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Match Report - Salisbury FC v Hartley Wintney

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Salisbury FC 2 Hartley Wintney 0

BetVictor Southern Premier League South

Saturday, 28 September 2019

By Alec Hayter

A rare clean sheet and a very welcome 3 points heralded the Whites' return to league action, and the result catapulted them into fifth position in the table.

This was an efficient if not enthralling fairly low-key game against opponents who seemed unable to offer much threat until Salisbury were reduced to10 men after 80 minutes following an injury to goalkeeper Tom Smith, the Whites already having made all three substitutions, and any reasonable supporter should be grateful for the points.

The Row looked as though they might cause problems early when after only 3 minutes Alexandru Albert took aim from just outside the box, but his effort went well over the top, and that was really the last we saw of the visitors' attack until nearly an hour had elapsed, with much of the play being in midfield.

It was fortunate therefore that after 8 minutes Salisbury went ahead after some good play, and on another day, with a sharper edged attack, they might well have put the game to bed thereafter. Bay Downing got into midfield and started the move which he ended up finishing himself, his ball to Shaquille Hippolyte-Patrick seeing the wide man get into a position to provide an inviting cross which Downing headed in from close range at the far post.

BD CustomBay applies the finishing touch ©Roger Elliott

A couple of minutes later, the defender tried his luck again, letting fly from the edge of the box, but he was denied by a good save from visiting keeper Thomas Williams, and on 33 minutes an attempted clearance from the Rowe defence fell to Ollie Knowles, whose fierce first-time effort may well have beaten Williams had it been a yard either side of him.

Dawson CustomAaron gets stuck in ©Michael Berkeley

Two minutes before the break Salisbury had the relief of a second goal made by Aaron Dawson, who looked much more effective today than of late, when he played the ball out to Lewis Benson who, with some composure, cut inside and scored with a left foot finish – yes, a left foot finish - one for the scrapbook Lewis maybe?

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And that was it for the first half which had seen Salisbury have the majority of possession but only have two goals to show for their efforts. It is said that 2-0 is a dangerous score and that the next goal is important. Well, there wasn't a next goal, although there could have been on 59 minutes when Mickel Platt managed to shake off the attentions of Nathaniel Oseni and was through before launching his shot over the top.

This may have been a lucky let off, but when it comes to luck keeper Williams had his fair share when on 70 minutes Hippolyte-Patrick sent in a fierce right foot effort through a crowded box which the custodian blocked, without possibly knowing an awful lot about it.

With 18 minutes remaining Hartley Wintney began to show some attacking intent and Tyron Smith sent a dipping volley just over the top from 20 yards, before on 80 minutes the visitors had their best chance of the game. A cross from the left missed out the whole of the Salisbury defence to find Nathan Smart in a great position, but Tom Smith in the home goal did what he has done regularly, getting his body in the way. Unfortunately in the process he suffered a ligament injury which may mean that this will have been the last that Salisbury fans will see of him. If that is the case however they will have seen him perform his last act for us in the same efficient manner in which he kept goal during his loan spell. If he now returns to Arsenal, I'm sure we all wish him a speedy recovery and better fortune in what is likely to be a successful career in the game.

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The Whites then had to play out the remaining time with ten men, and, presumably on the grounds of height, Toby Holmes was "volunteered" to go in between the sticks.

Tallest CustomDecision time  - oh well, if I must! ©Roger Elliott

Sometimes the best form of defence is attack though and loanee Gabriel Rogers, who had joined the action at half-time following a head injury to Ollie Knowles, found himself up against the last defender, but still managed to get in a firm left foot shot which was saved by Williams.

The visitors then sensed that they may be able to make an impression against the ten men, and two minutes into added time, Joshua Webb put a snapshot wide from just inside the box. A further two minutes elapsed before Webb blotted his copybook by ballooning another chance over.

To complete the action it was Holmes, the rookie keeper, who will have the best memory when, without having to jump too far off the ground (!) he calmly tipped Smart's effort over the bar.

Although the margin of victory could and perhaps should have been much bigger, a win is a win, but had the opposition have been of higher calibre then things may have been different. There will be a chance on Tuesday evening for players who were not involved today to make their case, and of course it is likely that Leroy Lita will make his debut.

