ABOVE: Young Whites' captain Ryan Penny is presented with the trophy by Steve Yeomans of the Hampshire FA
Havant and Waterlooville Under 18s 1 Salisbury FC Under 18s 4
Hampshire FA Midweek Floodlit Cup Final (played at Salisbury FC)
Thursday, 4th May 2018
By Alec Hayter
SALISBURY YOUTH deservedly won the Midweek Floodlit Cup with a comprehensive win over Havant and Waterlooville, who could really have no complaints over the margin of defeat and may in fact have been relieved that it was not greater, in the first ever Hampshire FA Cup Final held outside the county.
In a highly competitive game, it was the young Whites who made the better start and in fact always looked dangerous going forward during the whole 90+ minutes. As early as 7 minutes in, Charlie Cooper saw his cross clip the bar with Hawks' Oliver Ayres beaten, and two minutes later Theo Wolfarth was just wide with an effort from the edge of the box.
It was therefore no surprise when on 10 minutes Salisbury took the lead following a clear foul by Thomas Block on the lively Wolfarth, Salisbury captain Ryan Penny making no mistake from the spot.
The early lead spurred the Hawks into action with Cameron Jenkins sending in a looping header which was gathered under pressure by Whites' keeper Will Betts, and they should have been on terms on 21 minutes when Max Davies found himself in the clear in front of goal but could only hit the upright from eight yards.
Salisbury replied shortly afterwards when Wolfarth left four Havant players in his tracks and crossed for Ed Timperley whose effort was blocked, before the Whites had another chance when Penny screwed his left foot effort wide when well placed.
Salisbury were building up the pressure and Josh Sommerton, later to be named Hampshire FA Man of the Match, got to the byeline before pulling an inviting ball back to Penny whose effort was again blocked, whilst at the other end on the half-hour another chance fell to the Hawks when Dylan Hill's 20 yard free kick found Davies who wasted another opportunity, heading over the top. This again produced a reaction, Sommerton making his way across the edge of the Havant box before laying the ball back to Charlie Cooper whose rising shot cleared the bar.
Ayres was again called into action on 37 minutes, making a superb save at his near post from Cooper, but seconds later he was beaten by a deflected Wolfarth 25-yard piledriver which ended up in the top corner to make it 2-0 and provide a fairer reflection of Salisbury's control.
Just before the interval, Havant's Hill let fly from fully 30 yards but his right foot attempt sailed over, before Sommerton again dribbled his way past three Hawks' players in a mazy run, coolly topped off with a well directed low shot past Ayres for the Whites' third.
Just when it seemed that Salisbury would go into the interval with a comfortable 3-0 lead, the Hawks pulled a goal back from a set piece, Hill bending a superb 22-yard free kick from just outside the box over the wall and into the top corner past Betts, who could only get a slight touch on the ball on its way into the net. At the other end and before the interval whistle, Ayres again had to be at his best to deny Sommerton's effort.
Having given themselves some hope with a goal before half-time, the Hawks must have contemplated further success in the second period but this was not to be, as they produced little if any threat on the Salisbury goal. A sloppy Hill crossfield ball was intercepted by Cooper on 47 minutes and he fed Ronan Clancy, who was denied by the assistant's offside flag, whilst two minutes later Salisbury were again on the attack and manufactured a chance for Louis Rendall who, appearing to be slightly off balance, fired over.
The last meaningful goalmouth action saw Sommerton foraging through the left channel and again leaving three defenders in his wake before attempting a cross shot which was too hot for Havant keeper Ayres. The keeper could only parry the ball into the path of Clancy who finished the job from close range to complete an impressive 4-1 win.
Salisbury dominated most of the match and might well have made victory more emphatic, with the Hawks being given little chance to make inroads, especially against a solid central defensive pairing of Harry Rutty and George Higgins.
In a game which, unusually, allowed both squads the opportunity to make rolling substitutions, both clubs made full use, with all of their 16 players available being employed at various stages of the game. In spite of those permitted changes, it was the Whites who stood firm and came out on top to lift the trophy.
In line with the competitive and sporting manner in which both teams conducted themselves on the pitch, it was good to hear the verbal acknowledgement of the Whites' superiority from H&W officials around me, off the pitch.
For those of you already suffering football withdrawal symptoms, please note that many of the Youth side will be on show next Tuesday at the Ray Mac in the last of the Wyvern Midweek Development squad fixtures against Dorchester Town. They will be out to avenge a 3-0 defeat in Dorset in the John Stimpson Memorial Shield, so a good match is in prospect.
That aside, this will be a good opportunity to show your appreciation and support for their fine effort this season, being undefeated in their league campaign, and they would appreciate a large crowd. Please try and attend – as with the first team, you will be entertained. Kick off is at 7. 45pm.
Havant and Waterlooville: Ayres, Jones, Merritt, Musson, Tanner, Theobald, Jenkins, Block, Davies, Claydon, Jewell, Rankin, Hill, Swanson, Gill, Taylor.
Salisbury FC: Betts, Stott, Ward, Rutty, Higgins, Wolfarth, Sommerton, Rendall, Timperley, Penny, Cooper, Slater, Waters, Greenough, Phillips, Clancy.
Attendance: 118 Referee: T Copping.
BELOW: Josh Sommerton is presented with the Man of the Match award. Pictures by Gary Pratt (Hants FA)