Saturday, August 14, 2010

Game 10: Downton 0.2 Bitton (FA Cup) 14.08.10

Waking up on another wet Saturday morning, I decided to forgo the 3 hours of driving for the FA Cup tie at Bridport and head to a local tie instead. Bemerton had been knocked out at Totton & Eling on Friday night which left me a choice of games at Amesbury, Downton and Laverstock. With more rain expected in the afternoon, I decided to head to Downton as I'll be at Laverstock's match on Tuesday night.

Downton started their league campaign with a draw and a win but the programme confirmed the manager's thoughts that a result against Bitton, a Western Premier league team, would test the capabilities of his squad.

The first twenty minutes passed without too much incident. As the half progressed, both teams seemed unhappy with some of the decisions made by the referee who seemed keen to blow up for any backing in and contact between the teams.

Downton had the first clear effort on goal after 24 minutes when Danny Western hit a great low shot from the left of the penalty area. The Bitton keeper got down well to push the ball away.

Bitton could have had a chance when they took the ball forward in the 29th minute. Their break down the right was brought to a halt by the referee's whistle as he finally noticed an offside flag from a Downton move at least a minute earlier. Instead of allowing the visitors to play on, the referee brought play back to the Bitton half which gave them no advantage.

Bitton won a number of corners which looked to be ideal for creating goal scoring opportunities as they had a number of players over 6 feet. They were unable to make the most of this height advantage as Downton cleared any crosses that came in.

Their best chance of the first half came in the 42nd minute when the ball was played low into the area and evaded the defence to find a Bitton player. He took aim but sliced his shot from a few yards out to put the ball wide.

The sun had been out during the first half but it started to cloud over during half time. Downton had the first opportunity of the second half in the 47th minute. A Bitton player slipped on the edge of the area allowing Western in but the keeper read the situation well and came out quickly to clear the ball, taking a knock in the process.

The referee hadn't issued any cards in the first half but was left with no option in the 53rd minute when Matt Holmes slid in late on a Bitton player. Three minutes later and it was a Bitton player who found himself in the book with a similar late tackle.

The ball was played towards the Bitton penalty area from the freekick and McGregor won the ball, turned and beat a Bitton defender for pace. He hit a shot on target but it was too close to the keeper and he managed to dive to his left and tip the ball out.

Western had followed up and it looked like he was in position to hit the ball in only for a defender to nip in and head the ball out of his way. Downton followed up this effort a minute later with a Western shot that fizzed past the right hand post. It looked like he had more time then he realised to take aim.

The expected rain started to fall in the 60th minute and quickly turned into torrential rain. I joined the majority of the crowd by heading to the stand to take cover although a few brave souls sheltered under umbrellas. The wet weather seemed to wake the players up a bit and perhaps could claim an assist for the opening goal.

Bitton took the ball down the right wing and were able to play a low cross in the box as the covering defender slipped on the wet surface as he was chasing back. While the keeper covered the near post, the ball found the Bitton left winger who swept a low shot low into the unguarded area of the goal to give his team the lead.

Bitton had two chances to extend their lead shortly afterwards. The first attempt was a low shot that skidded diagonally towards the right post only to go out for a goalkick. The second came in the 82nd minute when a corner on the right side flew in to the area and back off the post.

Downton were still in with a chance and McGregor was frustrated in the 83rd minute when he had an opportunity to score but hit his shot wide. In the 85th minute Bitton had their keeper to thank when he was able to smother a shot from a corner and recover the ball that had slipped from his hands before McGregor's sliding leg reached it.

McGregor tried a move from the George Best archives when the keeper came out with the ball to take the goalkick. As the keeper had the ball in one hand McGregor knocked it out of his hand but his goal was disallowed by the referee who booked McGregor for this effort.

As the game went into the 4th minute of injury time Downton won a corner. Their keeper jogged up from the back to try and cause some problems for the Bitton defence. Unusually in these circumstances, the corner found the keeper's but his on target header was cleared from the line.

Bitton broke quickly with the ball and hit it to a striker near the halfway line. He turned and ran forwards and towards the left touchline before cutting back in and hitting a chip shot towards goal. The keeper was still sprinting back to his penalty area as the ball cruised into the net with the last kick of the game. The rain had eased off so I got back to the car without getting wet.

1 comment:

Mark Smith said...

Excellent pictures and report of the game - many thanks for coming along to see Downton at Wick Lane and we look forward to seeing you again soon.