Sunday, July 27, 2008

Game 3: AFC Wimbledon 1.2 Salisbury City (Friendly) 26.07.08

As Amy was working in London today, decided to revisit Kingsmeadow to watch this friendly. The last game I saw here was back in the last century when Yeovil were playing Kingstonian in a Conference game. Since then the ground has been sold to AFC and a new stand has been built behind one goal, with an extention being added to the stand at the side. Decided to watch the game from the shallow terrace where I used to watch games when I was a local.

Salisbury started well and Matt Tubbs hit the crossbar from no more than a yard out after 5 minutes. Salisbury had the better of the first half but it was the Dons who took the lead after 36 minutes. The ball was played from the halfway line into his path and despite the offside protests from the Salisbury players, the striker was allowed to continue his run and carefully passed the ball into the bottom far corner before the defence could react. This encouraged the Dons, especially their pacy no 11 who was giving Scott Bartlett a difficult time down the right hand side.

At halftime it was good to see the traditional swapping of ends again as the Salisbury fans moved behind the goal nearest me. The music was entertaining as well - a version of Pulp's Common People sung by Star Trek's own William Shatner was the highlight for me.

In the second half Salisbury put more pressure on and it was no surprise when Andy Sandell scored the equaliser from a corner - a powerful header from 6 yards out. He was substituted shortly afterwards and it looked like he twisted his ankle when landing for a header. The Dons keeper also had a problem with an injury and goalkicks were taken by a defender instead.

AFC Wimbledon came back into the game and were really unlucky not to score with a rising shot that smacked off the crossbar and out. Salisbury then broke away and following a neat pass and move, Darrell Clarke scored the winner with a volley in the box past the keeper.

The game then lost it's edge with a number of substitutions from both sides. Jon Davies and Danny Young played 20 minutes or so and both looked fairly lively. A good workout for the Salisbury team and it was great to see a win for the Whites at last!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Game 2: Salisbury City 1.3 Port Vale (Friendly) 19.07.08

Salisbury were due to play two games today - one team at home against Port Vale and one team away at Basingstoke. When I arrived at the ground, a quick look around showed that the entire first team squad were playing here. Andy arrived just before kick off and brought me a team sheet round with his chips.

Port Vale took an early lead after just two minutes. Kyle Perry took the ball at the edge of the penalty area and hit a shot past Bond and Bittner, into the right hand side of the goal. Salisbury got an equaliser four minutes later, trialist Jamal Easter ran into the box and hit a similar shot across the keeper and in.

Salisbury won a couple of corners and hit the post before the game settled down for a while. In the 19th minute, Rob Sinclair gave away a free kick just outside the penalty area. From this central point, Marc Richards hit a Beckham-esque freekick into the top left side of Bittner's goad to give Port Vale a 2.1 lead.

On 32 minutes Port Vale broke out from their area following a Salisbury corner that took a while to clear. As they moved at pace down the pitch, the Salisbury team were slow to cover back and left some space in the middle of defence. A couple of quick passes and Richards had time to place a shot for his 2nd of the game. It was a well worked goal.

After 40 minutes Salisbury had a real let off. Bittner called for the ball when a cross came in but didn't collect it. The ball rolled across the area to a Port Vale player who hit a shot directly at Bittner. The ball bounced out to another Vale player who mishit the ball but it fell to a team mate who headed it back towards goal. The ball beat the defence but came down from the crossbar into Bittner's arms.

The second half was a little bit of an anti-climax with no further goals, although Port Vale did have one ruled out for offside. Salisbury brought on a number of subs at half time - Bass, Cook, Robinson, Herring, Feeney, Matthews, Tubbs - so it was a full strength side who took to the field. The game got a bit niggly and a few late tackles came in from both sides. Rob Sinclair had to come off after an hour or so after stretching a bit too far for a tackle and was replaced by Jon Davies.
Davies, one of the leading lights in last year's reserves team, made the most of this opportunity. The 18 year old was a real handful for the Vale defence, using speed and trickery to get past his opponents on a number of occasions. The end product was not always as good but a couple of crosses made it to Tubbs, who put one shot past the post and had another blocked. When he didn't get past his man, Davies also won some free kicks for being brought down. Hopefully he won't find himself being kicked out of games this season as he looks a useful player.

Final attendance was given as 588, with around 50 Vale fans in the segregated away end.

Game 1: Salisbury City 0.3 Southampton (Friendly) 15.07.08

With England out of Euro 2008, the start of the preseason friendlies couldn't come quickly enough. During the day there was a lot of cloud and some rain but by the time Andy and I arrived at the Ray Mac the sun was out and there was not a cloud in the sky!

We had left about 15 minutes spare before kickoff but the late confirmation of a full strength 1st team squad rather than the usual reserve team meant that the queue at the turnstile stretched back to the clubshop. Luckily it moved on pretty quickly and it only took us around 5 minutes to get onto the terraces. Trying to recognise some of the players was a little more difficult, even when the announcer confirmed that there were some teamsheets available during the first half. The final attendance was confirmed as 1387.

Salisbury looked up for the game and Feeney in particular was causing Saints some problems down the left side. Matt Tubbs had a shot well saved but Saints were able to deal with the set pieces without their keeper having to much to do. Some of the tackles were a little strong for the Championship players and there was a flashpoint mid way though the half when a couple of players bundled in and got a bit too aggressive. Luckily the referee was quickly on hand to stop it from escalating. The game appeared to be heading to a stalemate at halftime when Jason Euell strolled forward with the ball and hit it along the ground, across Bittner and into the net just next to the right hand post. Salisbury created one late chance from a corner but Matt Robinson headed the ball into the side netting.

