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Match Report - Tiverton Town v Salisbury FC

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Tiverton Town 2 Salisbury FC 0

Evo-stik South Premier South

Saturday, 16 March 2019

By Alec Hayter

I'm very sorry to disappoint those of you who like to read the detail of games, but on this occasion, I'm going to have to let you down as all that there is to relate is a tale of woe based around the all-important result, an outcome not unusual following visits to Tiverton Town. Someone said to me following our success at Wimborne Town that that fixture was the most difficult one left in the season. How very wrong, with our dismal record in Devon, as that was also to deny manager Martyn Rogers' well versed technique of beating Salisbury sides.

We lost a valuable chance to make a real point with Taunton Town surprisingly being beaten at Frome and Weymouth dropping two points at the Cuthbury, We lost the game because of being unable to convert total first half dominance into goals, and then being caught by two superb finishes on the break from Levi Landricombe, a real out and out striker in the true sense of the word - something which we lack. In the first half the only threats on our goal came in the space of two minutes from Tom Bath with a wild right foot effort and a cross shot from Landricombe which went past the post.

Yes, Jack Sparkes' freekick on 29 minutes was kept out only by the woodwork, and Lewis Bensons’ corner scrambled off the line, but better, easier opportunities were wasted.

The Whites had bombarded the home goal from the off, with the assistance of a strong wind in their backs, and it appeared after 45 minutes that there was bound to be a points return from the long trip. However, the second half was characterised by two fatal mistakes which presented Landricombe with the kind of chance he laps up.

Five minutes into the second period Kane O'Keefe thrashed at and sliced a clearance which fell into Landricombe's path, the striker calmly slotting the ball past Jake Hallett, and on 75 minutes, from another quick clearance in extremely similar fashion to goals conceded in previous visits to Ladysmead, Landricombe got clear on the left and hit a well aimed finish, taken early, past the keeper.

In the meantime, Salisbury were perplexed when a penalty appeal on Aaron Dawson was turned down on 64 minutes and three minutes later when Tom Whelan delivered a ball across the face of goal which Luke Hopper failed to connect with, whilst Tiverton had two one-on-one chances denied by Hallett before Landricombe completed the scoring.

Late substitutions of new boy Chris Flood and the returning Danny Young made no difference to the outcome, and as far as Flood is concerned, it would be unfair to make any judgement after a short period in action.

Once more, in spite of some great build-up play, the Whites were unable to capitalise in the first half, and paid a heavy price in the second.

With seven games remaining, the Whites can afford no slip ups if they are to make it into the optimum play-off position, and it is now, and has been for some time, down to them to make sure that it is as difficult as possible for other competing teams to prevent that. Hope springs eternal, however, in that the odd results of yesterday will be repeated, and if that is the case then a consistent run from Salisbury can ensure they get their reward, and still, would you believe, there remains a remote possibility of actually winning the league, with other competing teams having to meet each other.

Next up is the first of the four remaining home games against Chesham United on Saturday. Since we played Chesham back in October, they have shown improved form apart from a home reverse yesterday to Farnborough, and will present a stern challenge. A large following at Tiverton was not rewarded for the effort they made, but hopefully, they will be next Saturday when making the much shorter journey to the Ray Mac.


Tiverton Town: Armstrong, Key, Hall (Furness 90+4), Price, Mammola, Dyer, M. Landricombe, Colwell, Bath, L. Landricombe, Davis (Phillips 89).

Subs not used: Rogers, Gardner, Yetton.

Salisbury FC: Hallett, Wheeler, Sparkes, Whelan, Partridge, O'Keefe, Benson, Dawson, Hopper (Flood 76), Fitchett, Mullings (Young 76).

Subs not used: Shephard, Downing, Sommerton.

Attendance: 335                   Referee: D Flynn.

Match Report - Salisbury FC v Farnborough FC

FB home sizeCopyright Roger Elliott

Salisbury FC 3 Farnborough FC 2

Evo-stik South Premier South

Tuesday, 12 September 2019

By Alec Hayter

Once more, it seems necessary to remind those who stayed away from last night's game that after a poor result, as happened on Saturday, the next game is invariably better, and the absentees missed out. There was more positive action in the first 10 minutes of this game than had occurred in the whole of Saturday’s match, and that continued throughout the 90+, but after that initial 10 minutes, the Whites fell behind to the visitors’ first serious attack. Midway through the first half they went further behind, and those who feared the worst would have been forgiven for doubting the fighting qualities of their favourites. The result of a tremendous effort was what looks on paper to be a narrow 3-2 victory, but was actually much more comprehensive than the scoreline suggests. The team's hunger returned.

