Featured Sponsor


Match Report - Carshalton Athletic v Salisbury FC

Standard away 01
Carshalton Athletic 4 Salisbury FC 1

Buildbase FA Trophy Second Round Proper.

Saturday, 12 January 2019

By Alec Hayter

The Whites went out of the competition following a below par performance (for much of the match) at Carshalton. Their downfall was largely self-imposed as after having taken an early lead they then conceded two poor goals after having been hauled back by a 21st minute equaliser. Carshalton had a fairly unattractive (football-wise) game plan which worked and in Cup games that can be an effective way to succeed. I would not want to watch that very often, and it reminded me in some respects of the one and only time that the old club was involved in Ishthmian League football. On the day though, the Robin’s plan, helped by some Whites’ misfortune, meant that they go into the hat.

The opening goal on four minutes arrived when the home defence gifted the ball to Lewis Benson. The ball somehow landed at the feet of Aaron Dawson, and Dawson took his chance well, sending a right foot shot low into the corner. All seemed well as Salisbury rebuffed any home efforts before, on 20 minutes, the Robins equalised. A great ball gave Tommy Bradford his chance to hit a low shot through a forest of legs past the unsighted James Hillson. That seemed to be just one of those things and had looked fairly unlikely until then. Nine minutes later, Bobby Price cut in from the right and tamely shot wide of the target to confirm that at that stage there was potential to retrieve the situation.

Just after the half-hour Matt Partridge lobbed the ball across the face of goal but Chris Shephard and keeper Patrick Ohman met it at virtually the same time, the ball deflecting for a corner from which nothing was gained. Three minutes later however the home side's Jordan Cheadle was unlucky to see a 30 yard free kick from wide on their right hand side clip the bar, before, on 37 minutes the Robins were gifted the lead. This came as a result of a central defensive mix-up which left Michael Dixon in the clear. Despite Elliott Wheeler's best attempts the ball went into the net, and in time added on at the end of the first half, the Robins were again presented with a telling goal, at a telling time. Disappointingly  the defence, and a Carshalton forward missed the ball from a corner and it found the net via a Wheeler deflection. This goal occurred after Partridge had left the action with a hamstring injury and after the break, Wheeler, who had shortly before the interval aggravated a knee injury, could not continue. Thus was destroyed the heart of the Salisbury defence which had looked relatively comfortable during the first half and which had performed very well in recent games.

Carshalton made the most of the necessity of their opponents' having to go three at the back, and produced a succession of chances as the Whites seemed to wilt, not producing a single threat of their own on goal. One of the few good moves of the whole game came from the hosts on 49 minutes when Bradford and Christie Pattison combined, Pattison pulling the ball back to Jacob Mendy who fired wide from 15 yards. Hamilton-Downes then hit a 25 yard effort straight at Hillson and on 56 minutes Cheadle's cross found Dixon who headed over the top from 8 yards. On the hour Cheadle caused more mayhem with a free kick, the ball being parried out to Hamilton-Downes whose deflected effort went wide, but seconds later an unsavoury incident occurred in the Salisbury box when Hillson appeared to be caught by a home player when on the deck. Many thought this warranted a red card but the referee decided that yellow was sufficient, and in the process also cautioned Dan Fitchett, presumably for his verbal protest. As the issue of a yellow card to the Robins’ player acknowledged some form of contact maybe the Carshalton player was lucky. Another blatant foul, in the ensuing melee, on Tom Whelan, was completely ignored by all of the officials (surprising as they appeared to be equipped with audio comms), and there could easily have been not one, but two red cards shown. Of course, the video will (should) confirm, one way or another and I stand to be corrected for any misinterpretation!

On 66 minutes Hillson made a good save from Mendy, but the match was finally put to bed when Jack Sparkes was left exposed and brought down Dixon in the box. There were few appeals against the penalty decision and Hamilton-Downes powered in the kick to make it 4-1 in the 76th minute.

