Saturday, April 12, 2008

Game 34: Bemerton Heath Harlequins 3.3 Hayling United (Wess PREM) 12.04.08

I had been impressed by Hayling’s attacking football when I visited their ground a couple of weeks ago so decided to go up to Western Way this afternoon to see them take on the Harlequins.

As at that game, Hayling took an early lead when in the fourth minute a throw in was flicked onto the crossbar and as the ball dropped down, a Hayling striker bundled it in before Bemerton could react.

Six minutes later it was two-nil to the visitors from a breakaway attack. The Bemerton keeper saved the shot but the rebound was tucked away. The defenders appeared to have played the offside trap properly as the striker was miles offside but the assistant on the nearside didn’t give it and the referee awarded the goal.

Bemerton pulled a goal back after 32 minutes in fortuitous circumstances. The ball was in the penalty area and a clearance cannoned back off a player’s kneed and in from close range.

At the start of the second half Bemerton changed their formation to 4-3-3 which seemed to suit them better. In the 60th minute Bemerton managed to equalise as a player ran with the ball into the box and his pass was deflected into the path of a team mate who smashed an unstoppable shot into the net.

The lead only lasted two minutes. A long ball was played over the top of the Bemerton defence and before a defender could chase him down, a Hayling player hit a chip over the Bemerton keeper and under the bar.

Bemerton didn’t give up and managed to equalise again after 80 minutes with a well struck shot across the keeper and into the left side of the goal. It had been very grey throughout the game and it now started to rain very heavily. Bemerton pressed forward and only the keeper’s foot kept them from taking the lead with a lucky deflection taking a shot wide of the goal.

In the 85th minute Hayling were reduced to ten men as their no 9 was sent off for a second yellow card. Bemerton were unable to make the most of man advantage in the short space of time left and this entertaining match ended in a draw.

Game 33: Laverstock & Ford 3.4 United Services Portsmouth (WESS 1) 05.04.08

Decided to visit Laverstock today for the visit of US Portsmouth. Although we’re now in the last month of the season, this was the first time that the two sides have met with the reverse game in Portsmouth next Saturday.

Both teams have been on a good run of form and it was no surprise to see a number of goals in a topsy-turvy fixture.

Laverstock took the lead in the 15th minute with a carefully placed lob over the keeper from the right of the penalty area. In the 30th minute US Portsmouth equalised with a route one goal. The keeper played the ball up the pitch and the recipient of his pass ran on and shot past the keeper. Eight minutes later and the same tactics allowed US Portsmouth to take the lead.

Laverstock equalised from a close range shot in the last minute of the half, helped by the ball holding up in the wind and allowing the cross to be made. They retook the lead in the 60th minute from the penalty spot. It looked like the player had taken a dive but the referee decided it was a penalty and gave two bookings to US Portsmouth players for disputing the call. Good job I kept quiet! The penalty was struck to the keeper’s left and in.

It took US Portsmouth five minutes to bring the game back to all square. The ball was played down the left side and then crossed back into the centre of the box for a US Portsmouth sub to pass it into the net with the goalkeeper unsighted by another US Portsmouth player who was played on by the Laverstock defence.

In the 80th minute US Portsmouth scored another goal in this exciting game to give them a 4.3 lead. A run down the outside right beat the defence and the player took the ball into the area and shot past the approaching keeper from an acute angle.

Right at the end of the game Laverstock thought they had won another penalty when the referee pointed to the area after a tackle but he had awarded an indirect free kick. The Laverstock player who took the kick decided to go for power and see if the ball got a deflection but he got too clean a strike on it and ended up blasting the ball over the bar.

As we entered injury time Laverstock laid siege to the US Portsmouth goal to try and get another equaliser. They thought they had scored when the goalkeeper missed a ball from a corner in the middle right of the area but the shot was cleared off the line.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Game 32: Hayling United 2.1 Horndean (WESS PREM) 24.03.08

Drove down to Hayling for the first of today’s bank holiday games and met Alan at the ground. With the early kick off this appeared to be a popular choice with the groundhopping fraternity.

The Hayling pitch is at a local college, which means that the ground has a couple of unusual features. The first one was the dugouts which are portable and moved out to the pitch before the game. The second was the location of the stand. This is set next to the main building rather than the pitch which makes viewing very difficult. We sat there for a while in the section that wasn’t locked up but when the game kicked off we moved to the barrier by the pitch as the rain was holding off and we wanted to see the players rather than the backs of the supporters!

Hayling took an early lead on 3 minutes with a chip over the Horndean keeper. Five minutes later and they were 2.0 up as an unmarked player headed in from a free kick. We thought it might be a goalfest but the game settled down after that and there were few chances of note for the rest of the first half.

In the second half Hayling continued to have the most of the play but it was a Horndean substitute who scored in the 70the minute, a fantastic shot from distance that the keeper had no chance to reach.

Hayling remained comfortable on the ball and had a couple of good chances to go 3.1 up. The first was a one on one chance against the keeper but the shot was pulled wide. The second was a similar chance, this time the shot hit the post when it looked like it was easier to score.

Horndean almost made Hayling pay for this in injury time with a succession of corners with some good headers on target that the Hayling keeper did well to keep out.