Match Report - Amesbury Town v Salisbury FC

FB size©Michael Berkeley

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.

HerbertClaudio 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.

duoChris 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.

EvansThe 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



Match Report - Salisbury FC v Gosport Borough

FB home size RecoveredCopyright Roger Elliott

Salisbury FC 0 Gosport Borough 2

Evo-stik South Premier South

Saturday, 6 April 2019

By Alec Hayter

We are into a new tax year, but that really is no reason why the Whites should tax the patience of their supporters as they undoubtedly did today in a defeat which has seen them hamper their chances of finishing in an advantageous play-off position.

People of a certain age (and there are quite a few amongst Salisbury fans) may remember a song which went "we're poor little lambs who've lost our way", and this just about sums up where we are at present - "poor" being the performance level for much of the game,  "lambs"  as in being led to  the slaughter of  3  wasted points, and, well, losing our way is what has happened in recent times, especially at home, with the exception of a none too convincing win over Farnborough Town.

This occasion should have been a mismatch between a side going for promotion and one fighting relegation, but it might have been difficult for a neutral to identify which team was which. Gosport approached the game in the correct manner and, in the end, thoroughly deserved to take the points, whilst the Whites huffed and puffed and missed some good chances, as well as, to be fair, having some bad luck.

Aaron Dawson, against one of his old clubs, was unlucky to see his volley dip just over from the edge of the box on three minutes, and then 16 minutes later with what turned out to be a lob that caused visiting keeper Pat O'Flaherty some difficulty in touching it over the bar, but for the first 38 minutes, we were mainly watching Gosport show surprising enterprise in attack.

On 7 minutes a Tony Lee cross gave Sam Lanahan a chance which was blocked and 6 minutes later Charlie Davis' corner went into the danger zone with Sam Roberts volleying over the top from close in when he really should have broken the net. After 23 minutes the impressive Ibra Sekajja found himself in front of goal from Harry Medway's pass but saw his effort deflected, and 2 minutes later another Davis corner saw Lanahan head well over the top.

At last, the Whites produced something going forward, with Lewis Benson's cross being headed unfortunately onto and not under the bar by Dan Fitchett. Two minutes before the interval a Chris Shephard corner found Elliot Wheeler, another former Gosport player, but he could not keep his header down, and seconds before the referee blew for the break, Fitchett got to the byeline and pulled back a delightful ball to Shephard who disappointingly missed the target high.

FitchettDan Fitchett's bar-bound header - Copyright Michael Berkeley

Not to be outdone, Gosport's Sekajja then cut in from the left and exercised Jake Hallett, who made a good stop to keep it scoreless after 45 minutes.

Nine minutes into the second half, the Whites produced what was their only good flowing move of the game, started by Bay Downing who moved the ball inside to Tom Whelan. Whelan, in turn, fed Shephard whose left foot blast was kept out by O'Flaherty with some difficulty, and hope sprang eternal. On the hour though, Benson's cross found Danny Young, who headed wide - a good chance gone.

YoungDanny Young's header disappointingly wide. - Copyright Michael Berkeley

Two minutes later Benson's fierce drive was parried by keeper O'Flaherty, the ball eventually finding its way to Jack Sparkes with time and space in front of goal, but the wingback sent a firm shot the wrong side of the upright - a good chance gone again.

SparkesJack Sparkes tries his luck - Copyright Michael Berkeley

Young then had a left foot effort blocked before the visitors took the lead on 66 minutes. Davis made the most of a freekick to loft the ball over the wall and into the corner very tight on the post, and all Gosport had to do from that point was to hold on to what they had, which has probably proved difficult for them in a difficult season, but hold on they did – and more. They were helped in no short measure by Elliot Wheeler's second yellow card on 70 minutes.

It was indicative of Salisbury's malaise when , two minutes later, there was no one present to take advantage of a searing Benson cross which defeated the whole of the Gosport defence, going across the face of goal, and with nine minutes remaining the Whites could have suffered further embarrassment when Sekajja found himself in the clear in front of goal but delayed, allowing his finish to be blocked.

With seven minutes of normal time left, the Salisbury defence parted obligingly as Ben Harding strode through the middle only to fire wide of the target, but that did not faze the visitors as three minutes into time added they got their second goal following box pressure which saw Hallett defy them with great saves on two occasions before being beaten on the third with Lanahan's close range finish. All credit to Borough for not just trying to see out the game.

Of all the teams vying for position at the top of the league, Salisbury appeared to have the easiest run in, but that's not the way it has worked out. Whilst the Whites were woeful today for much of the game, it must also be said that if Gosport had played in today's fashion all season, it is difficult to see why they languish near the foot of the table.

There are four league games remaining, with all but one of them against struggling clubs, and they need three points to book their play-off place. This should be perfectly achievable, and a return to the form of which we know they are capable should enable that, although maybe not in the optimum position to gain promotion.

And, by the way, for those of you not familiar with the song mentioned at the beginning of this report, the last three words are "bah, bah, bah" – my feelings exactly after 93 minutes today - or maybe the words were stronger!


