Round up

Come August, come the football season and the 1st of the month saw the start of both the Premier and First Divisions to cater for the FA Cup coming into play at the weekend. Reigning Premier Division Champions Portland United laid down an early marker that they would be looking to retain their crown with a six one defeat of a youthful Team Solent side, Ryan McKechnie claiming two in front of an attendance in excess of two hundred. Andover Town also scored six against near neighbours Bemerton Heath Harlequins with the evergreen Zach Glasspool scoring twice to give new Bemerton Boss Rae Hughes a sobering welcome. A late Dave Parry goal gave Alresford Town a one nil win at Portchester and there was a similar scoreline at Gang Warily, new boy Joe Butcher scoring on his debut for Blackfield and Langley against Amesbury Town. Sholing scored either side of half time to come home from Cowes with the points whilst Horndean won by the odd goal in three at Fareham. There was another single goal victory at Victoria Park with Sami Makkhloufi’s strike for Bournemouth sending Brockenhurst home with nothing to show for their visit. Hamworthy United and Lymington Town could not register a goal between them and had to settle for a point apiece whilst the three promoted Clubs all acquitted themselves well on their debut at the higher level. Baffins Milton Rovers won three one at Petersfield in a game described by a neutral watcher as highly entertaining, Hamble Club shared four goals with Newport (IOW), both of the Island side’s goals coming from the penalty spot with the home side scoring one penalty and missing one and Shaftesbury claimed a point in a goalless draw with Bashley. The only game in Division One produced the most goals of the evening with Laverstock and Ford winning five three at Ringwood. Rob Gallagher scored twice for the visitors with River Smith notching two for the home side, one of which was the first goal of the League season. The one game scheduled for Wednesday incredibly fell foul of the weather. On the second day of the season and on just the second day of August the fixture between Weymouth Reserves and Christchurch was postponed because of a waterlogged pitch.

The weekend, and the FA Cup, started on Friday when Alresford Town travelled to Sholing and won two one to progress in to the next Round and record their second away victory in the space of four days. In the other evening game Folland Sports scored first but three goals in the space of fifteen minutes in the second half gave Downton victory and the points in Division One.

So, to Saturday and the Extra Preliminary Qualifying Round of the FA Cup with six all-Wessex ties and eleven pitting Clubs against opposition from other Leagues. Taking the all-Wessex Ties first there were four different names on the score sheet for Fareham in their four two victory at Bashley, a result that earned them a money spinning tie at Salisbury in the next round. AFC Portchester proved too strong for Christchurch at Hurn Bridge, Bobby Scott claiming a hat trick in their five one success, whist Hamworthy United also registered four different scorers in their four one defeat of Bemerton, making it ten goals conceded in two games for the Wiltshire side. Zach Glasspool notched a goal in Andover Town’s impressive two nil away win over Lymington Town and Brockenhurst added to Team Solent’s early season woes with a five two victory at Test Park. Two goals apiece for Mike Barker and Mitch Speechley-Price earned the Badgers a home tie with Hartley Wintney in a fortnight’s time. Finally, in this section the all Division One tie saw Laverstock and Ford score three without reply at Whitchurch. The other eleven ties produced just three wins with four ties finishing level and four defeats. Horndean came from behind to claim a best of three victory over Western League high fliers Melksham Town and Amesbury Town scored four times in the second half – two for Keiron Stephens- to end Eversley and California’s interest in the Competition. League Champions Portland United travelled west and a lone goal from Alex Godfrey gave them an impressive victory over Plymouth Parkway. Blackfield and Langley survived a pre-match thunderstorm and a tie that featured few scoring chances at Camberley, the goalless draw meaning a replay at Gang Warily on Tuesday, while Bournemouth achieved a similar result at Knaphill. A long midweek journey to Victoria Park for the Surrey side and a long journey for Newport (IOW) too after sharing four goals with Guildford City. A replay at the rather desolate Spectrum awaits though there are suggestions that the tie will be played at Godalming. The last game to finish all square was at Shaftesbury, again goalless, and the Dorset side now face a midweek trek to Exmouth. On the debit side, so to speak, Cowes Sports went down three nil on Bracknell’s artificial pitch and Fawley AFC, after drawing level with five minutes left, conceded a late goal to go down three two at Farnham Town. There were two heavy defeats with Thatcham Town scoring four times in the second half in a five nil victory over Petersfield Town – one goal for former Blackfield & Langley and Team Solent striker Ekow Eliott – whilst Ringwood Town went down six nil at home to Ascot United making it eleven goals conceded in two games for the hosts.

On the League front, there was one Premier Division game with Baffins Milton Rovers and Hamble Club sharing four goals and the points. In Division One two of last season’s bottom sides, Andover New Street and East Cowes Victoria started the season with points to their name. Street defeated Alton two one at Charlton whilst the Islanders battled to a goalless draw with New Milton Town. Elsewhere Romsey Town and Hythe and Dibden finished all square, Tadley Calleva came from behind to register a four two victory over US Portsmouth and Weymouth Reserves defeated Totton and Eling by the odd goal in five at a Wessex Stadium happily dried out after its midweek soaking.

So that is Week One – only another thirty or more to go!