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Fawley AFC 2 Salisbury FC 4 - match report

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.

Attendance: 325.

AFC Dunstable 0 Salisbury FC 3 - match report

FA Vase 4 Round Proper

Sunday 10 January 2015

By Alec Hayter

Another away tie, and another win which saw the Whites go into the draw for the last 16 – a wonderful achievement for a club only reborn at the start of the season, and more cup excitement still in the offing for the Salisbury players, management, and not least the Whites' faithful who turned out in their droves to support their team.

The Whites gave a debut to keeper Charlie Searle, and he soon impressed, using his finger tips to push a left foot drive from Dunstable’s Nathan Frater over the bar on 7 minutes. However, the visitors began to get the measure of the long ball tactics being used against them and gradually moved the action into their opponents half, Kane O’Keefe just over-running the ball from George Colson’s cross 10 minutes later.

The reward for the pressing came 2 minutes later, Dan Demkiv delivering the ball from the right to Sam Wilson. With the keeper stranded, Wilson (pictured) side stepped a defender and blasted his side into the lead.

On 23 minutes the second came from the same combination – another Demkiv cross from the right, this time low – and after a home defender thrashed at the ball there was Wilson to take advantage, again from close in. It was Sam's 24th goal of the season, his 7th in cup competitions.

Salisbury were beginning to look comfortable, and in fact almost too much so as the tempo in their game dropped a little, with the opponents being given perhaps a tad too much space, and obviously some encouragement..

BJ Christie, spearheading the home attack, let fly from outside the box in a rare effort on goal, his side looking a little bemused with Salisbury in control, and two minutes before the break it seemed “game over” when Stephen Walker headed in their third, this time from a Tom Whelan corner. Keeper Ricky Perks pursued the referee with his protests right up to the half way line, as apparently he felt he had been obstructed. Well, the referee didn’t think so, and my guess is that this was an attempt to cover his error in allowing Walker’s header through his arms when he should really have caught the ball.

Happy at the break, and with another 45 minutes to come, it was natural to think that there were more goals to come as well, as the Whites have a habit of scoring lots in second halves, but it was not to be, and in fact most of the problems they faced in that second period were caused by themselves, and might have proved disastrous with a much closer result than 3-0.

Of course everyone expected Dunstable to have a go, but they were helped in no small measure by some sloppy play in midfield and defence, in which areas the home side were given too much space.

The first warning came 9 minutes in, when Frater screwed an effort wide, and that chance was quickly followed by another, this time when Christie’s cross shot was kept out by Searle’s outstretched hand. To his further credit, he was up in time to help clear the remaining danger.

On 59 minutes, Searle would probably have had little chance had Jermaine Hall been able connect with a great ball across the box, and 10 minutes later the keeper again came to the rescue blocking out Brandon Carney in a one on one.

In the meantime, Salisbury had made two substitutions, and regular supporters were not surprised to see the usual changes – Claudio Herbert for Demkiv, and Taurean Roberts for Danny Young. Roberts however did not last long, becoming involved in a “situation “ after a bit of Dunstable rough stuff. He was dismissed alongside Dunstable’s Jason Beck. Enough said, although I would like to see the video, to confirm my impression that Roberts was not really the instigator of trouble. My first impression was that he had been man-handled in the same way that most Salisbury players had suffered throughout the game, most of which offences unfortunately went unpunished.

In a last desperate flurry Charlie Gorman sent an 84th minute 20 yard drive just over, but by then it probably would have been too late to matter, except to destroy the clean sheet that Searle deserved.

Sundays are apparently still devoted to worship by some, but there was not much to worship about the playing methods of AFC Dunstable who, from the outset, appeared to believe that they could bludgeon their way into the next round. They come from the Spartan League, and as a colleague said to me, they provided “not the kind of football I want to see every week”. Correct. The team's tactics were very spartan - although it should be said the club itself was very hospitable.

There will be talk therefore of  “winning ugly” but there should also be “job done”, as on the first half the Whites thoroughly deserved to go into the last 16 – a great achievement in itself but not yet enough to quench the thirst of many a supporter as excitement builds.

My lasting impression was that at least 75% of the 512 crowd came from Wiltshire – SUPERB, leaving one to wonder what it could be with a home draw.

AFC Dunstable: Perks, Massay, N Carney, Beck, Cashman, B Carney (Crowys 81), Frater, Olaleye. Christie, Gorman, Hall (Humbert 67).

Subs not used:  Darby, Griffiths, Jones.

