Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Game 25: Salisbury City 2.0 Cambridge City 23.01.07 (NCS)

An evening kick off saw Salisbury maintain their unbeaten start to 2007. Went to the game with Andy but decided to brave the cold and head to the sidelines rather than the warmth of the main stand to get a better view of the Salisbury attack and to attempt some night time photography.

Wayne Turk put Salisbury ahead on 35 minutes with a shot from the outside the box that took a slight deflection which was just enough to beat the keeper. By this point my hands were freezing so it was good to warm them up with applause. Cambridge were playing well and created a few chances before the Salisbury goal but lacked the final touch.

As half time approached I wandered round to the far side and got a cup of warm tomato soup to try and thaw out my hands and my insides.

For the second half, I moved back to the main stand but the promise of some soup wasn't enough to lure Andy from the right side to the left side where I was standing in plenty of space.

The main talking point of the game was the sending off of the Cambridge keeper midway through the second half for felling Tubbs in the box as Tubbs went round him on the left hand edge. From my viewpoint it looked as if Tubbs played for the penalty by pushing the ball past the keeper and waiting to be knocked rather than try and stay on his feet and score - any touch was marginal but the referee decided it was stopping a goal scoring opportunity.

Tubbs stepped up to take the penalty but the mind tricks he tried to use on the substitute keeper backfired as he hit it the wrong side of the left hand post. Indeed it appeared as if the new keeper was much better than the original keeper as he made 2-3 tremendous stretching saves.

Alas the good work was undone in the final minute. Deciding to risk it and gamble on getting a draw, the keeper went up for a late corner but was caught out of position when the ball was intercepted by Robbie Matthews. Then followed one of the best goals of the season. Matthews, urged on by the crowd, started to run towards the goal but decided to ignore the crowd and keep on running rather than shoot from distance. As the keeper and numerous defenders tried to catch him, he managed to outpace all of them and brought the ball into the penalty area before blasting it into the empty net. It looked like a scene from a Benny Hill show as one defender collapsed with a muscle problem and the keeper tried to stretch out in the penalty area to grab the ball.

A goal that will live in the memory banks for years!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Game 24: Eastleigh 0.1 Salisbury City 20.01.07 (NCS)

A late departure from Salisbury, met up with Andy in the Boathouse where he was waiting upon a sausage and bacon sarnie. Once it had been polished off (c 1.45) we drove to Eastleigh via Rob's and joined the multitude parking in the rugby ground. I was concerned as to whether there would be any programmes left but managed to get one after a brisk walk to the ground.

Salisbury took the lead on 10 minutes from a Paul Sales header that looked as if it went into the bottom corner in slow motion - the reason for this was apparent later - the ball had hit the post, rebounded to a defenders leg and had gone in off the defender. Despite this debating point, the goal was attributed to Sales.

The game progressed as many derby games do - lots of effort, some good chances squandered for both teams and some heartstopping moments when it looks like the opposition have scored. Salisbury were lucky just before half time when an Eastleigh player miscued a shot and put it over the bar when it looked easier to score. Jon Bass had an excellent shot saved and with 5 minutes to go Robbie Matthews rose above the keeper and defence to put a header past them but unfortunately on to the bar. The rebound came out to Matt Tubbs but with an empty goal in front of him he scuffed his shot wide from the edge of the 6 yard box. The next 5 minutes seemed to go on for ever before the referee finally blew the whistle.

As the whistle blew, the play was just in front of us and my applause for the Whites performance seemed to annoy Eastleigh's Tarkan Mustafa who picked the ball up and then dummied to throw it at me like a basketball player. Shame to see someone I used to enjoy watching at Kingstonian act like a spoilt brat, especially as the applause was for the Salisbury players he was stood next to and I hadn't said a word to him at that point.

We wandered past the groups of 'youth fans' who seemed to be spoiling for a fight and got back to the car just before it started to pelt it down with rain. A good day out and a record crowd at the Sparshatts of 1426 to see the third Salisbury 1.0 win over Eastleigh this season.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Game 23: Salisbury City 4.0 Yeading 09.01.07 (NCS)

A cold, damp night up at the Ray Mac thanks to a strong wind coming off the Plain. 621 fans braved the conditions to watch Salisbury make all the running in the game with Paul Sales and Robbie Matthews combining well on 7 minutes with a 1-2 putting Sales in to score.

Yeading had a couple of shots but very little to trouble Ryan Clarke, although he almost lost the ball to a Yeading player when coming out for a ball - fortunately he managed to scoop it into the crowd.

Salisbury added a second on 28 minutes when Matthews won the ball back when an attack broke down and played a 1.2 with Sales before banging the ball into the back of the net. Clarke had to make another save from close range when he dropped the ball from a Yeading freekick into the path of their striker - he just managed to get his arm behind the ball as the Yeading player hit it and it went out for a corner.

In the second half the swirling wind and rain looked like a sandstorm caught in the floodlights. Prince was having a good game while Sales was in his element holding the ball up and bringing other players into the game. It looked like Prince had won a penalty when he was brought down in the box but the referee was having none of it and waved play on.

Matthews added a third on 61 minutes, blasting the ball past the keeper following a header before Bartlett hit a scooping shot into the net 3 minutes later - sadly I missed the moment as I was texting Alan and looked up to see the ball was in the net as the crowd showed it's approval.

Andy had a golden goal ticket for 74 minutes - although he didn't open it until the 80th minute!