There is therefore plenty to interest supporters in the Southern League Challenge Cup game at Paulton Rovers, and as Rovers are going very well in their league and won 4-0 today, this will be a tough game. If you can get there, that will help us progress into the next round, but please note that the kick-off at Paulton is 7-30, and not 7-45 pm as incorrectly stated in today's programme (because of the stupidity of yours truly!).

The importance of this game, it must be said, pales into insignificance compared to next Saturday’s encounter in the FA Cup against Margate, who lost narrowly on Carshalton Athletic's plastic surface to a goal 12 minutes before the end. Another tough game therefore is in prospect with a lot at stake, so please come and cheer on the Whites in a very important tussle.

Teams

Salisbury FC: Smith, Downing, Sommerton, Dawson, Amankwaah (Wheeler 60), Oseni, Benson, Knowles (Rogers 45), Fitchett (Holmes 74), Bentley, Hippolyte-Patrick.

Subs not used: Lita, Wellard.

Hartley Wintney: Williams, Paget, Bird, Ball, Hollamby, Albert, Smart, Webb, Platt, Rule (Duff 77), Abubakar (Smith 60).

Subs not used: Stepney, Abraham-Barlow.

Attendance: 599                   Referee: M Rushton.

Match Report - Portland United v Salisbury FC

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Portland United 0 Salisbury FC 1

Emirates FA Cup 2nd Qualifying Round

Saturday 21 September 2019

By Alec Hayter

Let's start with the positives - a short list. Firstly, the prize-money and then the potential prize-money in the next round, even for the losers. Secondly, we won the game. Thirdly, seeing Gerard Benfield and Elliot Wheeler named on the bench after lengthy injuries. To include player re-appearances as one of the highlights only serves to illustrate what else occurred, or more accurately, didn’t - and that's it really, as far as footballing on-pitch matters are concerned.

It would be very remiss of me not to mention that Portland United are a credit to their league and encapsulate the true spirit of nonleague football. From the very first contact with a home official, which was a heartfelt, sincere, "welcome to Portland United, it's very good to have you here", everyone encountered at this very friendly Sydenhams Wessex League Premier club was a credit to their setup.

It was a pity, therefore, that the substantial crowd was not treated to the standard of football from Salisbury that should have been on display, bearing in mind the higher level at which the Whites play. I overheard a home supporter say "I don't mind losing today but would be delighted if we scored even one goal." He will have some satisfaction in knowing that his side gave everything and nearly succeeded in getting a reward.

It could and should have been so different, and how George Colson managed to miss the target with a header from about a yard out with less than 2 minutes on the clock is a mystery after he had received a great cross from Lewis Benson.

There followed some midfield sparring before Salisbury survived a half-hearted penalty appeal on 19 minutes, and 3 minutes later, what might have been a good tester for Tom Smith from Ben Morris suffered a deflection to take the sting off the ball and make it easier for the keeper.

Smith was soon in action again, rushing off his line and outside the box to head clear of the onrushing Bailey Rowe and it was not until the 43rd minute that there was any further goalmouth action when the Whites failed to capitalise on an almighty scramble in the home 6 yard box. Within seconds Toby Holmes cut inside before releasing a right foot shot to bring a great stop from home keeper Steve Boore.

Portland responded with a break, Rowe getting away from Nathanial Oseni, but Darren Mullings was on hand to tidy up and the Whites went down the other end straightaway where Warren Bentley showed his craft in feeding Holmes who cut into the box before firing a low finish past the keeper.

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More sparring followed with little to excite until the hour when Rowe again was involved, but his effort was blocked by a massed defence. That further awakened the visitors and Shaquille Hippolyte-Patrick did his share cutting in from the left before ballooning his attempt well over the top from the edge of the box. It was the same player however, who showed the only piece of real quality seen in 90 minutes when his trickery took him to the byeline and further sorcery saw him send in an effort from right foot tucked behind left, which Boore touched over the bar. This skill was, as well as being very welcome, very much out of context with everything else going on.