Salisbury FC: Hallett, Downing, Sparkes, Whelan, Partridge, Wheeler, Benson, Dawson, Fitchett, Shephard (Hopper 72), Young (Sommerton 75).

Subs not used: Mullings, Flood, O'Keefe.

Gosport Borough: O'Flaherty, Medway, Reid, Harding, Roberts, Casey (Byrne 86), Lee (Barker 31), Davies, McAllister (Pennery 64), Lanahan, Sekajja.

Subs not used: Tubbs, Hoare.

Attendance: 714                   Referee: C. Nzenga (Southsea)

Match Report - Staines Town v Salisbury FC

FB home size RecoveredCopyright Michael Berkeley

Staines Town 1 Salisbury FC 7

Evo-stik South Premier South

Saturday, 30 March 2019

By Alec Hayter

7-Up! I'll drink to that - but cannot conceal some frustration that the scoreline was not more, as the Whites took a long time to make hay after an early lead and even might have gone behind. However, that matters little, the important thing being another three points gained. As much of a banker that this game might have appeared to be, it is always true that there are no easy games and also that you have to beat what’s put in front of you, but Salisbury made unnecessarily hard work of their task against a side already facing relegation and possibly more.

The one thing that Staines didn’t lack was heart and they had the first chance after three minutes when Arjun Jung should have done better than hit an eight yard finish at Jake Hallett. Maybe this was the required warning shot, as nine minutes later Salisbury took the lead through Danny Young, who had the easiest of tap-ins after Dan Fitchett shrugged off his defender and squared the ball across the face of goal.

YoungDanny Young gets an early opener. - Copyright Michael Berkeley

Even though being behind early on, Staines still managed to manufacture a half chance, but  Andy Juett missed the target from the edge of the box on 14 minutes.

Shortly afterwards the visitors should have increased their lead when a Jack Sparkes corner was headed back across by Matt Partridge to Lewis Benson whose header from close in sailed over the top.

The Whites seemed able to slice through the home defence almost at will and Sparkes saw a 25 yard free-kick pushed round by keeper Levis Dixon, whilst on 29 minutes a good exchange of passes between Fitchett and Benson saw the latter's effort well saved by the home keeper.

Maybe that save gave Staines fresh hope which was fulfilled within seconds when they levelled the scores. Bay Downing was nutmegged by Matt Bremford who swiped a 25 yard left foot effort across Hallett. Having just conceded, the Salisbury keeper then turned temporary villain when he was adjudged to have brought down Jung in the area, but the young Swan could not get his cygneture(sorry!) on the score-sheet, seeing Hallett redeem himself with a good but fairly comfortable save to his right.

HallettRedemption time as Jake makes the save. - Copyright Michael Berkeley

Having survived that scare the Whites returned to the attack and Downing got round the back of the home defence to connect sweetly with the ball, nearly breaking the crossbar with his first time volley. The chances were coming but unfortunately the chances were also going.

On 36 minutes Chris Flood flicked the ball to Fitchett whose attempt was blocked by the last defender, the resultant corner falling eventually to Tom Whelan who blasted well over from 22 yards.

Five minutes before the interval Benson ballooned his shot as well, after he had been given time and space in a dangerous area, and just before the half-time whistle he was involved again, this time trying unsuccessfully to curl a free-kick around the wall.

It must have been a shock to the system for travelling fans to see their team only level at the break and having had to survive a penalty, but things were to some extent righted in the second half which started with Flood putting in Young on 48 minutes, and then flicking the ball through to Fitchett. Whilst Young shot wide, Fitchett turned his defender with ease and completed the job, allowing the Whites to lead for the second time in the match.

With 21 minutes remaining Salisbury established a two-goal cushion when Benson had a free-kick near the goal-line, and the ball eventually reached Matt Partridge who again did the woodwork no good whatsoever as his thunderous volley went in off the underside to make it 3-1.

PartridgeMatt P makes it three. - Copyright Michael Berkeley

Staines were stung once more and Hallett had to make a flying save from Alex Yearwood's 25 yarder, but a two-goal cushion became three on 74 minutes after the Swans failed to clear and Chris Shephard profited with a low shot giving the keeper no chance. Shephard, who had only joined the action just after the hour, got his second a couple of minutes later with another poacher’s goal after Tom Whelan's shot was blocked.

ShepShep's four-minute brace. - Copyright Michael Berkeley

Enter Luke Hopper, and within six minutes he grabbed the sixth goal following good work by Shephard and Benson. With four minutes left, Hopper robbed central defender Ryan Handelaar and bore down on goal with only Dixon to beat. The keeper, who had done well throughout, nearly succeeded against a hesitant Hopper, but luckily the ball broke kindly and he scored the seventh at the second attempt to complete the numbers game.

HopperLuke putting a smile on doing what strikers like best. - Copyright Michael Berkeley

As we’ve come to expect, the Whites never slacken off towards the end of a game, with Benson getting into the area two minutes into time added but seeing his deflected effort fall to Partridge who was denied by some more desperate defending.

