Match Report – Salisbury FC vs Poole Town

Match report photo right

Match Report – Salisbury FC vs Poole Town


No matter what your view on pre-season games, many will feel a sense of relief, combined with excitement that the ‘warm-up’ has now come to an end and the ‘real thing’ starts next weekend…

As far as this final pre-season opportunity to complete preparations for the season goes, the opposition, in the form of Poole Town, from the same division as the Whites, proved to be a decent reflection of what the side should expect come the time when points start to be dished out. Salisbury started with three players (Ricky Wellard, Shaquille Hippolyte-Patrick and Nathaniel Oseni) who, at kick-off, were not signed but the first two showed enough in the game to be offered contracts immediately following the conclusion of the match.

The rest of the starting line up bore a greater resemblance of what may be the starting line-up next weekend than in previous friendlies, with a back four of George Coulson, Kevin Amankwaah, Oseni and Josh Sommerton behind a midfield five with Lewis Benson wide on the right, Hippolyte-Patrick on the opposite flank and Aaron Dawson, Wellard and Darren Mullings in central roles. This left Dan Fitchett to start as a lone striker, though he was supported by Wellard in the attacks.

Early exchanges, and in fact much of the first half, produced little in terms of clear goalscoring chances, with both sides cancelling each other out. That said, these 45 minutes will have served as a more realistic work out than those experienced over previous weeks. The first opportunity of any note came on 14 minutes when Dawson started a move in the centre of the pitch and then after some neat interplay, picked the ball up again out on the wide right and delivered an accurate cross only for Fitchett to head well wide of the left-hand post.

While neither keeper nor defence was put under significant pressure, the returning Gerard Benfield in the Salisbury goal looked confident and assured when he did need to get involved and the back four seemed to have formed the basis of an understanding, with the 22-year-old Oseni, who has spent time in the academy setups at both Man City and Fulham, looking to have a touch of class and composure about him. Poole did produce one opening when, on 29 minutes, a long ball over the top found ex-White Marvin Brookes (fresh from his stint on ‘Love Island’), clear on the right wing but much to the enjoyment of the home crowd, he fired well wide.

Just after the half hour mark, another Salisbury chance came as Luke Cairney in the Poole goal came well out of the 18 yard box towards the left hand touchline to claim a ball; he failed, but this time Sommerton, who had won the ball well didn’t quite get a clear sight of the empty goal and chose to play the ball in-field giving the keeper a chance to regain his position, and for the attack to peter out. Benson did also test the keeper with one of his trademark free kicks on 41 minutes, but Cairney proved more than equal to the task and claimed the ball comfortably.

Half time provided a change in shape with Wellard, Fitchett and Mullings being replaced by Toby Holmes, Warren Bentley and Ollie Knowles. This appeared to give a better balance to the side, by adding Knowles’ creativity to the exciting attacking potential of Hippolyte-Patrick which helped Salisbury’s forwards to be less isolated than before the break.

Salisbury had a penalty shout waved away on 55 minutes when Benson appeared to have been pulled back just inside the area, but that was just the start of numerous chances at both ends in what was a far more entertaining second period. The best chance came on the hour when Bentley found Holmes with a through ball, only for the ex-Wimborne man to put his shot just wide to the right with the keeper beaten. This partnership certainly showed signs that the two front men are starting to form an understanding of each other’s game which is sure to give hope ahead of the season opener.

In the 61st minute, Jacob Bancroft came on for Dawson which prompted Hippolyte-Patrick to switch to the right flank. It wasn’t long before Bancroft tested the keeper when, on 69 minutes, his pace allowed him to create the space to fire a shot straight at Cairney – things were starting to come to life!

Poole ensured Benfield was called into action when they won a free kick in the 70th minute but as with most sights of goal up until this point there was never any real danger of the stopper being beaten and his handling proved more than adequate when attempting to keep his clean sheet.

Unfortunately, on 74 minutes, Holmes looked to have picked up a knock which hopefully won’t prove too serious but, with the Chesham game only seven days away, the sensible option of replacing him with Nuno Felix was taken. At this point, Coulson was withdrawn and Charlie Rayfield took his place. These changes saw Sommerton pushed forward into the left midfield role with Bancroft joining Bentley in the front two.

