Sydenhams Wessex Premier League
Saturday 16 January 2016
By Alec Hayter
The first league action of the New Year saw the Whites pick up a hard-earned three points at Fawley, and possibly because of the number of games played so far this season, along with injury niggles, we also saw five changes from the FA Vase side which beat AFC Dunstable six days earlier.
That much changed line-up however turned a 0-2 deficit into a 4-2 win, and that against a side who worked very hard and never gave up, in much the same way as they had done in October at the RayMac. Salisbury made hard work of some of their game at Dunstable and did the same at the Waterside when on 10 minutes George Colson sold Charlie Searle with a back pass with Fawley’s Ben Bolton in close attendance, the ball squirting sideways to Dan Fry who gleefully dispatched it into an empty net.
Not many of the 250 or so travelling support (brilliant again), were too perturbed, especially as in response, within a minute, Dan Demkiv rose to send a header from Taurean Roberts’s cross just over the top. A fierce critic might suggest that he could have done better but the lightning quick wide man is not perhaps best known for headed goals and he more than made up for that later with a crucial goal.
We then had to wait until 20 minutes had passed before Kane O’Keefe brought a great save from Dease Herrison with a well struck 20 yard free kick. The pressure was building on the home goal but, against the run of play, they added a second, when Dan Fry’s equally well struck free kick clipped the wall and nestled in Searle’s net.
There was now slight unease amongst the Salisbury faithful (I said “oh well, 6-2 then” at that point as I was expecting the home side to run out of steam after their good start – I was wrong about that as they kept going but I have witnesses to my optimistic outcome forecast!).
The chips were down, and Taurean Roberts’s run square ended with a right foot strike that Kerrison did well to get his hand to, let alone touch the ball to safety.
The turning point came when Steve Claridge made the change to bring on leading scorer Sam Wilson, Jack Vallis the unfortunate man who came off, as Whites went to three at the back and two up front. The home side now came under huge pressure.
Soon after that, I felt easier about my prediction when, at an ideal time, six minutes before the interval, Ashley Jarvis (pictured) benefited from O’Keefe’s assist to steer home a low finish.
The Whites tried their best to level things up before the break, with Brandon Mundy setting up Sam Roberts for a 25-yard effort that was well saved, before Mundy got forward himself but was scythed down in the box with no penalty given, to the great surprise of many including yours truly. There will probably be no clearer penalty shouts this season! On another day, Whites may even have had another one earlier when Sam Wilson was manhandled as he looked to challenge for a cross.
To finish off the half Roberts (T) was about to shoot but was foiled by a superb block by Pete Keating, and as the match wore on, getting bodies in the way became a feature of the plucky home side.
Fawley hardly got a look in during the second period, and with only seconds on the clock Roberts (T) arrowed a cross from the left, but O’Keefe could not keep his header down. Jarvis then netted but the “goal” was disallowed for offside (not the first or last time he was caught) but on 58 minutes the equalizer arrived. Once more, the highly mobile Mundy was the provider, getting round the back and crossing to Demkiv, who sent a low shot into the corner to even things up.
There was then only going to be one winner, and just for once, the Whites had a fortunate run of the ball, when a ricochet went straight to Jarvis, who, reacting quickly, grabbed the third on 64 minutes. It was his 15th of the season, a fine return for his limited number of starts.
The home side were still putting in a lot of effort, and Salisbury needed another to be safe. It came on 82 minutes when O’Keefe’s expert chest down gave Sam Wilson the kind of chance he laps up to make it a personal tally for the season of 25 so far.
At the end of the day, 4-2 was a fair reflection, and I don’t mind at all being wrong with my early score prediction. The pitch was, let’s say, not at all helpful or conducive to our style, and how any one played on it was difficult to realize as it suffered from both sticky and slippery patches. I somehow managed to fall flat on my face just walking to my second half vantage point, and I am only too glad that the same fate did not happen to the team in their quest for the points!
Fawley AFC: Kerrison, Longman (E. Earl 59), Keating, K.Earl, C.Lucas, A.Lucas, Johnson (Tanner 74), Sayce, Fry (Kelly 33), Ross, Bolton.
No other subs.
Salisbury FC: Searle, Colson, Hart, S.Roberts, Walker, Vallis (Wilson 27), Demkiv (Young 74), O’Keefe, Jarvis, Mundy, T. Roberts (Herbert 74).
Subs not used: Wedlake, Whelan.
Referee: N. Whitfield.