Salisbury FC: Searle, Colson, Perrett, Whelan, Walker, Brockway, Demkiv (Herbert 66), O’Keefe, Wilson (Matthews 78), Mundy, Young (Roberts 66).

Referee: S. Bates.

Attendance: 512.

Salisbury FC 3 Bemerton Heath Harlequins 1- match report

Sydenhams Wessex Premier League

Monday 28 December 2015

By Alec Hayter

IN WHAT was confirmed to be an all-time attendance record for the Sydenhams Wessex League, a remarkable 1,485 people turned up to see the Whites add another three points to their record, but it must be said that the hosts were not at their best, although they did enough against their Premier Division neighbours and city rivals.

My standing joke with Mick Jenkins, the Whites' Director of Football, has been “Only six?” since the win away at Team Solent, but after the derby victory, that was revised to “Only three?”. The fact that it WAS only three was down to some unusual wastefulness in front of goal as much as the visitors’ efforts to stem the tide. However, most of the crowd will have seen enough from the Whites to return again and again and lend their support in what will surely be a very exciting second half of the season.

After Dan Demkiv’s shot hit the post with only 26 seconds on the clock, the Whites spent most of the first half, and indeed the second, in the Harlequins’ half, although on nine minutes Russell Cook might have hit a cross-shot with more venom and caused Nathan Ball in the home goal more concern. A goal might have got a reaction, and possibly an unwanted one as far as Harlequins were concerned!

With Salisbury playing at little more than half their usual pace, the game was fairly low key until the 30th minute when Tom Whelan’s corner from the right was headed powerfully goalwards by Kane O’Keefe, with the ball brushing Calum Brockway close in. The last touch meant it was Brockway’s goal but even he will acknowledge a great assist from his captain.

Five minutes later the lead should have been doubled when Danny Young, returning against his former club after an injury absence, sprinted to the bye-line, looked up, and pulled a low pass back to Sam Wilson. Any betting man would have put a lot of money on a goal, but any betting man would therefore have lost his stake as the normally prolific striker sliced his effort disappointingly wide of the mark.

Harlequins’ relief was short-lived though as in the 41st minute Dan Demkiv took on the whole left side of the visitors’ defence,(by way of a special birthday celebration, having turned 19 on Boxing Day?), twisting this way and that before being scythed down by William Robinson. You could almost feel sorry for the defender... Well not really!

Referee Federico Ardiles (yes, you’ve guessed it – son of the famous Ossie of Tottenham Hotspur and Argentina) had his easiest decision of the day in awarding a penalty, which Wilson dispatched to double the advantage. Bemerton keeper Joe Prodomo guessed right and got a touch, but his attempt to keep the ball out was defeated by power.

2-0 became 3-0 within 6 minutes of the re-start, when an exchange of first time passes between Wilson and Young saw Wilson belt in a volley from 22 yards. In the press box we were behind the flight of the ball, which went straight and true into the net before Prodomo could move.

It was yet another quality goal, and one which in itself made the huge crowd’s visit worthwhile! I have often said recently that a better goal would not be seen on Match of the Day and I’ll say that again. It was Sam's 22nd of the season in all competitions.

After Wilson’s Lord Major’s show though, came - and went - a golden opportunity for his hat-trick. A ball into the box saw him in space, with ample time to turn (perhaps too much time!, but he was thwarted by Prodomo when he should really have made it four.

That chance arrived on 59 minutes, but we had to 25 minutes for the final action. At the Harlequins’ end Claudio Herbert latched on to a ball in the clear, but instead of taking a touch, elected to try and send a first time low cross to into the danger area, which evaded two Whites’ players and was cleared. It is much easier to say that from the press box though than to do the right thing on the pitch!

The final action went to Bemerton, and was a clean sheet disappointment, as Sam Griffin lifted the ball past Ball for a consolation goal.

Tougher tests are to come, in the shape of Horndean and AFC Dunstable over the next fortnight, the first against fellow title chasers next Tuesday (January 5th) and the other in the FA Vase on the following Sunday. A couple of similar results will do very nicely thank you, no matter how they are achieved!

Salisbury FC: Ball, Colson, Perrett, Whelan, Walker (Jarvis 64), Brockway, Demkiv

(Herbert 58), O’Keefe, Wilson, Mundy, Young (T. Roberts 52)

Subs not used: Matthews, S. Roberts

Bemerton Heath Harlequins: Prodomo, Thompson, Dawes, Legg, Biles, Mankin (Slade 64), Robinson (Burden 53), Hubbard, Cook, Lovell (Cook 67), Griffin.

