Salisbury FC 2 Weston-super-Mare AFC 1

Pitching In Southern League Premier South

Tuesday, 28 October 2020

By Alec Hayter

What a great contest this was! In my humble opinion, a much better watch than seeing one side slaughter another, and a great noisy and supportive crowd certainly got what they deserved, with the team getting their reward after a dingdong battle.

Manager Steve Claridge had iinferred in his programme notes that this game would be a true test, and he wasn’t wrong as the visitors took the lead after only eight minutes when Dayle Grubb found space to cut in on his right foot before sending a curling low finish past Alexis Andre and give his side the ideal start.

Would not until the 15 minute mark that Salisbury threatened when Charlie Kennedy put the difficult header wide from a Lewis Benson corner, and at the other end just after the half-hour Mike Symons, whom many of you may recall from his escapades against us with Hereford United, pulled the ball back to Scott Laird who sent an attempt over the top. Four minutes before the break Alexis Andre showed what he could do with the first of many important contributions later in the game when he pulled off a good save from Scott Laird at his near post, and then made an even better save from James Waite in a one-on-one.

In time added, the Whites got back on terms, and the Seagulls had only themselves to blame when a clumsy challenge on Benson in the box, with Benson going towards his own goal, gave referee Lewis Sandoe alternative but to point to the spot. In the absence of the last spot kick scorer Ollie Knowles, Charlie Davis stepped up to blast the ball in in similar manner to the kicky score pre-season at Hungerford Town. How the moods in respective dressing rooms would have been changed!

Think Charlie Davis enjoyed that! ©Roger Elliott

Whatever was said in the Salisbury dressing room seem to have an immediate effect as, all of a sudden danger threatened Western down the right side of their defence as Antonio Diaz in particular sprang to life, and on 53 minutes a searching load Diaz cross should really have been punished but Marvin Brooks’ header eluded both Dan Fitchett and Charlie Kennedy.

Five minutes later Diaz’ left foot launched a rocket shot towards the top corner of the Seagull’ s net, but Luke Purnell somehow kept it out.

Luke Purnell denies an Antonio Diaz thunderbolt ©Michael Berkeley

The Whites only had to wait only a matter of seconds however when a Benson corner into the most dangerous areas caused an almighty melee with Sam Roberts taking full advantage to give his side the lead.

Sam Roberts heads goalwards ©Michael Berkeley
Both Sam and the ball end up in the net! ©Michael Berkeley

After Dominic Jefferies sent a 25 yard effort just wide on 68 minutes, it was Weston who applied the pressure, with Andre making a fairly comfortable save from Laird on 71 minutes, but then making a brilliant stop from the same player whose 85th minute freekick from the edge of the box provided a stern test of his ability.

The final action involved a penalty shout when Diaz, back defending, seem to fall on the ball in the box. However it seems that the older, and possibly more correct interpretation was applied by referee Sandoe who was unmoved by the appeals. Also, I might add, he was only a very short distance away from the action so was obviously best placed to make his decision.

An entertaining game, a stern test, and an example of the type of fare likely to be on offer from this developing Whites’ side. Having said that, Tiverton manager Martyn Rogers, who attended the game as of course his clubs match with Merthyr Town was never going to take place, may not have learned everything about Salisbury prior to his side’s visit on Saturday in the Buildbase FA Trophy. Much as I like and respect Mr Rogers………….good!

What he will have learned however is that his team will face not only very good side but also vociferous support from the home crowd, most of whom are very conscious of the past difficulties when playing the Devon side. Please therefore come along and repeat your support on Saturday.

Teams

Salisbury FC: Andre, Davis, Ball, Mullings, Roberts, Kennedy, Benson, Jefferies, Fitchett (Baker 80), Brooks (Knowles 87), Diaz.

Subs not used: Bentley, Covil, Wheeler.

Weston-super-Mare AFC: Purnell, Thomas, Hall (R Jones 84), Knowles (Humphreys 79, Avery, Parsons, Jagger Cane (M Jones 84), Laird, Symons, Grubb, Waite.

Attendance: 594                   Referee: L Sandoe.

Alec Hayter
October 28, 2020