Valiant Whites exit the cup with their heads held high
Salisbury under 18’s took on Forest Green Rovers in the semi-final of the South West counties cup on Saturday. The game started with some very good attacking play from both sides and it was obvious from the start that this was going to be a good match. FGR broke up some good play in the middle of the pitch by Ryan Penny and Christos Papakonstantinou and played the ball into a dangerous area inside the area and finished well to put FGR 1 nil up. Salisbury looked stunned and gave the ball away cheaply on the right hand side, the advancing FGR attacker crossed into the box and with the wind and an incredible amount of luck the ball sailed into the top corner. Now Salisbury had a mountain to climb. They pressed FGR all the way, first with Josh Sommerton and Jim Ward ripping FGR apart down the left and Ben Starr and Charlie Rayfield were also creating chances on the right. It was Rayfield who played a good ball into Ben Starr who beat his man and fired into the back of the net to get Salisbury back into the game, a question of offside perhaps about the goal but it stood. Then followed the talking point of the game. Salisbury were constantly attacking and FGR were conceding free kicks in dangerous areas time and time again. Salisbury worked the ball into the area again and again, eventually the ball fell to Louis Rendall who found space in the area to beat his man, but he was then brought down before he had a chance to pull the trigger. The only person that did not think that is was a penalty was the one that mattered, the ref. So the score remained 2 v 1 to FGR at half time.
The second half saw the Gloucestershire outfit playing deeper to try and protect the lead they had. This forced Salisbury to try to break them down. The FGR back four play very well and the left and right backs got much tighter on the Salisbury wingers. Salisbury continued to pass the ball well and pushed FGR all the way. Christos Papakonstantinou fired in a shot that went inches over the bar, Chae Sykes put the ball into the net however was deemed to have fouled the keeper in the process. Then the chance of the game the ball fell to Ben Starr in the box who controlled it and passed to Chae Sykes for a tap in that would have taken the game to extra time but the opportunity was missed by the normally prolific striker. The Whites kept pressing to the end but the FGR defence held out for the win. A really good game with two very good teams playing some excellent football. We wish Wade and Forest Green Rovers all the best in the final.
A game of two halves for the 14’s
The under 14 JPL side less three major influential players travelled to Blandford to take on the AFC Bournemouth shadow academy. It was the cherries that came flying out of the blocks in the first quarter of the game. However both of their two goals in this period came on the break when the whites were pressing them back. For all of the host’s nice football the goals came the old fashioned way with long balls over the top. In the 2nd quarter it was Salisbury who were the better side and forced many half chances and corners. A through ball from Sam Butt put Ollie Mason through who got away from his man, and fired past the keeper to get Salisbury back in the game.
The 3rd quarter got under way with the Whites again edging the game, but unable to carve out too many clear chances. The Bournemouth side where a constant threat though and eventually they found their way through despite another MOTM performance from on trial centre back Declan Green. A 3rd and a 4th goal for the Cherries made it 4 v 1 and there was no way back for the whites. With only one sub to call on due to last minute fall outs due to sickness and injuries to last week’s major attacking threats of Weir and Eagles, had those two been available the score may have been different. A word also for squad captain Alfie Hawke who failed a fitness test on Friday but still travelled to Blandford to support the team.
Lion plate Salisbury under 7's v Worthy Blue under 7's
Salisbury welcomed Worthy Blue as they met in the lion plate. It was a lovely start with Salisbury coming close early on with Stanley Goodridge-Reynolds just hitting wide from inside the box. Salisbury played very well as a team and displayed some organisation with Harry Turner taking control from defence and commanding the team to keep their shape and made some great runs down the wing and was able to get the ball into the box to find a team mate many occasions. There was some great battling in middle of the park by Maisie curtis and Taylor Dunn and an excellent performance by our goal keepers Christian Salisbury, Joesph Greenyer and Lucas Prescod-Togood. William Shardlow again managed to break through the opposition’s midfield and defence and created some great chances.
Every players showed a lot of focus and support for their team mates as when they were sub there task was to watch their fellow team mate and see what they did well and to see if they could do the same and understand the position they were playing in. A great solid performance by the young whites with a lot structure and organisation on the pitch with some cracking creative play produced some excellent football.
The team have come a long way since the star of the season and everyone is looking forward to exciting times ahead the these talented whites.
With the weather last weekend these are the only three fixtures this weekend that survived.