Portland had given everything they had, and nearly grabbed an equaliser and what would have been a lucrative replay on Tuesday at the Ray Mac when, with 10 minutes remaining, Rowe this time almost turned provider, getting to the left byeline and pulling back an inviting ball for Maxwell Buckler on the edge of the box. Buckler hit his shot with venom, but without sufficient direction to beat a keeper of Smith’s quality, but having said that this was a let off, as well as being a head-holding moment of anguish for the Portland player.

Following a long injury stoppage for head injuries to McKechnie andDarren Mullings many supporters, including yours truly, were looking at their watches to count down added time and during that period another penalty appeal was waved away as a Portland player tumbled just inside the box. The referee had the advantage of being only some six or seven yards from the incident, and therefore must have had a much better view than anyone appealing from touchline distance. A close call though, and had a penalty resulted in an equaliser, not many would have begrudged the Dorset outfit their reward.

MullingsMullered Mullings leaves the action - patched up courtesy of Sam Dible - ©Roger Elliott

At least the home side will have the consolation of knowing that they left nothing on the pitch, and of course have more income than normal from one of the largest crowds they have experienced for some time, including many from Salisbury who were disappointed with most things other than the scoreline, receiving scant return for their effort in making the trip.

I finished a previous report saying "Come on you Whites, you’re better than that." but after today's showing would insert the word "much" – and repeat it. However, we won the game - the main requirement in cup competitions - and now have the draw on Monday to contemplate. We can only hope for our first home game in cups this season to come out of the hat.

Back to league action next Saturday with the visit of Hartley Wintney

Teams

Portland United Squad: Boore, Bastick, Clarke, Williams, King, McKechnie, Morris, Buckler, Symes, Rowe, Beasley.

Subs: Godfrey, Stewart, Cox, Hutchinson, Halloran, Green, Hereka.

Salisbury FC: Smith, Colson, Sommerton, Dawson, Amankwaah, Oseni, Benson, Mullings (Young 76), Holmes (Fitchett 69), Bentley (Wellard 69), Hippolyte-Patrick.

Subs not used: Benfield, Rayfield, Wheeler.

 

Attendance: 574                   Referee: C Scriven.

Match Report - Weston-super-Mare FC v Salisbury FC

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Weston-super-Mare FC 3 Salisbury FC 3

BetVictor Southern Premier South

Tuesday, 17 September 2019

By Alec Hayter

Where to start? Well, as good a place as any is to remind readers of last year's encounters with Weston when in the first FA Cup game the home side were reduced to 10 men but Salisbury failed to capitalise and suffered a late late equaliser to tie it up at two goals apiece. We all know result in the replay-another high-scoring game we lost by the odd goal in 5.

Last night’s sides shared six goals and it must be said that the Whites had a hand, for good and bad, in all of them, and jury’s still out on their ability to defend and avoid costly and careless mistakes, as a team. In the last two away league games Salisbury have lost two-goal leads, but at least last evening it was creditable that they got back into the game after being two goals behind. That was spoiled however by the sad inevitability of suffering a last-minute equaliser and nearly losing the game against ten men. Two points dropped last night, two points at Swindon Supermarine, and two at Tiverton, whilst also saying that a point taken from each of these games is a respectable return.

In a game which started at the 150 mph+ it was Weston who had the first opportunity when after 3 minutes the dangerous Nick McCootie cut in from the right, causing keeper Tom Smith to fairly easily gather his attempt.

Salisbury responded 9 minutes later when Dan Fitchett, tasked as the one in a 4-5-1 formation sent the ball across the face of goal but being the “one” there was no one there to apply the finishing touch, although in what followed Shaquille Hippolyte-Patrick drove the ball goalwards causing appeals for handball. Scarcely had that attack finished before Nathanial Oseni was at fault for providing ex-White Owen Howe, with the ball just outside the box, and Howe took the opportunity with both hands, or rather his right boot, to fire an unstoppable finished past Smith into the top corner.

Once again the aim of not going behind early had been thwarted and four minutes after the goal, a good run from Isaac Pearce forced Smith into another good save.

On 23 minutes,a misplaced pass by Aaron Dawson in midfield saw the ball end up in the left channel where the onrushing McCootie sent a right foot effort past Smith to make it 2-0, both goals the result of two careless assists from the visitors. Thank goodness for the ever lively Fitchett however, who, 6 minutes later, made home keeper Niall Maher stretch to pluck his header from under the bar.