Salisbury realised that it was now or never, and for the last quarter of an hour their performance regained earlier levels, with Whelan hitting a right foot shot over the top from 15 yards, Benson cutting in and testing Ohman from 18 yards, and Luke Hopper progressing along the goal-line before seeing his attempt blocked out. In time added on, Sparkes was extremely unlucky with a firm left foot half volley which was cleared off the line, but all of this was too little too late.

Unfortunately, some of our usually most effective players were just not that on this occasion, and, mixed with the unfortunate loss of influential defenders, this meant that the Whites lost out in what was a physical battle. It soon became obvious that it was just not going to be their day, although even at 2-1 there seemed little to worry about. All that changed though after the injuries and a third goal.

We must now move on and try to regain the much higher standards normally seen. One good memory for me though was the mature performance of young Charlie Rayfield, his second in seven days. He seems to love playing on plastic!

That's the first mention of the plastic surface, although this certainly had an effect on the outcome. There seemed to be a world of difference between Carshalton's 4G surface and Merthyr Town's 3G, but that is not offered as an excuse. However, the fact is that it was impossible to anticipate the reaction of ball on plastic at times and of course that gives those who play on it regularly a distinct advantage, just as it had at Walton earlier in the season.

In case you've forgotten, there is more cup football on Tuesday evening when the Whites entertain Blackfield and Langley in the CSS Southern League Trophy. The visitors are going great guns in their first season in the South and West Division and this will be a difficult game, especially in view of the unavailability of more players through injuries sustained today. The team will therefore need all of your support in order to make progress, and hopefully those of you who travelled to Carshalton and those who didn't will get behind them with noisy support.


Carshalton Athletic: Ohman, Price (Swaby 90+2), Hamilton-Downes, Dudley, Cheadle, Sogbanu, Bradford, Dixon (Dos Santos 79), Mendy, Pattison (Adeniyi 72).

Subs not used: Bishop, Aziaya.

Salisbury FC: Hillson, Rayfield, Sparkes, Whelan, Partridge (Sommerton 40), Wheeler (Hopper 45), Benson, Dawson, Fitchett, Shephard (Young 57), Haysham.

Attendance: 514    Referee (at present not known in the absence of a programme)


Banner Size

Match Report - Salisbury FC v Braintree Town

BraintreeCopyright Michael Berkeley

Salisbury FC 2 Braintree Town 1
Buildbase FA Trophy 1st Round Proper
Tuesday, 8 January 2019

By Alec Hayter

The Whites made light of a brittle Iron challenge to go through to the next round and face Carshalton Athletic in Surrey this coming Saturday. For the neutral, it would have been difficult to tell which of the two sides plied their trade in the Vanarama National League, although the Whites looked the more likely to be at that level, a thought confirmed by generous praise from Braintree officials after the game, who stated that Salisbury thoroughly deserved to win.

Because of Cup rules, both sides were forced to make changes with Salisbury's Jack Sparkes missing out, but he will be available for Saturday's tie. This seemed to make little difference, and neither did other changes, to the Whites' confidence , as Braintree were reduced to producing only four chances throughout the match. However, a team playing Salisbury's success in going through against them is no less creditable in what in terms of the scoreline appeared a tight contest.

MB Mullings powerDarren Mullings wallops a goal. - Copyright Michael Berkeley

For the opening period both sides sparred with each other before Salisbury produced a serious attempt. On 21 minutes, Dan Fitchett, who was very effective throughout the game, got round the back of the Iron defence but saw his cross-shot blocked, the ball rebounding to Lewis Benson who might have done better from close in. Three minutes later it was Benson however, who crossed in a low ball for Darren Mullings to direct a finish past visiting keeper Ben Killip, the ball having taken a slight deflection off a defender on its way in. Not a bad time to score your second goal for the Club, and there was even better to follow from him in the second half.

Before that, though there was the seemingly obligatory goal presented to the opposition when Tom Whelan lost the ball in midfield, Luke Allen grasping the opportunity to arrow a 25 yard swerving shot into the top corner off of the inside of the upright, giving Jake Hallett no chance whatsoever.