On 9 minutes Tom Whelan slipped a delightful ball to Chris Shephard whose progress was halted by Farnborough keeper Liam Beach, and shortly afterwards it was Shephard's turn to provide Dan Fitchett with a chance which was unluckily deflected over the top. A further few seconds passed before Shephard’s corner reached Whelan whose right foot effort went just past, and it seemed only a matter of time before a goal arrived.

A goal did arrive, but unfortunately at the wrong end, as for virtually the first time that Farnborough made any impression at all, Louis McGrory was easily beaten on the outside by Reggie Young, who fired the opener across Jake Hallett.

The Whites reacted with Fitchett again being unlucky on 15 minutes and then two minutes later the visitors’ keeper was relieved when Shephard's effort went straight at him. Again, it seemed a question of time before Salisbury got back on terms, but again, it was Boro who profited from a Harry Cooksley free-kick which Hallett did well to put onto the post only to see Perry Coles follow-up and make it 2-0.

The Whites again responded, this time in the best possible way, when four minutes before the interval, Luke Hopper charged down a clearance and strode forward before tucking a right foot shot past the keeper, to start a feeling of well-being before the break. On the stroke of half-time Salisbury could have been on terms when Jack Sparkes sent a deep cross in from the left and Fitchett volleyed over the top. However, any "goal" would have been ruled out for offside, and in a last effort before the break, Hopper blotted his copybook when missing in front of goal.

Hopper goalLuke Hopper gets an important goal at an important time.- Copyright Roger Elliott

After the interval, it seemed likely that with continued high-intensity play the Whites would succeed, especially as the visitors had not done a "Kings Langley" and shut up shop, although there was some obvious slow motion from their keeper at times. That was not allowed to get in the way however and 10 minutes into the second period, Salisbury were back on terms as a result of intensive pressure in the Boro area which saw Darren Mullings plunder a close-range finish from Lewis Benson's corner.

Mullings 1Right place, right time as Darren Mullings scores.- Copyright Roger Elliott

On 62 minutes Benson sent in a raking cross to the far post where Sparkes should really have finished the job with a volley from close in, and within seconds, Sparkes was marauding once more and brought down in the box, causing vociferous appeals for a spot kick. Referee Alex James waved away the appeals and, possibly in an attempt to make clear that it was in his opinion (the one that counts!) an obviously correct decision, firmly pointed to the corner flag instead of the spot. From my viewpoint, it looked an obvious and easy penalty award, but of course, the referee was much closer, although some supporters behind the goal at his distance would also probably have disagreed with him. Whatever, it remained 2-2, and that caused the Whites to exert even more pressure.

PenOh no it wasn't - Oh yes it was!- Copyright Roger Elliott

The following minute saw Whelan's right foot shot whistle past the post, and on 75 minutes Chris Shephard put his finish at a relieved goalkeeper. Shortly after Dan Fitchett threaded delightful through ball to Sparkes, who tried to round the keeper unsuccessfully whereas maybe he should have let fly, and then, with nine minutes remaining, Hopper got in a similar position, only to be denied by Beach.

As the sands of time ran out a short Shephard free-kick gave Benson a chance to repeat his Wimborne medicine, but this time the ball went just off target, and shortly after the referee had corrected Salisbury’s having 12 players on the pitch at once, Mullings came to the rescue with a late, late winner two minutes into time added. It's hardly worth a description because it was what is becoming a typical goal from both Mullings and Aaron Dawson - scored from all of 3 yards! They all count however, and three points is always a very valuable three points.

Pregnant pauseDarren Mullings looking expectant of a celebration - or a birth? - Copyright Roger Elliott

Provided the elements allow, a difficult trip to Devon follows on Saturday when we visit Tiverton Town, who are normally very difficult to beat on their own pitch, that pitch often playing a large part in the outcome because of its proximity to the river.

