Saturday, March 31, 2007

Game 33 Salisbury City 0.1 Farnborough Town 31.03.07 (NCS)

After the previous two goalless visits to the Ray Mac, I thought I'd head up and hope for third time lucky. Since my last visit, the two new stands had been erected and some fencing had been put up on the far side.

Ryan Clarke was the man who made the headlines again - in the first half he raced out of the box to try and sweep up the ball but ended up catching a Farnborough player and conceded a free kick from which Farnborough almost scored with a header.

Salisbury took a bit of time to get going, Jon Beswetherick hit a freekick well but the keeper managed to save it. Robbie Matthews then had a shot that looped over the keeper but ended up on the top of the netting instead of in the net. While City had a lot of the play, Farnborough came close after half an hour when a powerful shot smacked off the crossbar to the crowd's relief.

0.0 at halftime and it looked like another bore draw was on the way. However on the 60th minute Ryan Clarke rushed out of the box to try and clear a long ball and it looked like it struck him on the arm - the assistant referee gave the decision against him and the referee decided it was a red card offence.

Matt Bulman came on for Jerome Watt but his first job was to pick the ball out of the net as Farnborough scored from the free kick.

Matthews and Tubbs worked hard to get a goal back and Tubbs hit the crossbar in a goalmouth scramble.

Salisbury had several corners but the final ball was lacking and the keeper was able to claim them.

Robbie Matthews came close when a ball from Fowler found him in space but his shot came back from the post.

In the final minute Matthews again had a chance to equalise but the keeper managed to deflect the ball for yet another corner that came to nothing.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Game 32: Salisbury City 0.0 Hayes 27.03.07 (NCS)

Another midweek game - after Saturday's disappointing result I thought that the team would bounceback against lowly opposition.

Robbie Matthews created a couple of chances but the game never really got going....

... it got to the stage where looking at the ground was more interesting....

so that's what we did.

Wayne Turk had a goal disallowed in the second half for offside and the terraces emptied quickly after the game, an almost identical frustrated reaction to the game as we'd seen on Saturday.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Game 31: Salisbury City 0.0 Thurrock 17.03.07 (NCS)

It was good to see how work was progressing with the new ground works but the rest of the afternoon was frustrating as Salisbury were unable to breakdown a hardworking Thurrock team.

The strong wind meant that chalkdust was flying across the pitch - a good job that John McEnroe wasn't in the crowd! Thurrock started well and had a goal disallowed. The wind was making it difficult for Salisbury to get the ball into the box and both teams were chasing a lot of lost balls due to them being overhit.

Thurrock were quite a physical team and when Salisbury made opportunities, the Thurrock keeper made some good saves. Salisbury's best chance came on 32 minutes when Matthews ran onto a long ball and let it bounce three times before shooting, only to see it cannon off the keepers leg for a corner.

Ryan Clarke gave everyone a shock just after halftime when he missed a kick from a backpass. As the ball went past him a Thurrock striker followed it in but managed to miss an open goal as Clarke scrambled back and the ball ended up in the side netting.

Aaron Cook came close with a header just over from a Prince corner and even a Robbie Matthews freekick special found the keepers hands as he dived to the left. Right on the final whistle a Prince cross came off a defender's head and seemed to be heading for the bottom left hand corner when it bounced up and hit the post.

The frustration of not getting a win showed at the end as there were a few boos from the Whites faithful.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Game 30: Bemerton Heath Harlequins 2.4 Poole Town 03.03.07 (Wess Prem)

Originally I had planned on going to the Wess 1 game between Hythe & Dibden and US Portsmouth but the overnight rain led to concerns as to whether the game would be on. Laverstock's game was cancelled so I decided to use a voucher Andy had given me for free entry to watch Bemerton play Poole - a game that was rearranged as Bemerton's original opponents (Wimborne) were playing in the FA Vase 6th round.

