FA Vase 1st Round Proper
Saturday 31 October 2015
By Alec Hayter
Two young cheerleaders were seen, possibly for the first and last time at Bremhill View, to mark the occasion of Salisbury’s visit in the FA Vase, and this set the tone for what was a big and important game for the hosts. It was also a big game for the Whites, who must have aspirations of going a long way in the competition.
As it was, the crowd had very good value, as not only did they see eight goals but they also saw three teams in action - and I don’t mean the cheerleaders as the third team on show. No, there were two teams put out by Salisbury - the first half one which allowed Calne to go in drawing 2-2 at half-time, and a second half one which obviously followed the carefully (!) delivered manager’s half time instructions. Had they followed them from the start them maybe the game would have been over by the break.
However, it was “job done” in the end, as always must be the case in cup ties, especially away from home.
The first Halloween scare came in the first minute, as Calne’s Mark Dolman skied a header, but the second saw them take the lead on 17 minutes through Aaron Hopkins, who made the most of the Whites surrendering the ball in midfield before striding on to put a rising shot into the top corner.
The shock horror from that, and the ghosts of the previous Saturday, were soon banished as Salisbury reacted and showed themselves just what they had to do to progress. On 23 minutes a ball from the right was screwed wide by Danny Young (it was not difficult to miscue on this playing surface), but five minutes later Young squared an inviting ball to Tom Whelan who put his finish over the top from 20 yards.
There followed a purple patch with two goals in the space of a minute which might, and perhaps should, have settled things. Another ball from behind the Calne defence gave Brandon Mundy the chance to even things up on 31 minutes, which he took, and seconds later action man Mundy added an assist when his shot came back off the post, allowing Kane O’Keefe (pictured) to net easily for a 2-1 lead.
Saying that that should have been the killer blow was to underestimate the home side’s fight and determination, and after they nearly committed football suicide when defender Marcus Lovesey headed narrowly over his own bar, they got a deserved equaliser six minutes before the interval – an ideal time for them.
Steve Walker lost possession and the ball caught Calum Brockway the wrong side of Stuart Windsor who toe-poked a fairly weak finish past Gareth Barfoot, who must surely have been very disappointed to be beaten at his near post.
2-2 therefore at the interval, but good entertainment for the neutral, though there were not many present, most of the crowd having travelled from South Wiltshire!
After the break the Whites were a completely different outfit, not in personnel, but in their style of play. Just after, I assume, the decorators had arrived to re-paint the away dressing room walls, the lead was restored, and then daylight was put between the sides as the one goal lead became two. Young got to the bye-line on 46 minutes and pulled the ball back for Sam Wilson to net the third, and three minutes later Tom Whelan’s low ball into the box saw O’Keefe get his second.
Calne had reacted very well to conceding two goals in a minute in the first half but could they do the same with another two-goal salvo in a three-minute spell? They did their best and Whites’ supporters held their breath when Barfoot appeared to clatter an onrushing Town forward when exposed one on one. Some referees, but crucially not Derek Pratt on this occasion, might have shown a very important card. After the clash, it was Mundy who got back to clear the ball away from danger.
On 55 minutes Whelan’s cross-field ball found Young, now operating down the right, but he could only shoot just wide of the far post from a fairly tight angle, and two minutes later O’Keefe nearly got his hat-trick, being denied by Calne’s very capable keeper Steve Allison who tipped the header over the bar.
At 4-2, and with twenty minutes remaining, enter “Mooncat” Matthews, but he saw nothing of the action before Barfoot had to redeem himself at the other end with a point blank save. It wasn’t long though before for big Robbie made an impression with almost his first touch, that touch being a calm (nearly wrote Calne!) well placed shot to make it five.
Ashley Jarvis and Jack Maloney were summoned off the bench, replacing Dan Demkiv and Wilson, just before Salisbury fans made a point about the increasingly murky conditions with their mobile phone torches. (Obviously in the northern hemisphere of Wiltshire the effects of the end of British Summer Time had not been noted!).
The supporters should not have worried though as Jarvis, as if to emulate Mooncat‘s “first touch” strike, did almost the same with a volleyed blast for a sixth goal in time added on. The quality of the strike would have lit up many a match, and certainly put a final smile on Salisbury faces.
The Whites march into the next round at the expense of their hosts who did themselves justice and didn’t give up until their legs did, and at the end of the day there were more goals than ghouls!
Calne Town: Allison, Lewis, Pocock, Jeffries, Lovesey, Beasley, Dolman (Jones 70), Hopkins, Windsor (Sawyer 85), Armstrong, Boakes.
Subs not used: Deane, Hamilton.
Salisbury FC: Barfoot, Colson, Perrett, Whelan, Walker, Brockway, Demkiv (Maloney 75), O’Keefe (Matthews 70), Wilson (Jarvis 75), Mundy, Young.
Subs not used: Herbert, Vallis.
Referee: D. Pratt.