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Match Report - Salisbury FC v Paulton Rovers

Salisbury FC 2 Paulton Rovers 0
SCC Challenge Trophy Second round
Tuesday, 7 November 2018

By Alec Hayter

On a windswept night, nothing much happened for the first 45 minutes apart from Josh Sommerton putting a left foot effort just wide of the post on 35 minutes, and before that a sharp chance being missed by Dan Fitchett when presented with the ball by Rovers' keeper Rob Brown after a quarter of an hour. Paulton's only response was a 25 yard effort from Liam Monelle which sailed over the top.

There was much more to say about the second period and Fitchett fixed it, scoring a brace to send the Whites into the third round of the competition. Straight after the restart Luke Hopper hared away down the right before seeing his cross shot go narrowly wide of the upright, and seconds later Fitchett's effort at the near post from Sommerton's squared pass was blocked away. Little had been seen of Paulton in the first half and even less so later as, on 54 minutes, Lewis Benson, who had joined the action at half-time, crossed from the right, with Hopper holding up the ball well before laying it back to Fitchett who belted it into the roof of the net.

DF CustomFitch fixes it with a brace. - Copyright Roger Elliott

Barely four minutes had elapsed before the Whites got their second, and Hopper was again instrumental with another assist, robbing Joe Hillard before firing in a shot which was only parried out to Fitchett who did the rest. Three minutes further down the line a recently revitalised Hopper saw his acrobatic header saved after Claudio Herbert's shot was deflected, but maybe he should have done better with a chance on 62 minutes which he headed over the top from close range, from Matt Partridge's cross.

Salisbury were on easy street, but had a warning when on 63 minutes Paulton's Ben Withey crossed from the right for Dale Evans to put his effort wide, although a similar fate happened to Fitchett's attempt at the other end only seconds later he ran across the box before trying a right foot finish.

Paulton's Jack Ball cut in from the left on 71 minutes but couldn't keep his shot down whilst at the other end Partridge got well forward and saw his drive saved by keeper Rob Brown. After Lewis Benson tested the keeper again it was then time for Whites' keeper James Hillson to remind us all that he was still on the pitch, although previously virtually unemployed, as the visitors made last-gasp efforts in the final quarter of an hour to try and reduce the deficit.

Claudio2 CustomClaudio's 70 minute debut. - Copyright Roger Elliott

Firstly the young keeper made a superb save low to his right from Evans' fierce drive, then got up and made an equally great save from Withey, and with 7 minutes to go his right hand was put to good use again when he saved from Aysa Corrick.

So we await the draw for the next round and looking at the teams remaining, there must be every chance of further progress. Steve Claridge said it was basically a question of "job done" against but was also saddened by another injury to Darren Mullings. He also confirmed his desire that the Whites go as far as they could every cup competition, but warned, in advance of Saturdays meeting with Merstham:"They are in a very false position in their league and having had a run of wins theywill prove difficult opponents. It will be important for our fans to get behind the team on Saturday to ensure that we get the right result."

Should things not go as well as hoped, and there is a replay, that will take place next Tuesday, meaning that the Wilts Senior Cup game at Bradford Town would be postponed from Wednesday 14th until the following week.

The FA Trophy game will be difficult, but remembering the effect of noisy support on Hendon, let's make sure that Merstham know that they have been in a game. That bit is firmly in your hands as supporters!

Salisbury FC: Hillson , Wheeler, Sommerton, Dawson, Partridge, Wannell, Herbert (Kotwica 69), Mullings (Benson 45), Hopper, Fitchett, Haysham.
Subs not used: Shephard, Hallett.

Paulton Rovers: Brown, Anderson, Prictor, Hillard (Hedges 59), Laird, Tippins, Withey, Evans, Corrick, Monelle (Malpas 78), Lovibond (Ball 64).
Subs not used: Sen, Harrison.

Attendance: 300 Referee: S Mansfield (Chippenham)