The Manager's notes in the programme referred to the reverse fixture being the worst Harlequins performance of all time (they lost 4.0 and were lucky to get nil!). Bemerton started brightly and almost scored in the first minute with a close shot that the Poole keeper saved with his feet. However that was as good as it got for Bemerton in the first half. Poole started to get their game going and forced a corner of their own which was headed over. In the 10th minute, a headed flick on allowed a Poole striker a free run through and he blasted it past the keeper from the edge of the 6 yard box before the Bemerton defence could close him down.

By now Taffy Richardson and co were dominating the midfield and it was no surprise when the second goal came. This one was from a disputed penalty which the Poole striker blasted straight as the keeper dived to his left side. Despite having the lead, Poole weren't prepared to let up with the pressure - at one point Richardson called for the ball only to see one of his teammates try to flick it on and putting it out for a throw - amusingly he introduced himself to his teammate and made the point that when he says Taffy, you leave the ball for Taffy!

The game had kicked off in bright sunshine but a strong wind signalled the arrival of some menacing rainclouds and the driving rain soon lead to everyone taking cover where they could. Poole were unable to convert any of the chances they created and went in at half time 2 nil up.

As the rainclouds moved over to be replaced by sunshine, a rainbow appeared above the clubhouse. I honestly couldn't see that Bemerton could get on the scoresheet. There was little evidence of teamwork, accurate passing, vision or creativity. However on 50 minutes much to my surprise Bemerton managed to pull a goal back. A long throw from the left side into the penalty area was flicked across to an unmarked player to drill into the net at close range.

This goal seemed to unnerve Poole and Bemerton spent the next 25 minutes pushing for an equaliser. They were winning every 50/50 ball in the midfield and gambled on everything up front. Poole did manage to exploit some space on the counterattack and had a couple of shots either saved or pushed away. Bemerton almost managed to pull back an unlikely equaliser when a header was saved at close range from a long freekick that had a Poole fan enraged - he felt that the ball had been won cleanly but missed the tap on the ankle that prevented the Bemerton player from trying to win it back.

On 82 minutes, Poole won a free kick on the edge of the box and floated the ball across into the area, where the no 10 swivelled on the ball and smashed it into the net to make it 3.1. I thought that the game would be over as a spectacle how wrong I was!

The first incident came from some verbals from Tommy Killick, the Poole manager that the assistant referee overheard. The referee had given a Bemerton corner so ran over when signalled and had a discussion with Killick. That seemed to be it but a few moments later the assistant referee on the farside was flagging for the referee again. It appears that the verbals had continued and the referee decided to send him off. Being a non league ground, that constituted walking round to the stand on the other side - a walk that seemed to take Killick a while, at one point he seemed to be hiding behind the Bemerton bench.

It did seem unnecessary at 3.1 up and perhaps this lead to a lapse of concentration from his team. Bemerton's first corner was deflected behind and from the second (disputed) corner they managed to squeeze a shot past the Poole keeper to make the score 3.2 and set up an interesting last few minutes.

Poole seemed a little rattled by this turn of events while Bemerton were eager to try and get a third goal. This combination led to a unsavoury incident towards the end of the game. In an attempt to get the ball back to play a freekick, one of the Bemerton players pushed a Poole player in the face. The Poole player made the most of this and fell to the floor clutching his face. This was enough for a 21 man brawl to break out in the middle of the pitch giving the referee and his assistants a difficult job when it finally calmed down - who to send off for the push. Indeed, the protests of players and spectators that they had the wrong man was enough for the referee to reconsult his assistant again. The Bemerton player was rightly sent off for the initial offence and this handed the initiative to Poole, who scored a fourth shortly before 5pm. Poole broke forward and when the Bemerton keeper was unable to keep hold of a shot,the ball was centred to the visitor's no 10 to complete his hattrick.

Bemerton's bench were furious with the referee while one of their supporters (who had spent 5 minutes screaming obsenity after obsenity to the felled Poole player who was standing only a yard away) got involved in an argument with the Poole manager who was making his way back to the dressing room.

An entertaining game but perhaps for the wrong reasons!