On this occasion the equaliser only served to spur on the Whites and within seconds, Whelan had raced upfield, but his left-footed attempt to atone for his error saw the ball narrowly miss the target. On 36 minutes, Fitchett was very unlucky to see his shot on the turn suffer the same fate, and then, shortly afterwards, another deflection prevented a Fitchett header doing damage. Within seconds of the interval, Josh Sommerton got forward to launch a high cross into the Braintree box which Killip fumbled, but the ball was scrambled away to safety and the margin remained a narrow one at the break.

For the first quarter of an hour of the second half it was more of the same pressure from the Whites, except that the tempo was noticeably raised, with Danny Young firing in a venomous shot which forced Killip to fist away on 47 minutes, and then Whelan surging forward but putting his right foot finish at the relieved keeper. The increased tempo then understandably slackened slightly and the Iron might have scored again just before the hour, when Justin Amaluzar saw Hallett make a good parry before the ball was cleared. On 64 minutes Callum Morton showed good skill to turn Kane O'Keefe in a one-on-one with the defender, but again was just wide with his effort.

RE CelebDarren shoulders the responsibility - and Dan Fitchett - Copyright Roger Elliott

The Whites then produced the ideal response when Mullings grabbed a second goal - one which would prove to be the winner. A looping Benson free kick was delivered right into the danger area and in one swift movement the ball was in the net from Mullings' right boot - a great strike which was in no way easy to execute.

At the beginning of the usual Whites' "dodgy" period Braintree had their final chance when Amaluzar again got round the back of the defence but was inaccurate with his finish, but instead of then conceding it was the Whites who finished the stronger with Whelan unlucky to see his effort from the edge of the box just a whisker away on 77 minutes.

It had already been an eventful night for Mullings, but, had it not been for the assistant's flag, it might have been even more so. From my position it looked as though the midfielder had somehow helped out the visitors by managing to get in the way of a goal bound shot which would have made it 3-1, but from a much better angle behind the goal I’m reliably informed that the ball was going wide anyway! Having said that, Mullings was in the thick of things in a good way, along with everyone else, from start to finish and helped Salisbury to another good win.

This game may not have reached the heights of the win at Merthyr Town, but this was a cup game and results are everything. I was amazed to learn that even though we were playing and beating a team two leagues above us, some dissatisfaction was voiced to prove my version of the old adage "you can't please some of the people any of the time!" Well, Saturday is another cup game, and on Tuesday there will be further cup action at the Ray Mac, either in a replay against Carshalton or a CSS Southern League Cup game against Blackfield and Langley, so hopefully another good result against either will satisfy everybody!

The value of the win on the 3G surface at Merthyr is even greater now that we are travelling to Carshalton, who have their own 3G pitch, and the experience gained in Wales should stand us in good stead. A further £6000 was added to Club coffers after the Braintree game, so wouldn't it be good to add a another £7000 for a win against Carshalton? It's not far to Carshalton, so please try and make the trip and help your team achieve what we all want, further success. I seem to remember going there many years ago and Salisbury coming away with a high margin victory, (6-0 I think!), but I suspect that there may be a different scoreline this time!. As long as it's in the Whites' favour, then any scoreline will do.

Salisbury: Hallett, Wheeler, Sommerton, Whelan, O'Keefe, Partridge, Benson (Herbert 90+3), Dawson, Fitchett (Hopper 78), Mullings, Young (Haysham 89).
Subs not used: Kotwica, Rayfield.

Braintree Town: Killip, Borg, Lyons-Foster, Gabriel, Curran, Allen, Richards (Barrington 56), Ochieng, Sagaf, Morton, Amaluzar .
Subs not used: Wray, Lamb, Iyayi,Bailey.

Attendance: 502 Referee: S Hughes (Sussex)

Match Report - Merthyr Town v Salisbury FC

Standard away 01

Merthyr Town 1 Salisbury FC 2
Evo-Stik South Premier South
Saturday 5 January 2019

By Alec Hayter

There are 3 points, and there are 3 points, but this was a MASSIVE 3 points, gained after a great game between two sides intent on, and succeeding in playing football. There were thrills and spills but the game benefited from both, and also in no small measure from a very mature refereeing performance from Dan Flynn, who managed the game extremely well and also, in spite of the high stakes, only found it necessary to issue one caution (to a home player) during the whole game.