On 35 minutes the Whites got back into it, courtesy of a fine header from Fitchett, who had received an equally fine delivery from Bay Downing operating temporarily on the left. There followed a good period either side of the break when Downing himself sent a long-range effort just over the top, Fitchett had a penalty shout turned down, and then with Downing again going across the box and testing keeper Maher with a left foot effort. The deserved equaliser arrived on 66 minutes, a great Lewis Benson corner seeing Kevin Amankwaah power his way into the 6 yard box to score in the same manner as at Thatcham.

We had hardly finished celebrating before, only 3 minutes later, Hippolyte Patrick cut inside and unleashed a fierce 25 yard effort that benefited from a deflection before landing up in the net. On the second half showing the Whites were now in the position they had earned but, as has been the case recently, it would have been unwise to put money on the scoreline staying the same, and so it turned out as McCootie freed Joe Randall. Smith will have been very disappointed that although the shot was very firm and towards him, he could not keep it out at his near post, and the scores were tied at 3-3.

Unsurprisingly, the Whites always had more of the possession against ten and on 72 minutes another Benson corner found Downing with a home defender deflecting the ball just past the post avoiding an own goal, but then, with the visitors seemingly happy to settle for a point, Weston nearly grabbed a fourth.

With 12 minutes left McCootie got to the byeline and pulled the ball back for Howe to blast his finish nearly out of the ground - and that's saying something as the ball went nearly over the big stand at one end. On 81 minutes, Smith saved the day with brilliant saves in quick succession from Randall and Howe before the last action at the other end saw Amankwaah head goalwards, only for a massed defence to clear almost from their own goal-line.

The home side will have been pleased with the point in the end, as on 66 minutes they lost the services of Sam Hendy, who uttered one of several words which always result in straight red cards to referee Ben Williamson.

A good game for the neutral, but unfortunately I’m not one of those, so it was a bitter disappointment to come away with just the one point!

On Saturday, league matters are temporarily shelved as we travel to Portland United in the FA Cup, and there is no doubt that, without any disrespect intended to them, one side will be treating the game as their cup final. I would like to think that their opponents will do the same, but this game probably illustrates the meaning of "banana skin" to the full. Logic suggests though that if both sides play to their full ability then the Whites should progress. A small word just used, and made up of two letters, has a much larger significance than length, so do your best to get along and support your team.

Teams

WSM: Maher, Mawford, Martin, Laird, Madden, Tindle, Randall, Hendy, McCootie, Howe, Pearce (Malshanksky 58).

Subs not used: Parsons, Davies, Jones, Welch.

Salisbury FC: Smith, Downing, Sommerton, Dawson, Amankwaah, Oseni, Benson, Knowles (Holmes 80), Fitchett, Mullings, Hippolyte-Patrick.

Subs not used: Bentley, Colson, Wellard, Lafleur

Attendance: 518   Referee: B Williamson.

Match Report - Salisbury FC v Metropolitan Police FC

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Salisbury FC 1 Metropolitan Police FC 3

BetVictor Southern Premier South

Saturday, 14 September 2019

By Alec Hayter

There were two new names on the team sheet for this match, but neither Alex Lafleur nor the returning Bay Downing would have enjoyed the outcome as the Whites once again failed to find a way to beat an efficient Metropolitan Police side after what is now four attempts in two seasons.

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The Met exploited the wide open spaces afforded to them in the middle of the park where the Whites were, to say the least, mostly pedestrian, and no one did more with the space than the impressive Ayoub Assal who made the most of his freedoms on loan from AFC Wimbledon.

It nearly started well when on 10 minutes Josh Sommerton fired in a corner for Darren Mullings, well forward, to miscue his header, but goal machine Jack Mazzone, who loves playing against Salisbury, threatened 3 minutes later when he cut in before bringing a great block from Salisbury keeper Tom Smith.

First chance to Darren MullingsFirst chance to Darren Mullings - ©Roger Elliott

After Dan Fitchett had sent a difficult looping effort over the visitors' bar, they went straight to the other end where Mazzone profited from Oliver Knight's threaded ball to beat Smith who, in fairness, nearly kept out the effort. No need for immediate panic however so early in the game, but it was not until just after the half-hour that Salisbury came close, and it was Fitchett again who nearly scored, getting onto a Danny Young cross but heading against the post in a painful slo-mo.

