Monday, August 28, 2006

Game 9: Horndean 5.4 Brading Town 28.08.06 (Wess Prem)

Thanks to the Bank Holiday, a third new Wessex Premier ground visit and my second chance to watch Brading Town in 3 days. Managed to navigate my way to the ground without any problems although trying to pay with with a ten pound note proved a little more difficult. A quick trip to the bar to gather a drink and some change did the trick and I sat in the sun reading the Non League Paper for an hour before kick off. Horndean’s ground is fenced at one end so you can’t walk all around the pitch but there's a nice open air bench and a small stand next to the changing rooms.

In the first half Horndean scored twice, Brading pulled one back and then Horndean made it 3.1 at half time. In the second half Brading continued with their counter-attacking football and made it 3.2, 3.3 and then took the lead a couple of minutes later with some excellent strikes.

A fighting comeback but with 10 minutes to go I still couldn’t tell which team would come out on top. Then the referee gave a debatable penalty to Horndean which they converted to make it 4.4.

Full of confidence, they dominated the rest of the game and scored a winner a few minutes before the end. The Brading bench went from punching the air to kicking waterbottles and it has to be said that after their earlier comeback they were unfortunate not to take at least 1 point back across the Solent.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Game 8: Brading Town 3.0 Hamble Assc 26.08.06 (Wess Prem)

The second of the five new Wessex Premier grounds this season and a trip over to the Isle of Wight. Spent the early part of the day in Sandown with Amy before catching the train back up to Brading. Fortunately the ground is close to the railway line so it was relatively easy to retrace the route back to the ground.

Very pleasant and friendly atmosphere at the ground and a comfortable first Premier win for Brading although their counterattacking football gave them a couple of scares. James Temple, a mass of blonde hair up front gave them the lead in the first half and an excellent long distance shot made it 2.0 in the second. Hamble’s supporters were providing an entertaining commentary to those in the small stand, the majority of whom got covered in tea when a misplaced pass knocked a full cup out of someone’s hand.

Luckily this just added to the topics for banter between the two sets of supporters. The final goal came from a goal mouth scramble late in the game. I think Amy was more interested in the scooters that were bombing round the Island during the Bank Holiday meet but she did note with some incredulity that she had ticked a ground that Alan hadn’t.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Game 7: Salisbury City 2.1 Newport County 22.08.06 (NCS)

A big crowd at the Ray Mac (1,101) for the midweek visit of Newport County and a cracking opening to the game, when Robbie Matthews powered his way through the Newport defence to score after 5 minutes.

A clever freekick from the edge of the penalty area brought an equaliser from Newport who held on until the 85 minute before Wayne Turk bundled in a header from close range to send the majority of the crowd wild. Newport were quite a physical team and their supporters weren’t too impressed with the number of times Salisbury players went down from challenges. A real nail biter of a game, especially in the second half when Salisbury got the ball down and played some good attacking football.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Game 6: Bemerton Heath Harlequins 1.3 Downton 19.08.2006 (FA Cup)

A local derby spoilt by a dreadful referee from Woking (according to one of the old boys in the crowd they had to pay a 50 pound match fee for him). Arrived at the ground in plenty of time and watched as Bemerton had their team photo taken by a Journal photographer.

Bemerton took the lead early in the first half from the penalty spot and looked to have the better of the game. However the referee seemed determined to pull up every challenge and didn’t allow the game to flow or use any common sense. After blowing the whistle yet again, two players continued to play for a split second – mainly as they were already committed to tackling each other. When the Bemerton player won the tackle and cleared the ball, he was given a second yellow card for kicking the ball away.

A farcical decision from the man in the middle. Both Downton and Bemerton players approached the referee to protest about the decision but it changed the course of the game. Downton were able to use the extra man and scored shortly after the restart with a tap in from a free kick.