Already, contingency plans are in place and travelling fans would be well advised to keep an eye out on the Tiverton website and on social media before setting out to the game to avoid an unnecessary journey. If the game goes ahead, however, it's another case of making it like a home match, please


Salisbury FC: Hallett, McGrory (Hopper 38), Sommerton, Whelan, Wheeler, Partridge, Benson, Mullings, Fitchett, Shephard (Downing 90+5), Sparkes.

Subs not used: Dawson, Herbert, Young.

Farnborough FC: Beach, Chambers, Owens (Oakley 45), Leggett, Hylton-Bartley, Musungu, Cooksley (Cumberbatch, 68), Charles-Smith, Coles (Fernandez 79), Young.

Subs not used: Halsey, Fearn.

Attendance: 424                   Referee: A James (Bournemouth)



Luke Hopper gets an important goal at an important time."

Match Report - Salisbury FC v Kings Langley

FB home sizeCopyright Roger Elliott

Salisbury FC 1 Kings Langley 2

Evo-stik South Premier South

Saturday, 9 March 2019

By Alec Hayter

I feel cheated, and a score of 2/5 for entertainment in my Non League Paper report will indicate that the feeling comes not so much from the performance and result, but from the way the game panned out from as early as two minutes in, when blatant time wasting tactics went unpunished. The statistics count doesn't help either with the visitors receiving six yellow cards, but had sterner and earlier action been taken, that number would probably not have been necessary, and we all may have benefited from a close encounter of the best kind and not what we received. The referee did not lose the game for us, but the visitors’ tactics were made easier to implement.

The first 45 minutes was pretty non-descript, the Whites failing to find the intensity necessary, and an even more necessary goal where opponents arrive with such tactics, but all seemed possible when on four minutes Jack Sparkes sent a freekick only just wide of the upright.

Things took a turn for the worse, however, on 17 minutes when Kings Langley's Callum Adebiyi clumsily shoved Dan Fitchett in the box but referee Small took no action - he may not have seen the incident and I missed it but was advised later - and worse was to follow when, in the only real piece of quality shown by the visitors in the first half they took the lead on 19 minutes. The lively Lewis Putman shrugged off a challenge from new boy Louis McGrory and delivered a searching cross, the experienced Rene Howe heading the ball back across into the corner past Jake Hallett.

At that stage there was certainly no need to panic and for the rest of the half there was precious little threat from Kings. On 36 minutes Tom Whelan's surging run through the middle of the visitors’ defence saw him crowded out, the ball deflecting just wide, and six minutes later Matt Partridge's cross saw Darren Mullings arrive at the near post, but he could not direct his header and so Kings Langley retained their slender advantage at the break.

There was more urgency about the Whites after the restart however, and on 52 minutes Lewis Benson pulled the ball back to Whelan whose right foot effort was again deflected. On 52 minutes however, it was all square, and again the referee appeared to get it wrong (thankfully this time!) when he awarded a free kick to the Whites and cautioned Adebiyi, whereas maybe it should have been Luke Hopper going into the book. However, Salisbury made the most of it and Benson sent an unstoppable free kick into the corner past a static Alex Tokarczyk.

Benson FKLewis leathers the free-kick.....and is quite (!) pleased! - Copyright Roger Elliott

Four minutes later the first of two good chances arrived, firstly when Mullings narrowly missed the target with a left foot finish and then when Hopper should really have done better from the edge of the box.

The visitors flickered briefly again on 64 minutes when Dylan Switters found himself with time and space some distance out, but sent his effort tamely wide without troubling Hallett. The Whites responded when Whelan played in Benson, but the ball seemed to get stuck under Benson's boot and he was forced to cut back before sending a left foot effort at the keeper.

On 67 minutes, the Langos sprang to life for another short period, with Hallett being forced into a good save from Steve Ward's diving header, and then Jorell Johnson heading high.

Hearts were in mouths as on 71 minutes Josh Sommerton misjudged a long clearance and the ball was picked up by Howe, the experienced striker being left to bear down on Hallett. The keeper was equal to the challenge however and brilliantly denied him.

WhelanTom Whelan crowded out. - Copyright Roger Elliott

It was then Salisbury's turn at the other end, when Whelan cut back onto his favoured right foot, but launched his finish disappointingly over the top from 8 yards, and Kings Langley drew inspiration from that with Mitchell Weiss going close on 73 minutes and then 11 minutes later, Johnson missing the best chance of the half when firing wide from four yards.