20190803 Salisbury v Poole Town 8613Sommerton scores the whites first - ©Michael Berkeley

On 76 minutes a Salisbury corner was met with a strong header by Sommerton which, after being blocked was very nearly bundled in for an opening goal. Further changes came in the 80th minute when Charlie Burden and Charlie Cooper replaced Benson and Amankwaah – the latter clearly gaining fitness after limited game time in recent years and four minutes later, finally the opening goal came. A long pass forward flew over the last man in the Poole defence and Sommerton reacted quickest, finding himself chasing to get to the ball just ahead of the Poole keeper and the desperate lunge of the stricken centre back to poke it between Cairney’s legs and into the net.

20190803 Salisbury v Poole Town 8657Bentley doubles the lead at the death - ©Michael Berkeley

Based on the limited chances throughout the game, many would have thought that 1-0 would be the final score but by now, Salisbury were looking more and more threatening and the tricky-looking Hippolyte-Patrick used his quick feet to create an opening on 87 minutes only to be unable to keep his shot below the bar. It was from the lively footwork of Hippolyte-Patrick that Salisbury’s second goal came after he found himself in a position to deliver a pinpoint cross from the right, which picked out the sliding Bentley who neatly applied the finish.

In summary, as with all pre-season games, the result although positive was less important than the performance, and this, on the whole, will go down as a decent final stepping stone before things get serious. Some may feel there are still question marks as to how the Whites will line up against Chesham next Saturday but all of those involved with team selection will doubtless have gained much from what they saw in this outing. All that remains to be said is hopefully those present at the RayMac as well as those who choose not to attend pre-season games will now be excited enough to make the journey to Buckinghamshire next week and support the team towards the first of many three point hauls between now and next May!

Dave Drag


Banner Size

Match Report - Salisbury FC v Paulton Rovers

Salisbury FC 2 Paulton Rovers 3
Pre-season friendly
Wednesday 31 July
By Dave Todd

The Whites’ penultimate pre-season friendly was a competive affair, finally settled in our visitors’ favour by an excellent strike three minutes from time by Ben Bament.
Amongst a number of trialists, there was a first appearance from newly signed Kevin Amankwaah, whose former clubs include Bristol City, Swindon Town and Sutton United, as well as making 14 appearances for the old Salisbury City in the Conference Premier.
Paulton settled first and could have taken an early lead with more composure, although it was young Whites’ defender Charlie Burden who prevented Rovers from opening the scoring with a tremendous triple block on the line. Indeed, Burden’s performance alongside the far more experienced Amankwaah was one of the positives of the evening,
As the Whites started to impose themselves on the game Warren Bentley’s close-range effort went over the bar after Cameron Allen’s shot had been blocked, while a flowing move involving Albie Hopkins, Dave Jerrard and Nuno Felix ended with Jerrard’s shot being cleared off the line.
It was Salisbury who opened the scoring after 27 minutes. A neat exchange of passes between Hopkins and Allen saw Hopkins play the ball into the path of skipper Aaron Dawson who shot home from 10 yards.
Ten minutes later the visitors were level, however. Young keeper Will Betts’ short pass to George Colson put the full back under pressure and as Colson played the ball back towards Betts, visiting striker Bament was able to intercept and score with a simple finish.
Before the break there was action at both ends with Hopkins’ curled effort being tipped over for a corner by Paulton keeper Archie Matthews and Betts saving from Ed Butcher.
The second half started brightly for the Whites and after good play involving Jerrard and Darren Mullings, Jerrard fired over from the edge of the area.
After the usual raft of substitutions, it was Rovers who went in front. Brad Abrahams’ long cross field pass found Jacob Sloggett on the left and he evaded Christian Rowe’s last-ditch challenge to shoot past Betts.
The lead lasted only a couple of minutes as a powerful shot from substitute Shaquille Hippolyte-Patrick, who played for Hendon last season, was parried away by Matthews, only for Bentley to fire home the rebound.
The pace of Hippolyte-Patrick and young Swindon Town loanee Jacob Bancroft was stretching the Rovers’ back line and Matthews again saved well from Hippolyte-Patrick.
Dawson then saw his shot crash down off the crossbar following a Whites’ corner before Bament’s shot from distance gave Betts no chance as it flew into the top corner.
With plenty of trialists on display, this evenly matched encounter will have given Steve Claridge food for thought as he finalises his squad before the start of the season with just one more friendly to come, at home to BetVictor Southern Premier South rivals Poole Town this Saturday.