Next up is Gosport Borough on Saturday, who, like today's opponents, are struggling this season. Maybe supporters can look forward to a glimpse of their former hero Matt Tubbs, but hopefully his involvement, if it happens, will not have a telling effect. Gosport suffered a narrow 1-0 defeat at home to Harrow Borough today.

It is of paramount importance that Salisbury make the most of their remaining home games to keep up their challenge for a good play-off position.

After today's games Kings Langley moved into the play-offs, at Poole Town’s expense so, with six league games left, it's not unreasonable to start thinking as to who we might face in the playoffs. Nothing is guaranteed though, although after a great campaign it would be a travesty not to have to extend the season.


Staines Town: Dixon, Pilbeam, Miskin, Agombaro, Handelaar, Harrison (Yearwood 56), Jung, Campbell-Young, Juett, Krabbendam, Bremford (Fry 41).

Subs not used: Lazurca, Roundi, Newton.

Salisbury FC: Hallett, Downing, Sparkes, Whelan, O’Keefe, Partidge, Benson, Dawson (Mullings 79), Fitchett (Hopper 76), Flood (Shephard 63), Young.

Subs not used: Wheeler, Herbert.

Attendance: 210                               Referee: M Ryan (Littlehampton)

Online Programme available here. 

Wyvern Challenge Cup Win - Match Report


FB home size RecoveredPhoto by Pete Robinson

Salisbury FC Development Squad 2 Baffins Milton Rovers 0
Played at Romsey Town By-pass Ground
Wyvern Combination Football League Challenge Cup Final
Friday 29 March 2019

By Alec Hayter

The young Whites grabbed the first cup success of the season for their Club, and in order to achieve that had to overcome a Baffins Milton Rovers team who have won 16 of their 19 league games and currently enjoy a 15 point lead in the East Division. In winning the Cup, they also condemned their opponents to receiving only runners-up medals for the second time in succession.

That in itself speaks highly of the Development squad's quality, but a good many supporters in the crowd from Wiltshire saw that for themselves as their side tore into their opponents, completely dominating the first half and then, after a good second half response from Rovers, coming on strong towards the end when they might well have added to the scoreline.

As it was, they raced into a two-goal lead within 11 minutes, and it was Charlie Cooper's terrorising of Rovers' defender Brandon Rogers that resulted in a two minute lead. The winger was unceremoniously stopped as he was about to pull the trigger and Jack Roberts delivered the first of many dangerous free kicks into the box, the ball taking a deflection before going in past keeper Ethan Chapman.

Nine minutes later it was 2-0, and again from a set piece when Roberts' corner was volleyed in by Sam Dible, who is usually seen in the dugout as Salisbury's physio at first team games, With many others in this team perhaps he will get his chance at Southern League level at some stage in the future.

On 21 minutes another Roberts free kick nearly caused Rogers to put his side further behind, and eight minutes later Dible was unlucky to see his effort fly just wide after he had quickly turned in the box.

In case you might think the game was a two-man show, let me assure you that it was a team performance throughout, and as if to prove that, ten minutes before the interval Diego Romero, who would go on to be named Man of the Match, squared a great ball to Jim Ward whose 25 yard attempt narrowly missed the target. Just before the break, Romero might have scored but his effort suffered the same fate.

At the break the Whites were in the comfort zone, having restricted their opponents to no chances whatsoever, but afterwards, Rovers pushed forward and began to get a measure of control, with Charlie Hancock getting free down the left before putting his finish just over on 56 minutes. Two minutes later the Whites were lucky when Rogers headed against the woodwork, and on 69 minutes keeper, Will Betts played his part for the team, doing well to keep out a Dan Penfold strike. Shortly afterwards he made a great save from Rovers' Tommy Tierney, leaping at full stretch to claw away a dipping effort just after Cooper's deflected shot at the other end pinged off the bar as the Whites began to fire on all cylinders once more.

On 82 minutes, a goal-line clearance denied Charlie Rayfield's shot and before the final whistle, another Cooper finish went just wide. Cooper will have been disappointed when blocked out by keeper Chapman in a one on one on 88 minutes, but in time added, to complete the action and a well deserved Salisbury win Tom Moseley was foiled by a good Chapman stop.

I've said it before and I'll say it again - it's always a pleasure to watch Development games. On this evidence tonight, the future is bright for the Whites.

Next football....Staines....with fingers crossed!

LRBaffin-beaters young Whites celebrate with Manager Chris Burden. - Photo by kind permission of Lee Roberts


Salisbury FC: Betts, Rayfield, Roberts, Burden, Smith, Ward, Romero, Cooper,
Moseley, Weeks, Dible (Butt 85).
Sub not used: Mapham.

Baffins MR: Chapman, Hancock, Rogers, Burgess (Tierney 45), Clark, Knight,
Cooper (Musselwhite 70), F.Penfold, D.Penfold, Long, McClean (Conaghan 57).
Subs not used: Dellichi, Afonso.

Att: 120 (Est) Referee: K Forest.