On 89 minutes substitute Josh Coldicott-Stevens plundered the winner with a 25 yard dipping effort that deceived Hallett and probably surprised the Kings man as well , and in spite of two further Whites’ chances for the Whites, firstly, an Elliott Wheeler header, and then Hopper seeing his header cleared off the line by the keeper, the Hertfordshire side returned home with perhaps more than they had expected.

Not even seven minutes of added time could save the day, and why only three minutes were added to the first half remains a mystery, when a similar allowance would have been more like it.

The Whites must go again on Tuesday, and they’ll be looking to you to come again. Please do.


Salisbury FC: Hallett, McGrory (Hopper, 27), Sommerton, Whelan, Wheeler, Partridge, Benson, Dawson (Shephard 81), Fitchett, Mullings, Sparkes.

Subs not used: Herbert, Downing, Rayfield.

Kings Langley: Tokarczyk, Connelly, O'Keefe, Johnson, Adebiyi, Switters, Ward (Hitchcock 90), Cook, Howe (Caldicot Stevens 81), Weiss, Putman (Osborne 90+6).

Sub not used: Collier.

Attendance: 631                   Referee: B Small (Bognor Regis)

Match Report - Wimborne Town v Salisbury FC

FB sizeCopyright Michael Berkeley


Wimborne Town 1 Salisbury FC 4

Evo-stik South Premier South

Saturday, 2 March 2019

By Alec Hayter

It was always going to take a very good side to halt a long unbeaten Wimborne record at the Cuthbury, but we were that team on this occasion, in spite of the second yellow dismissal of Kane O'Keefe on 40 minutes that was not allowed to seriously disrupt the acquisition of a massive three points and take full advantage of Taunton's midweek slip up. As it happened, with the exception of the Weymouth result, this turned out to be the perfect Saturday and just reward for the Salisbury travelling faithful who turned up in their numbers to make it feel more like a home game.

If Salisbury won the toss, then it was a masterstroke to elect to play into the teeth of a gale, but down one of the many Cuthbury slopes, for the first half, and on 6 minutes it was Lewis Benson who celebrated a great week for him with a rocket strike which gave Gerard Benfield no chance. To fully explain that comment Lewis became a proud Dad for the first time this week and I am sure that his strike and in fact his whole performance was for his new daughter Hollie. Congrats from all, and if that is the effect then keep increasing the family!

Benson1A Benson blast opens the scoring at Wimborne - Copyright Michael Berkeley

The opportunity came after Jack Sparkes played a short freekick to him and one sidestep later Benson made space for himself to launch a fierce right foot howitzer low into the corner – so low in fact that no amount of wind could slow the ball down.

An ideal start then, and 6 minutes later Benson might have got a second but after receiving the ball from Dan Fitchett could only hit the side netting.

The Magpies first showed their teeth seconds later when a Luke Holmes cross cum shot forced Jake Hallett to acrobatically touch the ball to safety. In reply, on 15 minutes, Fitchett squared a delightful ball to Benson whose attempt had Benfield at full stretch to keep it out, and 6 minutes later the home keeper also did well to save a Tom Whelan effort.

There then followed an unusual event when goal machine Tobi Holmes was in the clear but lobbed his finish wide of the target, having probably been put out of his stride by Hallett's actions.

On the half hour, the Whites doubled their advantage after Benson and Darren Mullings combined well to get the ball into the home box. In the mayhem that followed the ball broke to Matt Partridge, and he belted it through a forest of players at the second attempt.

Partridge 1Matt Partridge forces home the second goal, and is colleagues form an orderly line. - Copyright Michael Berkeley

The defender’s presence was then needed on the Salisbury goal line only five minutes later when Tobi Holmes fired goalwards. Referee Stuart Kane turned down vociferous appeals for handball by the Salisbury man, and I have to say that it appeared the Magpies' appeals could well have been justified.