Betts, Rayfield (sub: Colson 30), Felix, Dawson, Amankwaah (sub: Rowe 60), Burden, Gerrard (sub: Knowles 60), Mullings, Allen (sub: Hippolyte-Patrick 60), Bentley (sub: Romero 69), Hopkins (sub: Bancroft 60)
Subs not used: Benson, Fitchett, Sommerton

Paulton Rovers (starting line-up)
Matthews, Harrison, Sen, Hitchings, Allan, Abrahams, Sloggett, Hillard, Bament, Symes, Butcher

Match Report - Salisbury FC v Eastleigh FC

Eastleigh FCSalisbury FC 0 Eastleigh 7

Pre-season friendly

Tuesday 23 July 19

By Alec Hayter

It was good to see 280 of the Salisbury faithful turning out to see this game against National League Eastleigh, which of course followed a long run of home fixtures and perhaps more tellingly two heavy defeats against league opposition. Those who attended will have realised from the way the players set up that this was very much a team cobbled together to fulfil the fixture, with players expected to perform in unaccustomed roles. In particular, the centre of the defence was vertically challenged (!) and this showed in the first 17 minutes in particular when Eastleigh strode into a three-goal lead, with their goals coming from very similar situations involving three free headers which gave Nathan Ball in the Salisbury goal little chance. The first goal came after only 3 minutes through Scott Rendell with a header from only 3 yards out and the other two in this period from Jack McKnight and an unnamed trialist, who must surely have impressed those who were assessing him. It was a case of a makeshift lineup being ruthlessly exploited by a lethal front line to finish the game as any kind of contest in short order.

It was again, unsurprisingly, one-way traffic and on 20 minutes Danny Hollands put an effort just past the post before Ball excelled himself with a superb save from the Spitfires' trialist, but in a rare moment of threat on the Eastleigh goal their keeper Max Strysek flapped at a cross and the ball fell to Toby Holmes who will have been disappointed not to finish one of only three chances that the Whites were allowed during the whole game. The best goal of the evening came on the stroke of half-time when Eastleigh's Rob Atkinson let fly from well outside the box, but there was nearly some cheer for Salisbury when Lewis Benson signed off the first period with a trademark freekick kept out only by the woodwork.

More of the same in the second half would have been good from the Whites and in truth, they did improve, but the visitors steam-rollered a further 3 goals courtesy of more slack defending, an own goal and a well-worked move when Sam Smart fed the ball inside to Tom Bearwish to complete the scoring. Not even the substitution of 8 players, including two new young trialists, Henry Williams and Alex Yearwood had any effect on the outcome.

At least Salisbury supporters had something good in an attacking sense to take away with them when, before the end, a Dave Jerrard freekick found Dan Fitchett whose attempted volley somehow cannoned against himself and wide of the mark. It was that kind of evening.

Fitchett©Roger Elliott

Next up is what should be a much easier task away at Downton on Saturday, which, strikes allowing (not of the football kind), I will have to miss. I would naturally have preferred to take away with me some good memories of the latter friendly matches but can only hope that by the time I return for the home game against Gosport Borough there will have been some better results, but of course that period includes a tough game against Poole Town. Better results will surely follow the return of senior players from injury, which will in turn allow all to perform to their full capabilities in their correct roles. This was regrettably another case of the right game at the wrong time.


Salisbury: Ball, Young, Sommerton, Dawson, Hart, Colson, Benson, Mullings, Holmes, Bentley, Hopkins.

Sub not used: McCarthy.

Subs all used: Fitchett, Allen, Gerard, Cooper, Williams, Yearwood, Romario, Felix .

Eastleigh: Strysek: Partington, Green, Atkinson, Johnson, Boyce, McKnight, Hollins, Rendall, trialist, Miley.

Subs: Baughan, Flitney, Bearwish, Wynter, Scorey, Smart, Payne, Clement, Waterfield.