Anyone going for an early cup of tea before half-time will have missed lots of action which started with Mazzone driving a ball across the box with no one on hand to finish the job on 39 minutes and then, seconds later, at the other end, Young connecting well with a ball in from the left to force a good save from keeper Charlie Burns.

End to end for a couple of minutes, and 3 minutes before the interval, the Met proved that Salisbury are not the only team to give away goals, when a sloppy clearance from a defender found Toby Holmes near the byeline. Holmes took a couple of steps forward and then belted the ball towards goal and, to give him the benefit of the doubt, he was credited as the ball entered the net although there was more than a suspicion of a defensive deflection involved.

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Any thoughts Salisbury had of getting themselves back into it were soon dispelled when on 44 minutes it took a last-ditch tackle by Nathaniel Oseni to deny Assal when through, and just before the whistle doubts were confirmed when Mazzone chased the ball down with Kevin Amankwaah trying to shepherd it out to safety. Although it appeared that the defender may have been fouled the referee waved away protests which followed after Mazzone robbed Amankwaah and finished past Smith to give his side a 2-1 interval lead.

As if that were not enough, in the space of two further playing minutes the visitors extended their lead at the start of the second period when the diminutive Assal sneaked into the box and again had time and space against a sleepy defence to head home at the near post. Two very disappointing goals conceded had greatly improved the Met's chances of taking home the points.

The Whites began to have more of the possession but it was not until the hour mark that there was any real cause for optimism. That was a fairly vain hope though as appeals were turned down for handball after Holmes had leathered the ball at a Met defender from close range. VAR might have helped, or maybe not.

Then began a period of more possession, but again with little cutting edge, with George Colson trying his luck from just outside the box on 63 minutes but seeing his snapshot go just the wrong side of the upright. On 70 minutes Bay Downing, playing a wide right role, cut inside onto his left foot but saw his effort saved by Burns, and seconds later Aaron Dawson hit an effort, but again wide of the target.

There was always the chance of a breakaway and on 78 minutes it could have been 4-1 when the visitors got well forward and fired a ball across the luckily empty area in front of of the home goal.

With 7 minutes remaining Salisbury had their best chance of the half to make it an interesting finale when Colson delivered a great free kick into the box but Oseni could only glance his 6 yard header past the post. In time added another Sommerton corner found Colson who headed over the top to indicate that it was not to be for an underpar Whites side, and salt was nearly rubbed into the wounds when well into stoppage time firstly Mazzone whipped a left foot shot just past and then Knight spurned a golden opportunity, allowing Smith to save.

OseniNathaniel Oseni's late chance - ©Roger Elliott

Before the match Steve Claridge had described Metropolitan Police as a nemesis, and so it proved as they put a strong restraining order on anything that Salisbury could produce. They must however have expected a more difficult game, and it is imperative that things improve for Tuesday night's visit to Weston-super-Mare who, somewhat surprisingly, went down at Walton Casuals by 2-1. On Tuesday there will therefore be a game between two sides both wanting desperately to get back on track, and a good contest is in prospect. Both sides will also of course have one eye on their FA cup games on the following Saturday when arguably the Seagulls will have a tougher task at home to Merthyr than the Whites should have away at Portland all things being equal.

Nothing should be taken for granted though and to ensure that your team are given their best chance in these two away games a large travelling support would be appreciated, and would certainly help to get good results.

Come on you Whites, you're so much better than you showed today.

Teams

Salisbury FC: Smith, Colson, Sommerton, Dawson, Amankwaah, Oseni, Young (Downing 59), Mullings, Holmes, Fitchett, Lafleur (Knowles 55).

Subs not used: Betts, Bancroft.

Metropolitan Police: Burns, Akinwunmi, Fisher, Arthur, Robinson, Robertson, Knight, King (McCormach, 68), Mazzone, Assal, Sayoud (Appaiah-Allen 89).

Subs not used: Berchiche, Sterling.

Attendance: 737                    Referee: A Hobbs