On 37 minutes Wimborne's Billy Maybury should really have done better with a header wide of the mark but the home side got themselves back into the contest on 40 minutes when, in a breakaway, Kane O'Keefe was left struggling with Holmes who fought off the challenge and further attempts to deny his progress before planting the ball into an empty net. It was as a result of this attack that the Whites were reduced to ten men when O’Keefe received a second yellow. Salisbury, therefore, had to play 50 minutes with a man disadvantage, but it was very very difficult to tell that that was the case because of the high standard and application of the players who accepted the challenge.

Swift and correct action was taken with the substitution of Charlie Rayfield for Luke Hopper two minutes before the break, ostensibly to keep what was in the bag, but in fact, a committed Salisbury still produced the goods to worry the home defence.

The half-time talk obviously did the trick as well as, 5 minutes into the second half, Sparkes was extremely unlucky to see his freekick from just outside the box fly narrowly wide.

The match was still tight, and the Magpies might have got back on terms on 63 minutes when Luke Holmes' cross from the left was met by the other Holmes, who tamely headed wide from close in. Holmes' miss only served to spur on the Whites and two minutes later a vicious Sparkes freekick dropped in the most awkward position - in front of keeper Benfield - who could not claim the ball but only parry it into the path of Partridge who did the rest. In normal circumstances, restoration of a two-goal cushion would have indicated "game over”, but these were far from normal circumstances.

Pair for PartidgeCel..eb..ra..tion time again (as the song goes) - a Partridge pair - Copyright Michael Berkeley

In the latter stages of the game, Sparkes was having an increasing influence on proceedings, as he did against Basingstoke seven days earlier, and on 68 minutes he worked himself into a left channel position before hitting a left foot rising effort that really tested Benfield, who was forced into a superb save stretching to touch the ball over the top.

With 20 minutes remaining, however, it really was "game over" as Salisbury opened up a three-goal advantage. This time it was Benson the provider as the midfielder got to the byeline and, with great composure, tricked his defender, pulled the ball back onto his right foot, and then delivered a pinpoint cross onto Fitchett's head to score a goal to settle it.

Fitchett 4thDan Fitchett may be almost hidden, but the result of his header is clear! - Copyright Michael Berkeley

Nothing further was seen from the Wimborne attack, which throughout the game had been managed superbly by a stubborn Salisbury defence, and the visitors might well have added to their tally, but Whelan's 74th minute effort sneaked wide of the upright.

Three minutes before the end two further chances were produced when another vicious Sparkes freekick caused more chaos in the home six yard box, followed by Fitchett’s effort being parried, again into the path of Partridge, with only a desperate interception preventing the defender from completing a striker's type of hat-trick.

A straight red card for Wimborne's ex-Salisbury player Franklyn Clarke has to be recorded, but two minutes into time added that only served to even up the numbers on each side, which had already looked even in spite of the Whites having been forced to play with ten men.

A great day out, therefore, especially when considering other results. Eight goals past the Magpies this season, therefore, but this time they were not allowed the face-saving comeback they had achieved at the Ray Mac.

Life is becoming even more interesting and as there is no midweek game, hopefully that will provide the opportunity for injured players to return to playing action soon.

It was good to see George Colson having a kick-around pre-match and, without actually knowing, I would suspect that Ben Morgan and long term injured Bay Downing might well be available for our match at home to Kings Langley in 7 days' time. Perhaps today's result was even more creditable because we were without the influential Aaron Dawson, who was serving a one-match ban following an incident at Taunton, which occurred coincidentally when today's referee Stuart Kane was in charge. Perhaps it was just as well Aaron was missing today!

I certainly couldn't name a man of the match today as everyone who played a part was worthy of that accolade. Continuation of this type of performance will ensure an extremely exciting end to a campaign where anything is possible, so please keep supporting your team at what is the most telling time of the season. Let's have some mammoth noisy crowds for the upcoming games against Kings Langley on Saturday and Farnborough Town three days later for starters.


Wimborne Town: Benfield, Clarke, Maybury, Davidson, Oldring, Francis, Stokoe (Pettefer 45), Penny (Young 60), T. Holmes, Burbidge, L. Holmes.

Subs not used: Collins, Owen.

Salisbury FC: Hallett, Wheeler, Sommerton, Whelan, O'Keefe, Partridge, Benson, Mullings, Hopper (Rayfield 43), Fitchett, Sparkes.

Subs not used: Shephard, Herbert.

Attendance: 624                   Referee: S Kane (Saltash)

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