Subs not used: Roberts, Eves.

Referee: F. Ardiles.

Attendance: 1,485.

Salisbury FC 6 Laverstock & Ford 1 - match report

Saturday 19 December 2015

Wiltshire Senior Cup

By Alec Hayter

The Joy of Six once more descended on the Ray Mac with another comprehensive victory but this time in addition the Whites took revenge on local rivals Lavvy, who had inflicted a narrow defeat on them recently in the Salisbury Hospitals Cup.

The “six appeal” theme has entertained home crowds for a while now. Since October, in all competitions, opposing teams’ nets have bulged with six goals six times, and on one occasion seven goals were scored. Value for money, by my reckoning.

The intent was shown early on, although for much of the match Salisbury did not have, or need, to reproduce the intensity they have shown on other occasions, evidenced by the single goal half-time lead.

The scoring might have started earlier but Lavvy Keeper Acer Burton did well to touch a Taurean Roberts drive into the side netting on six minutes. Roberts showed early on that he was in the mood, and later on demonstrated that with some dazzling runs, assists, and most memorable of all, a spectacular strike for Salisbury’s third.

Laverstock’s Archie Lovegrove showed that his team would try to have some say in matters when, on 9 minutes he curled an effort just outside the post from the edge of the box. He later put a 25-yard effort narrowly wide, but that was all that was seen of the visitors as an attacking force until the game’s very last seconds.

Roberts provided a 26th minute cross, but after Robbie Matthews chested the ball down, his finish was deflected wide. The scoring commenced, though, only two minutes later with a simply crafted opener. Claudio Herbert, sent in a perfect cross for Ashley Jarvis to glance a header into the net.

Three minutes before the interval Burton pulled off a great stop from Kane O’Keefe’s rising howitzer, and thus the Whites had to be content with a single-goal interval lead.

I doubt if many in the crowd were too perturbed, as they know all about second-half performances, and they were not disappointed. Two minutes after the restart O’Keefe, playing against his former club, virtually killed off the match as a contest, reacting swiftly to head home Roberts’s driven cross. It must be said that a searching pin-point pass from Jack Vallis out of defence had started what was a fine move.

Roberts wanted some action for himself, and was unlucky to see his skilful lob, on the run, hit the bar. He had his reward, though, on 54 minutes with what, up until now, must be the goal of the season. Herbert’s corner reached him, and Roberts’ sizzling 25-yard half volley nearly broke the net, with keeper Burton only seeming to move after the scorer had performed his overjoyed cartwheels. It was now 3-0 and a question of “how many”?

Three, to be precise, in the space of 19 minutes. O’Keefe got his second with another header on 57, from Herbert’s corner, and with 22 minutes remaining Eddie Perrett waltzed through the visitors’ defence, finishing his solo run with a low shot to make it five.

Dan Demkiv had entered the fray shortly before and he also got into the act, cutting inside before hitting a firm and classy left foot shot into the far corner.

The Joy of Six was just a little dampened by the Disappointment of One, a very late consolation goal scored by Russell Jones to spoil the clean sheet. Also, milliseconds before the referee blew, Adam Jones could have added a second but missed the target when clean through. These things will not have pleased the boss, but maybe will be forgiven just once at this festive time of the year.

In the end, it was a good win for the Sydenhams Wessex Pemier team of the month for November over the winners of the Division One award. Whites will now play a semi-final scheduled for the week beginning Feburary 15th 2016 against either Bemerton Heath Harlequins, Corsham Town or Melksham Town.

Most of the crowd, a fantastic turnout of 493 on the last shopping Saturday before Christmas, will have some good memories of the game, and most, I am sure, cannot wait for the next home game, a juicy local Derby against Bemerton Heath Harlequins on Monday 28th December. Don’t be late, it’s a 2 pm kick-off!

Salisbury FC: Ball, Colson, Blake, S. Roberts, Vallis, Perrett, Herbert (Herbert 71), O’Keefe (Whelan 62), Matthews, Jarvis, T. Roberts (Wilson 74).

Subs not used: Walker, Mundy

Laverstock & Ford: Burton, Hoare (Bourner 60), Dorrington, Morgan, Donohue, Wykes (O’Hagan 70), Lovegrove, Gallagher, A. Jones, Mundy (Hurst 60), R. Jones.

Subs not used: Clifton, Newman-Judd.

Referee: O. Ballinger.

Attendance: 493.