Match Report - Salisbury FC v Metropolitan Police FC
Image by Michael Berkeley
Salisbury FC 1 Metropolitan Police 1
Evo-Stik South Premier South
Saturday 1 December 2018
By Alec Hayter
Bearing in mind their recent exploits at the Ray Mac, the Whites' draw against the Met almost felt like a defeat, but to say only that would be to demean a game that panned out a bit like a chess match ending in a stalemate.
The stalemate was anything but stale though, with lots of good quality play from both sides at various stages of the match - in direct contrast to the game in Somerset three days previously - with the Whites just about shading it in the first half and the visitors coming on stronger later. In other words, both sides might have won it, but in the end a draw was probably a fair result .
Met Police showed why they are on a good run, with some compact, neat play, and took the lead on 5 minutes when Jonathan Hippolyte got round the back of the Whites' defence and pulled the ball back to one of two string-pulling players, Ethan Chislett, who beat James Hillson with a firm low shot into the corner.
We are quite used to seeing an early deficit in games, but equally used to seeing the Whites fight back, and it took only 5 minutes more before they did. Tom Whelan's superbly-weighted ball inside the full back to Bay Downing started the move, and Zack Kotwica finished it easily from Downing's equally superb ball across the box.
Happy Zack gets Whites' equaliser - Copyright Roger Elliott
Chances fell to both sides with Max Blackmore's header being deflected on 21 minutes, whilst Whelan's 29th minute rasping drive was kept out by Charlie Burns.
The dangerous Hippolyte, looking suspiciously offside, then sent in a low cross for Blackmore to put his finish over, but on 42 minutes Kotwica thought he had scored after good interplay with Aaron Dawson, but the Assistant's flag denied him. Just before the iuterval Whelan brought a good save from Burns, and then Lewis Benson fired just wide from Jake Wannell's pass.
The second period started better for the Met, with marksman Jack Mazzone wriggling clear of Wannell but seeing his volleyed attempt saved well by Hillson, and then Hippolyte going wide of the mark with his effort following some poor Whites' midfield play.
There followed an unfortunate injury to Downing which caused changes to personnel, and that injury has been confirmed as a broken ankle. Three shoulder injuries, two goalkeeper injuries, and now injuries to two full backs continue the never-ending injury saga!
Breaking point for Bay - Copyright Michael Berkeley -- Bay carried off - Copyright Roger Elliott
On 72 minutes Whelan could only shoot weakly on the turn at Burns, but Hillson then did well to save a 25 yard Chislett shot low to his right at the start of a good, threatening spell from the visitors, who exposed the draining effect of a tough midweek game at Taunton on the Whites creating late opportunities.
Somehow Hillson acrobatically kept out a goal-bound ball on 82 minutes and with four minutes remaining the Met's Hyppolyte wasted a good chance after a breakaway with Chislett.
Salisbury summoned up from goodness knows where a last ditch effort for the points, and might have got them from a breakaway of their own, but the normally dependable Benson could only send his cross at keeper Burns, with four frustrated colleagues in the box.
To complete things, Dan Fitchett might have done better with a header from Benson's corner just before the final whistle,
A point is still good against a good side, but as Steve Claridge said afterwards :"We played well in the first half, but looked flat and leggy in the second, and maybe it might have benefited us if this game had been postponed, as happened at Taunton."
There is no game in the coming midweek, and that might be a good thing, but the Whites will be looking to take maximum points from the game against Wimborne Town next Saturday, and that will not be easy.
Salisbury FC: Hillson, Downing (Partridge 57), Sommerton, Mullings, Wheeler, Wannell, Benson, Dawson, Kotwica, Whelan, Young (Haysham 79).
Subs not used: Hopper, Hallett
Metropolitan Police: Burns, Webb, McLaughlin, Robinson, Arthur, Robertson, Knight (Gilbert 70), Chislett, Mazzone, Blackmore (Mummery 70), Hippolyte (Nyama90+4).
Subs not used: Birch, Guiness-Walker.
Attendance: 552 Referee: C. Hubbard (Little Canford)