The omens were not that good before the match, with changes necessitated by the 3G surface, but the 14 players who took to the pitch played as a team, and got what they deserved at a difficult place to come. It wouldn't be fair to single out anyone, but having said that, Charlie Rayfield's first team 90 minute debut was especially pleasing as he was up against one of the Martyrs' most effective players, goalscorer Ian Traylor.

In an initial flurry, the home side had two attempts in the first 7 minutes, with Ashley Evans testing James Hillson in their first attack, forcing the keeper to touch the ball over the top at full stretch. The second effort from Traylor was easily gathered.

A wayward Lee Lucas effort followed, and the Whites had a major scare when Hillson, off his line, sliced his clearance, but Traylor, turning up on the right, missed the target.

It was then Salisbury's turn to threaten, and Chris Shephard's shot was blocked before Rayfield got round the back of the defence only to see the ball deflected for a corner. The Whites' best chance was made by and nearly finished by Lewis Benson, as on 37 minutes he cut back on to his right foot after raiding down the left, his well-struck rising shot being touched over by home keeper Lewis Webb, with some difficulty.

Scoreless at the break, it was not long into the second period before the Whites took the lead. On 49 minutes,Tom Whelan picked up the ball just inside the Martyrs' half, took a couple of strides forward and beating his man, before unleashing a brilliant strike into the corner. Two minutes later an inviting ball laid back to Aaron Dawson by hard-working Dan Fitchett might have produced a second but the midfielder's finish finished up well over from just outside the box.

Whelan3Merthyr Town 1 Salisbury FC 2 - Copyright Michael Berkeley

Back at the other end Connor Young's 58th minute free kick found Kieran Lewis but he sliced his header wide, and two minutes later Hillson had to be at his best to keep out a Traylor blast, acrobatically tipping it over. Salisbury were not done though, and Matt Partridge found himself in "nosebleed" territory just inside the home half, but, with keeper Webb off his line, unluckily saw his lob just clear the bar.

It took a Rayfield goal-line clearance on 72 minutes to keep the ball out after Hillson got well under a cross from the Merthyr right, but the response was absolutely ideal when, with 3 minutes remaining, Jack Sparkes, who gave a cultured performance at left back and later further forward, took a free kick on the edge of the box, and the ball was in the net before Webb could react. 2-0 with three minutes to go should have been enough, but in the 4th minute of time added Lucas grabbed a consolation with a powerful right foot finish.

SparkesJack Sparkes, who free kick sparked the three points - Copyright Michael Berkeley

It never pays to leave Salisbury games early, but on this occasion those of Wiltshire persuasion got the best possible reward for their efforts in making the long journey They'll have a shorter trip on Tuesday, when Braintree visit in the Buildbase FA Trophy.

If the Whites can prevail, the game against Taunton next Saturday will be postponed, as we'll be in the next round of the Trophy at Carshalton. I want to be at Carshalton, and a big crowd on Tuesday can help that happen.....PLEASE!

Merthyr Town: Webb, Young (C.Williams 82), Harris, Evans, Wright, Patten (Morgan 68), Meechan, Lucas, Prosser (Jones 22), Traylor.
Subs not used: G Williams, Reddy.

Salisbury FC: Hillson, Rayfield, Sparkes, Whelan, Partridge, Wheeler, Benson, Dawson, Fitchett (Kotwica 85), Shephard (Sommerton 77), Haysham (Young 80).
Subs not used: Hopper, Herbert.

