Amesbury Town 0 Salisbury FC 3
Salisbury Hospitals Cup Semi-Final.
Tuesday, 9 April 2019
By Alec Hayter
This was the type of game that is a "no-win" situation for the Whites, the predicament being whether to risk embarrassment or injury against a Sydenhams Wessex Division One side at the top of their league by playing senior players, or whether to play a younger squad with the embarrassment of being labelled Salisbury FC and perhaps losing the tie.
The Whites did win on a couple of counts; one being the result and the other having had a useful training game without incurring any obvious injuries. The size of the task facing Amesbury Town was rather aptly summed up by one of their players before the game who, in a brief conversation as to whether the match would go to extra time and penalties if necessary, commented: "I'll settle for just penalties now, and forget the 90 minutes!"
A near full-strength Salisbury side took the pitch and only 7 minutes to go into the lead, having been unlucky not to do so seconds earlier when Matt Partridge saw his effort cleared off the home goal line. The opener came when Claudio Herbert slotted home to effectively end the contest as although the home side stuck to their task throughout and did their best without any desperate strong arm tactics, (all credit to them), there was only ever going to be one winner, a fact borne out by my record which showed their having produced only three half chances throughout.
Claudio clobbers the first. - ©Michael Berkeley
Salisbury got their second goal on 22 minutes when Bay Downing slipped a delightful ball through the middle for the unchallenged Chris Flood to finish, but then as far as goals were concerned we had to wait until the 76th minute before the third arrived through Kane O'Keefe.
Chris Flood and Kane O'Keefe complete the scoring! - ©Michael Berkeley
In summary, the visitors passed and passed and passed again on a difficult pitch, giving their hosts little chance, but unfortunately did not score and score and score! It would be a dereliction of duty not to mention at this point two glaring misses during the game when chances fell to Danny Young (enough said about those!), which, had they been taken, would have made the scoreline more reflective of the balance of play.
With so much time and space available to Salisbury, it's unlikely that much was learned from what turned out to be a gently- paced training session which was unfortunately scant reward for the majority of the crowd who made the short journey from the City. It was though a useful workout in match mode as opposed to pure training.
Salisbury can now look forward to meeting Bemerton Heath Harlequins in the Final at Laverstock and Ford' s ground, on a date yet to be determined.
One point of interest for travelling fans last evening was the appearance of Rhys Evans in goal who was signed as cover shortly before the season’s registration deadline. It was difficult to tell a lot about him as he had so little action during the evening but his record pedigree is very good. He is now concentrating on a goalkeeper coaching role, but formerly had vast experience with Swindon Town, Blackpool, Millwall, and Bristol Rovers, as well as a post in the latter stages of his career at Hereford as their goalkeeping coach. He has also been involved at Hellenic League side Royal Wootton Bassett.
The virtually untested Rhys Evans - ©Michael Berkeley
Amesbury Town: Crease, Palmer, Blake (Denyer 76), Jordon Matthews, Vallis, Ritchie, Hogan, Stubbs, Finnegan, Greenaway, Jordan Matthews (Roach 82).
Sub not used: McHardy.
Salisbury FC: Evans, Downing, Sommerton, Dawson, Partridge, O'Keefe, Benson (Rayfield 65), Mullings, Flood (Burden 67), Herbert, Young.
Subs not used: Fitchett, Hallett, Wheeler.
Attendance: 98 Referee: J. Welsh