A penalty was converted on the hour and a breakaway goal in the final minute meant that the hosts were knocked out of the FA Cup.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Game 5 Salisbury City 1.1 Lewes 12.08.06 (NCS)

First league game of the season and a trip to the Ray Mac to see Salisbury take on pre-season title favourites Lewes. Met up with Chris, Elaine and Gary in town for the second Salisbury Safari and discovered a brand of Swedish cider which went down very well. The drinks and conversation was flowing so freely that I almost didn’t manage to drag everyone along to the football with me, a last minute hop in to a taxi saved the day. Having watched the Whites play and beat some Conference teams in Cup competitions last year, I was looking forward to seeing how they would cope against a higher level of opposition in a league situation and the team started really brightly.

It wasn’t until the second half that the Salisbury pressure produced it’s due reward, Matt Tubbs converting a penalty after being taken out by the Lewes goalkeeper when he tried to round him. Despite the physical presence of the Lewes backline, the forwards didn’t give Ryan Clarke too much to do until a well worked cross allowed former French u21 international Sigere to scramble the ball in from close range. Salisbury had a goal disallowed for offside and right at the end, Wayne Turk hit an almost unstoppable shot in the only place the keeper could have saved it – directly at him. Still a point was a good start at this level for Salisbury and they certainly showed they could do well at this level.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Game 4 Bemerton Heath Harlequins 0.4 Salisbury City 07.08.06 (Friendly)

Heading up to the Heath and there’s a bit of confusion over the kick off time. The announcement after Saturday’s game was that tonight would be a 7.30 kick off while today’s web information from the Journal is a 7.45 ko. Walking down the hill to the ground at 7.35, I hear the whistle blow and see the match start – fortunately there are no goals in the first minute this time. Salisbury field a team mainly of trialists and fringe players who hadn’t played on Saturday and proved to be too strong for a Bemerton team who did well to keep the score to 0.0 at halftime.

Chris Knowles scored the first early in the second half before Robbie Matthews burst through with a great solo run for the second. Salisbury then added another couple for a comprehensive win. Most of the talk amongst the City faithful was the news that Kevin Sawyer had handed in a transfer request following the signing of Ryan Clarke.

Game 3: Salisbury City 3.2 Hitchin Town 05.08.06 (SL Championship Match)

The first competitive game of the season, the Southern Leagues version of the Charity shield with the league winners up against the cup winners. Salisbury scored first, a good move ended up with Sales scoring at close range but a minute later a Hitchin cross shot caught the wind and flew over from the right. Keeper Clarke got his hands to it but seemed to misjudge it in and the ball ended up in the back of the net.

Tubbs added a second for Salisbury midway through the second half with a great diving header but yet again, Hitchin scored within a minute of the restart. This time, Beswetherick was easily beaten for pace, allowing the Hitchin midfielder to take the ball past him to score with a low shot. It was not a surprise to see Simon Browne replace him for the second half but at least Salisbury managed to take the lead without conceding again.

This time Paul Sales struck a great cross shot and made it 3.2 to the Whites for their first (and hopefully not last!) silverware of the season.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Game 2: Ringwood Town 2.2 Portsmouth Youth 02.08.06 (Friendly)

First new ground of the season for this evening kick off and the first of 5 of the grounds I haven’t yet visited in this seasons Wessex Premier Division. Drove down with Andy and Stu and made sure that we were in plenty of time for this kick off.

Ringwood took the lead with a good move in the first half, a cross was met with a close range shot at speed. A couple of the Portsmouth players impressed, notably Matty Richie on the left side and Giovanni Torre upfront and they scored an equaliser before half time.

Second half was a similar pattern, Ringwood scoring first before a bizarre headed own goal put Portsmouth equal. An entertaining game.

Game 1: Downton 0.2 Salisbury City 19.07.06 (Friendly)

First game of the new season, so off to the Bull in Downton for a bite to eat and a couple of pints with Andy and his mate Stuart, a Stevenage Borough fan. Took a while for the food to arrive and we ended up parking just in time for the 7.30 kick off…or so we thought. Just as we were walking through the carpark there was a cheer from the Salisbury fans as Robbie Matthews scored in the first minute. Blast!

With the Salisbury squad split into two for a simultaneous game elsewhere, it was an opportunity to watch new signing Declan McGregor up front.

In the humid evening conditions – lightning was reported at the other game – the game was more about fitness and regaining match practice than flowing football. Downton made a couple of chances but a good finish from Wayne Turk made it 2.0 to Salisbury.