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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Match Report - Salisbury FC v Basingstoke Town

FB home sizeCopyright Michael Berkeley

Salisbury FC 2 Basingstoke Town 1

Evo-stik South Premier South

Saturday, 23 February 2019

By Alec Hayter

In recent times you have had to have a strong constitution to watch the Whites as they have left things very late in games, but of course, they can be forgiven as points have been obtained. Basingstoke's improved form of late was pretty obvious, and that combined with a subdued first half from the home side made for a tighter game than perhaps it should have been. For me, the first half was summed up admirably by a supporter at half-time, who said that she thought Salisbury were playing as though they had already won the match! However, that may well have had something to do with Basingstoke's very well organised performance.

That first half produced very few goalmouth incidents but by two to one the Dragons shaded it, starting well when on three minutes captain Sam Deadfield chipped an effort over the top from the edge of the box. After more midfield sparring, 16 minutes later keeper Liam Driscoll, making his home debut, had to save Sam Argent's effort at full stretch.

It was not until ten minutes before the break that Salisbury showed real purposeful attacking intent when Chris Shephard squared the ball to Dan Fitchett who just missed the target, but following the half-time brew, it was Salisbury who started the brighter. Almost immediately after the restart Lewis Benson had the ball on the edge of the Basingstoke box and pulled it back onto his left foot before firing narrowly past the upright.

Benson was getting some joy down the right and on 51 minutes delivered a great ball across the Basingstoke box. He was entitled to expect there to be someone in attendance to finish the job, but unfortunately, that was not the case. However, six minutes later the Whites took the lead with the first good flowing move they had produced thus far. Aaron Dawson and Tom Whelan combined well, the latter delivering the ball to Shephard who beat 'Stoke keeper Tom McGill with ease.

ShepThe finish....the celebration...Chris Shephard gets the first - Copyright Roger Elliott

As has been proved in recent times, a one goal lead can often look fragile and the Dragons responded on 63 minutes when Zidan Akers found himself in space, but launched his effort way over the top from 18 yards. That was a good chance, but an even better one was produced two minutes later when Kian Duncan out-fought Elliott Wheeler and cut back on his right foot to force Driscoll into another good save.

On 68 minutes it seemed that the Whites had settled matters when Jack Sparkes, who especially during the latter stages of the game was causing problems for Basingstoke right back Dean Stow, put Fitchett in on goal. The striker made no mistake with his finish, although many felt that the assistant who ruled out the effort for offside had made a mistake of his own. Had the "goal" counted it would have relieved the tension.

With 10 minutes remaining, Tom Whelan managed to wriggle free on the edge of the visitor's area but could do no better than fire his finish at McGill.

On 84 minutes the Dragons must have thought that they had earned a point when a ball through the middle of the Whites’ defence put Akers in to equalise, but after Sam Smart had wasted a further opportunity four minutes later, the visitors paid the price when Sparkes' pinpoint cross from the left found Fitchett in front of goal, and he made no mistake with his header.

Fitchett MBSomewhere under the heap... Dan Fitchett..who scored the late winner. - Copyright Michael Berkeley

Such was the nature of the game that it was still not over. Four minutes into added time, the visitors nearly "did a Salisbury" but Ben Wright could and maybe should have done better than blaze over the bar from 18 yards.

Manager Steve Claridge had said before the game that with the majority of remaining matches being at home, it was necessary for the Ray Mac to become a fortress. The Whites got the points, but not without some difficulty, after a performance that in some ways lacked the flair that we've become used to. The fortress ramparts were nearly scaled by the Dragons, but at the end of the day it was "job done".

The next league outing will be equally if not more difficult as we visit Wimborne Town who continued an unbeaten run since 12 January with a comprehensive 3-0 win over Walton Casuals with Tobi Holmes getting back on the goal trail. Wimborne is not far from Salisbury so please try and make it seem like a home game by turning up in your numbers.


Salisbury FC: Driscoll, Alawode-Williams (Partridge 45), Sommerton (Hopper 86), Whelan, O'Keefe, Wheeler, Benson, Dawson, Fitchett, Shephard (Mullings 67), Sparkes.

Subs not used: Bosma, Young.

Basingstoke Town: McGill, Stow Gerrard, Atkinson, Fox, Wakely, Smart, Duncan (Wright 73), Argent, Deadfield, Pearse (Akers 36).

Subs not used: Orvis, Harris, Hunt.

