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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!


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.