Attendance: 280                   Referee: Iain Parsons

Match Report - Salisbury FC v Forest Green Rovers

Match report photo right MORE SPACE
Salisbury FC 0 Forest Green Rovers 4

Pre-season friendly

Saturday, 20 July 2019

By Alec Hayter

As luck would have it, this may have been the right game, but, because of injuries and unavailability, maybe it arrived at precisely the wrong time, and although the result was another reverse for the home side, it must be realised that for those reasons this was not a match which would prove an awful lot. However, it did give experience to the younger players, and also provided a stern test for all including a couple of new trialists in Cameron Allen and Owen Davis. The former played up front and has been involved with several clubs following a career start with Bristol Rovers Youth, whilst Davis was given a short exposure following involvement in the Salisbury youth setup. As an indication of the Whites' problems Danny Young was forced to start the game on the right side of the defence and another youth player, keeper Dan McCarthy, who had a short period on the pitch against Swindon Town, played the full 90 minutes. On a positive note, this was the first opportunity to see Toby Holmes in a Salisbury shirt.

YoungDanny did a good job in a new defensive role - ©Roger Elliott

The visitors who took the lead on 13 minutes when Aaron Dawson gave referee Shane Mansfield little choice other than to point to the penalty spot after making contact with Junior Mondal, with the impressive Joseph Mills coverting the spot kick to give his side the lead. Although Rovers were already having the majority of possession, just before the half hour Salisbury produced a good move when Darren Mullings, in an advanced position, pulled a delightful short ball back into the path of Holmes who hit a fierce effort without hesitation, unfortunately narrowly missing the target, but the League 2 outfit were having none of that and two minutes later a good move involving Dayle Grubb and Joseph Mills gave the latter the chance to arrow a ball across the box to the far post where Mondal finished with ease off of the underside of the bar.

A further 10 minutes elapsed before another chance came to Rovers and this time Matt Mills headed just over the top from his namesake's corner, following which an effort from Grubb whistled past the upright. A few seconds before the interval Forest Green made it 3-0 when a fierce effort from Aaron Collins proved too hot to handle for young McCarthy, the ball cannoning off his chest to present Mondal with an easy opportunity.

The second half saw fewer goals than the first but with the same domination by the visitors, and two minutes in McCarthy made an excellent save from Collins, but in spite of further tremendous pressure, Rovers had to wait until 80 minutes before grabbing their fourth when, from a corner, McCarthy managed to parry away an effort, but the ball fell obligingly to substitute Shawn McCoulsky to net easily from close range.

BentleyWarren disappointed the bar got in the way of his last minute spot kick - ©Roger Elliott

With less than a minute remaining, the Whites had a chance to get a consolation goal when Albie Hopkins was brought down in the box, but Warren Bentley's spot kick, although well hit, clattered against the bar. Hopkins, who had joined the action on the hour, nearly profited before the final whistle when Bentley's pinpoint cross found him but he was denied by an excellent stop from substitute keeper Adam Smith.

In the cold light of day, there have been two heavy defeats at the Ray Mac in two games, but it must be remembered that the opposition was of high quality in both and it would have been extremely difficult even had Salisbury had a full squad available. Having said that, many of the goals conceded have been down to poor defending rather that good play by our opponents and that must be addressed. Results in friendly matches are of little importance, but lessons should be learned.

This match provided a good workout as, for most of the 90 minutes, Salisbury were chasing very mobile shadows in Forest Green Rovers, who narrowly missed out after the play-offs for promotion to League 1 last season. It should also be remembered that Rovers fielded a full first-team squad, whilst that paraded by Swindon Town was not far short of that standard either.

Another difficult test comes on Tuesday evening when Salisbury entertain Eastleigh, and when, hopefully, manager Claridge will have more players available, although most if not all of the U18 players will no doubt be engaged in a tough match against Bemerton Heath Harlequins in th final of the Salisbury Hospitals Cup at Laverstock.

Already the Whites have suffered more than their fair share of injuries, but hopefully, once the friendly matches are over, some players will have recovered to play their full part.


Salisbury: McCarthy, Young (Cooper 65), Sommerton, Dawson, Hart (Hopkins 60), Harfield, Benson (Mandson 65), Mullings, Holmes (Bentley 54), Allen (Davis 76), Gerrard.

All subs used.

Forest Green Rovers: Thomas (Smith 45), Godwin Malife, M Mills (Dawson 65), McGinley, Winchester, E Adams (McCoulsky 65), Morton (Williams 65), J Mills (Bernard 45), Grubb, Collins (Rawson 65), Mondal.

All subs used.

Attendance: 300                   Referee: S Mansfield (Chippenham).