Attendance: 779                   Referee: C Scriven (Wedmore)

Match Report - Kings Langley v Salisbury FC

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Kings Langley 1 Salisbury FC 1
Evo-stik South Premier South
Tuesday, 19 February 2019

By Alec Hayter

A stunning equaliser from substitute Chris Shephard salvaged a point in a poor game at the Sadiku Stadium on a less than ideal surface that did not allow a type of football that would have rewarded Salisbury fans who made the long and tortuous journey.

Jordan Alawode-Williams was handed a debut at right full-back after having signed earlier in the day, and made a satisfactory start, but the Whites had too many players who were not on their game on the evening, and really only showed their capabilities in the last 20 minutes. During that time, unfortunately home keeper Alex Tokarczyk came to his side's rescue as Salisbury suddenly realised that time was running out and that they were a goal behind. It is telling that the change of fortune occurred after Shephard replaced Bouwe Bosma, and perhaps more importantly, when Dan Fitchett made up a front two with Luke Hopper.

WilliamsNew signing Alawode-Williams in action. - Copyright Michael Berkeley

The first half, like most of the match, was scrappy, but Lango were first to threaten on 16 minutes when the impressive Andronicos Georgiou went across the edge of the Salisbury box but put his effort wide of the mark. Throughout the game, he had looked to be their best player and in the later stages threatened more when the Whites were forced to rearrange their defence, Jack Sparkes leaving the action because of Exeter City’s restriction of his playing time.

On 26 minutes Tom Whelan was first to show anything positive, but a wild thrash at the ball from 30 yards did no more than allow the keeper to watch it to safety. Five minutes later Whelan was very unlucky however, with a difficult chance as a ball from Matt Partridge came to him over his right shoulder. The midfielder nearly succeeded with a first-time effort, but the ball went agonisingly past the upright.

Six minutes before the interval Whelan again manufactured a chance for himself going along the edge of the box before seeing his finish deflected for a corner and a minute later he got to the bye-line and pulled the ball back to Lewis Benson to fire well over the top when he might have done better, pitch allowing, that is. In the first half therefore, it seemed that Salisbury were coping with whatever was being thrown at them, but straight after the restart the home side reacted.

Five minutes in Georgiou (who else?) cut in before launching his attempt well over the top before on 56 minutes bringing a great save at full stretch from Jake Hallett, but the increased pressure told as the home side went ahead just after the hour whenfollowing a scramble in the Salisbury area the ball broke kindly to Stevie Ward, who slotted home from close range.

Salisbury woke up and, with almost his first touch, Shephard might have equalised after the ball was laid back to him by Hopper. He let fly with a first-time left foot effort which brought the best from Tokarczyk - the first of many of the keeper's actions in preserving his side's lead.

On 73 minutes Aaron Dawson forced him into a great save and three minutes later Fitchett burst through the centre of the defence but was blocked out by combination of the keeper and Jorrell Johnson. Shephard's magic reverse ball then produced another chance for Fitchett whose effort was deflected to safety, before Lango's Georgiou nearly added a second goal direct from a free-kick.

It seemed as though the points were going to remain in Hertfordshire when Hopper fired at the keeper on 91 minutes but with five minutes of added time played one point was salvaged by Shephard's free-kick which, from 25 yards or so, left the keeper only able to watch as it fizzed into the net.

ShephardShephard's first touch, first time effort kept out by Tocarczyk. - Copyright Michael Berkeley

A further two minutes of added time followed when the Whites should have grabbed all the points. The dismissal of Dylan Switters on 93 minutes could have been instrumental in the final chance falling to Danny Young, through one-on-one, but he failed to make the most of it, firing straight at the keeper.

Had the Whites started the game as they finished it, those precious points would have been brought back to Wiltshire, and although any reward away from home is good, this was a case of what might have been.

“Might have been” becomes “will be” now - a tough game at home to Basingstoke on Saturday. Town suffered a narrow defeat at Chesham United by the odd goal in three after recently putting ten goals past Staines and defeating Kings Langley 3-0. It goes without saying that a three point return from this game is absolutely necessary, with there being a five-point gap between ourselves and Taunton, having played the same number of games, and also of course forgetting those other clubs in contention.

Kings Langley: Tokarczyk, Osborne, O'Keefe, Johnson, Adebiyi, Switters, Ward (Connolly 80), Cook, Howe, Weiss, Georgiou.
Subs not used: Hitchcock, Coldicott-Stevens, Ofosu, Collier.

Salisbury FC: Hallett, Alawode-Williams, Sparkes (Fitchett 70), Whelan, Partridge, Wheeler, Benson, Dawson, Hopper, Bosma (Shephard 60), Young.
Subs not used: Mullings, Sommerton, O'Keefe.

Attendance: 219 Referee: S Cheek (Stevenage)