well beaten", which is a tremendous tribute considering that Farnborough play in the Southern Premier League. Although they have had their problems with injuries and suspensions, I don't need to reiterate that that's been the case with ourselves, but all those who played a part in today's victory did their jobs, without exception, with a freedom seldom seen in league games when of course they labour under the expectation resulting from their installation as one of the favourites for promotion even at this early stage of the season.

Any neutral in attendance at Farnborough would have been forgiven for thinking that Salisbury were playing at home, such was the superb vocal support given to their side by those who made the trip. Those who didn't make the trip, needless to say, missed a treat.

The Whites took control of things straight from the whistle, playing some good football on a decent surface, and after Lewis Benson sent over a 10th minute corner they had their first effort with Marvin Brooks, back to goal, looping a header wide of the target. A couple of minutes later the home side had a chance following the loss of the ball in midfield and Chris Regis was able to cut inside but screwed his right foot effort wide when maybe he should have done better. That brought an immediate response from Salisbury when Benson got the ball wide on the left and cut in before sending a right foot effort across keeper Liam Stone and in off the far post for a valuable 12th minute lead.

Shortly afterwards Tom Whelan saw a left foot shot from the edge of the box deflected wide, and apart from a cross from Nic Ciardini which landed harmlessly on top of the net, nothing was seen of the Farnborough attack until the 30th minute when Perry Coles' corner was headed wide at the far post by Taofiq Olomowewe. Another slight jolt to the Whites' progress had the same effect as before as on 35 minutes, whilst Farnborough's Jack Saville was off the pitch for treatment for a head injury, Claudio Herbert chased the ball down to the byeline, having robbed keeper Stone, and cut in before seeing a left foot shot deflected into the danger area where, unfortunately, there was no one on hand to put the ball in the net.

Seven minutes before the break Salisbury were looking comfortable and a short Benson corner gave Whelan a chance to try his luck from 25 yards, but the ball sailed well over, before, on 43 minutes, another Benson cross to the far post found Rhys Baggridge who, possibly on his way down from a leap above a defender, could not control his header, which sent the ball wide.

The general consensus was that Salisbury looked comfortable but of course that is always a dangerous thought and shortly before the referee blew for half time Boro equalised when referee Dan Flynn, who had a good game, showed sound judgement in allowing advantage after Baggridge had been involved with a Farnborough forward. His correct decision allowed the ball to break to the impressive Dan Walker who rifled a low shot past Searle from 18 yards to give the home side a better feeling at the break, although the equaliser was against the run of play. As there had been a considerable delay for the head injury to Saville, the referee played six minutes of additional time and although for that short period Farnborough looked the stronger, the Whites still got forward with Brooks taking a tumble in the box, but the referee waved away appeals for a penalty, maintaining parity at the break.

How that came to be was a mystery, but with that boost the home side made a good start to the second half, Coles sending a shot wide from the edge of the box - and talking about boosts, the home side had the very best of those again when, on 48 minutes an awful mixup between George Colson and Charlie Searle saw the ball meander slowly towards the goalline with Coles almost embarrassed to touch it home and give his side a fortuitous lead!

There have been times when that blow would have settled things, but this Salisbury side, and I repeat this free-flowing Salisbury side, were in no mood to capitulate, and set about their task once more. The second goal, which was like an early Christmas present, was the last threat of any kind on the visitors' defence, with the Whites going on to increase their efforts for an equaliser.

On 49 minutes Benson, finding himself on the edge of the area, squared the ball for Whelan to rifle in a right foot shot which brought a superb save from Stone, before, a few seconds later, Whelan's corner saw Colson head over the top. A further few seconds elapsed before Brooks gave Herbert a golden opportunity but instead of even toe poking an effort at goal, Herbert tried to walk the ball in only to meet a brick wall of Farnborough defenders.

Danny Young, who had put in a good shift in all areas on his side of the park, left the action on 57 minutes because of a tight hamstring, and he was replaced by Flavio Tavares who had been hunted by the home side but was now to appear for their opponents, and rub it in by turning the screw. His first action, after a fairly quiet start, was to jink inside on 69 minutes, making himself space before disappointing with a finish which was easy for the keeper, but that was only a sighter (for which he's forgiven!).

With 18 minutes left Salisbury got the equaliser they richly deserved and it came when Benson's freekick found Brooks whose strong header clattered the underside of the bar but fell to Baggridge who made no mistake. To say that at that point there was only going to be one winner would be unjust because in truth that had been the case almost from the kick-off, once the Whites got into their stride. The bit was between the teeth after the equaliser however and once more Benson got round the back of the home defence to the byeline before dinking a lovely cross into the box where Herbert, possibly off balance, could only head over the top, and it was another Benson cross shortly afterwards that saw Brooks connect well on the volley, but unfortunately straight at keeper Stone.

It seemed inevitable that the Whites would at least earn a replay but Tavares had other ideas when on 80 minutes he surged forward and cut in from the left, but this time sent a 22 yard curler past a static keeper for what turned out to be a fitting winner. Again, in a lengthy period of time added it was predictably Salisbury who nearly added to their total when Whelan weaved his way right through the home defence before just failing to finish the job with what would have been a superb solo goal.

After today's performance I am sure that there will be more supporters than usual looking at their computers on Monday lunchtime to see who their side will face in the next round, but whoever that turns out to be will face a tough game if Salisbury can replicate today's performance level.

Without the necessity of a replay there is a great chance for those remaining on the injury list to make further progress and compete for places when the league action at Shortwood United resumes next Saturday and when they can hopefully add three points to their season's total.
It goes without saying that a large travelling support, combined with the same volume which easily drowned out any Farnborough efforts today, will give them every chance of doing that.

Teams
Farmborough FC: Stone, Hammond, Hutchings, Evans (Calcutt 27), Saville (Bunyan 45), Olomowewe, Walker, Regis (Barton 27), Cureton, Coles, Ciardini.
Subs not used: Forbes, Allen, Roberts, Cairnie.

Salisbury FC: Searle, Colson, Wheeler, Whelan, Baggridge, Wannell, Benson, Roberts, Herbert (Perrett 90), Brooks, Young (Tavares 57).
Subs not used: Hart, Matthews.

Attendance: 396 ​Referee: D Flynn (Bristol).