Attendance: 501 Referee: D Flynn

Match Report - Salisbury FC v Frome Town

FB home size

Salisbury FC 1 Frome Town 0

Evo-stik South Premier South

Wednesday 1 January 2019

By Alec Hayter

The Whites welcomed in the New Year with a three point reward, but the 768 people who turned out to watch deserved better entertainment from a game which was not much better than pulling teeth. There was plenty of knife edge excitement of the wrong type as a slender 1-0 lead, judging by experiences of late, would always look fragile for the home side, and it was a good job that the visitors had no sharper talons than their hosts. The entertainment value was also greatly reduced by the "stop start" methods of referee Colin Hubbard who decided to talk through incidents instead of and before issuing cards which, apart from that shown to Joshua Morgan-Williams in the first half, arrived in the last six minutes of play.

Having said all that it was a great day to get three points (isn't it always?) with Taunton and Weymouth falling below their standards, and that, combined with a look at Salisbury's results over a period must maintain hope for a good last half season. It doesn't help that yet another serious injury following the Poole game has further depleted the squad but it has somehow managed to survive through those injuries with an unbeaten run going back to the end of September with blemishes on only two occasions in games at our other rivals. These could, and perhaps should, have yielded three points each. We will have the chance to avenge both set-backs later this month.

The winning goal from Chris Shephard, eight minutes before the interval, was worth the admission price on its own, and although that was the only time the ball hit the back of the net my notes reveal that in terms of chances the Whites manufactured eight as against Frome's two.

SHEPThe busy Chris Shephard in action - Copyright Michael Berkeley

On six minutes Kane O'Keefe put a difficult volley wide from just inside the area and the same fate befell a Darren Mullings right foot effort eight minutes later.

In a rare break into the Salisbury half Frome's Rory Gorman let fly from outside the area and hearts were in mouths as James Hillson allowed the ball to momentarily slip from his grasp, although it must be said that shots bouncing in front of keepers are not the easiest things for them to deal with.

On 27 minutes Lewis Benson passed inside to Shephard whose left foot effort whistled narrowly past the angle of upright and crossbar, and that was the prelude to the game's defining moment. On 37 minutes the ball found its way to Shephard with his back to goal, and in the blink of an eye he turned and leathered a rocket shot past Frome keeper Carl Crabtree, off the woodwork and into the net.

ShephardToo quick for the camera and keeper, Shephard's rocket shot should have supporters flocking to the Mac. - Copyright Michael Berkeley

It should have been 2-0 four minutes later when Benson's cross found the well-placed Danny Young but, after taking a touch, Young leaned back a bit too far and the ball went a bit (!) too high.

A fairly low-key first half thus ended with the Whites in front, and the same tempo seemed to be the in thing throughout the rest of the match. Ten minutes into the second period, as the Whites took over midfield matters, Benson got to the edge of the visitors' box but fired narrowly wide and three minutes later it was Tom Whelan's turn to surge forward before hitting his finish at the relieved keeper. On 62 minutes Luke Hopper's cross shot went into Crabtree's arms, but as Frome began a late effort in what has been a fateful period in recent games, they had a good opportunity on 75 minutes when a long cross from their left to the far post found Ryan Bath who tamely headed into the side netting.

Salisbury saw out the final stages of the game, the half having already lasted for 47 minutes when the referee signalled a further three - quite enough given recent events!

The Whites can be thankful for the three points, and also the unusual and welcome lack of any further serious injuries getting them!

A different challenge awaits on Saturday when Salisbury visit Penydarren Park to play Merthyr Town, who must be on a high after dispatching Taunton Town by 3-1. The 3G surface obviously suited them, football -wise, more than Taunton and therefore it should suit Salisbury. The Whites took the points from the Welshmen back in mid-October and will be looking to repeat the result once more, although to do so has probably become more difficult following Merthyr's success.


Salisbury FC: Hillson, Wheeler, Sparkes, Whelan, O'Keefe, Partridge, Benson, Mullings, Hopper (Fitchett 75), Shephard (Dawson 77), Young (Haysham 72).

Subs not used: Kotwica, Herbert.

Frome Town: Crabtree, Fletcher, Teale, Knowles, Mapstone, Roberts, Gorman, Mehew (Mannings 43), Bath (Plummer 77), Morgan-Williams, Rogers (Davis 65).

Subs not used: Evans, Greaves.

Attendance: 768 Referee: C. Hubbard (Little Canford)