In the second half, Southampton brought on some of their younger squad members and started to play with a bit more pace and guile. If the finishing had been better then Salisbury would have been 5 or 6 down but a combination of shots overhit over the bar and some superb saves from Bittner kept the score at 0.1. Salisbury also brought on some subs at halftime but seemed to be causing fewer problems to the opposition keeper.

After 74 minutes, Wright-Phillips ignored the 'Thief' chants and accelerated from the edge of the box and past the defence to slot the ball past Bittner for 0.2. In the second minute of injury time, McGoldrick beat the offside trap to run onto a through ball. Bittner managed to trap the ball when he took a close range shot but couldn't keep hold of it. McGoldrick then took it past the keeper and smashed it into the roof of the net from the goalline.

Monday, July 14, 2008

2007-2008 Season Summary

Games seen: 36

Goals scored: 129

Highest Scoring Game: 8 - Salisbury City Reserves v Raynes Park Vale Reserves, Bemerton Heath Harlequins v Reading Town

Lowest Scoring Game: 0 - Shaftesbury v East Cowes Vics, Droylesden v Salisbury City, Salisbury City v AFC Wimbledon, v Torquay, v Stevenage Borough

Goal Average: 3.58

Grounds Visited: 15

New Grounds Visited: 5

Game 36: England Legends 2.0 Scotland Legends (Alan Ball Memorial Trophy) 15.05.08

Andy and I drove down to Southampton to watch this game between two sets of ex-international players for the Alan Ball Trophy, commemorating the life of one of the South Coast’s most respected managers who passed away last year. Before the game there was also a minutes silence for Tommy Burns, the former Reading and Celtic manager who had died earlier that day. Brian Robson was also missing due a family bereavement.

The two squads weren’t available in a programme as one hadn’t been issued but the game was being covered on ITV4, which I referred back to when I got home.

England – Woods, Barton, Parker, Walker, Winterburn, Hodge, Parlour, Lee, Le Saux, Merson, Collymore (subs – Wright, Walters, Sinton, Dixon, Sansom, Ball)

Scotland – Goram, Irvine, Elliott, Gough, Boyd, McKinlay, Jackson, Wark, Collins, Gallacher, Durie (subs – Devlin, Gunn, Albiston, Speedie, MacKay)

Some of the players looked reasonably fit but a couple had an expanded waistband since their playing days, notably Paul Merson. The pace of the game was fairly slow in comparison to a normal ‘Auld Enemy’ game but while the legs had gone, the passing and skill was still there.

Most of England’s chances fell to Stan Collymore who had a mixed night. In the 3rd and 5th minutes he went tearing through on goal but put his shots way over the bar. In the 20th minute Merson took the ball on the left side and found Le Saux on an overlapping run. Le Saux went round a defender and put in a low cross that Hodge redirected at the near post. The ball went through Goram’s legs and into the net.

Scotland had a couple of efforts from corners, Durie going close to scoring. Then it was the Collymore show again – no change to the scheduled programme as the ball ended up high in the stand behind the goal. Scotland almost equalised after 28 minutes. A long hopeful ball from Scotland was played back towards the goal by Rob Lee but it was too short for Woods to get to. This allowed Gallacher to take the ball on but Woods was alert and was out to push the ball away before Gallacher could get a shot in.

On 32 minutes Collymore decided it was time for some variety. Le Saux took the ball forward and put a great pass into the box, only for Collymore to slide in and miss the ball completely in front of an open goal. Five minutes later and it finally came right – Merson received the ball in the middle of the pitch and with one touch played Collymore in. Collymore took on Irvine, beat him for pace and slid the ball under the keeper and into the net. 2.0 England!

At half time Scotland brought on Gunn, Devlin, Albiston and Speedie. For England, Walters came on for Hodge. On 57 minutes John Wark produced a moment from the memory banks, a typical run into the box and a chip over the keeper and in. However he hadn’t timed it quite right and the goal was chalked off for offside. At 50, he was the oldest player on the pitch.

The game was a bit stop and start after that, with England bringing on several substitutes. Sinton replaced Le Saux, Sansom and Wright replaced Collymore and Parker and on 75 minutes Jimmy Ball, Alan’s son, came on for Merson. The first thing he did was a late sliding tackle, clattering a Scotland player- like father, like son!

Wark put a header over the bar for Scotland and Speedie also came close to scoring with a shot but the Scots were unable to pull a goal back before the final whistle.

Game 35: Salisbury City Reserves 7.1 Raynes Park Vale Reserves (Suburban League) 03.05.08

With the local league season over, decided to head up to the Ray Mac to see Salisbury’s reserve team in their last home game of the season. The team have been a class above in the Suburban League this season, unbeaten in the league to date and only one defeat in the two cup competitions they entered.

It was a really warm sunny day and took a stroll around the ground, which made a change from the segregation. Bumped into Malx from the Salisbury forum who showed me the new turnstiles the club have bought from Portsmouth that are going to be installed at the away end during the summer break.

The game was entertaining to watch and there was only one team in it. The scoring went as follows:

3 mins Gates with a low shot 1.0
20 mins Gates header from the rebound after missing a penalty 2.0
30 min Fisher penalty shot past the keeper 3.0

55 min Walsh with a long shot over the keeper 4.0
57 min Gates hat trick, a shot at the edge of the box into corner of net 5.0
73 min Gates went up with keeper for a high ball and nodded it in with his head 6.0
75 min Raynes Park get a penalty following a handball, shot under the Salisbury keeper 6.1
81 min Young shot from close in after Holmes shot deflected out by the keeper 7.1

Fisher’s penalty was the 100th goal the team has scored this season. It will be interesting to see if any of the team make the step up to the first team next year or if they will depart for local sides lower in the pyramid to play regular first team football.