Round up

After a fortnight’s break midweek football made a tentative return to the schedules with five matches spread over three different Cup Competitions. There was disappointment for Blackfield and Langley in the FA Vase as they could not re-produce Saturday’s heroics and went out two one in the replay at Bracknell. They were two down at the break and whilst a late penalty gave them hope they could not find the equaliser. In the Sydenhams Football League (Wessex) League Cup Hamble Club followed up their Vase success by defeating Alresford Town two one to reach the last eight with Vase scorers Nathan Lynch and Nicky Watts on target again. The final three games were in the Russell Cotes Cup and saw three Wessex League Clubs advance to the semi final stage. Fareham Town carried their current League form – they are unbeaten in six matches – on to the Cup front and goals either side of half time gained them a two nil victory over Sholing whilst Division One AFC Stoneham pulled off a superb victory by the odd goal in seven at AFC Portchester. Four different scorers for the winners whilst Bobby Scott scored twice for AFC Portchester on an evening when they welcomed former Gosport boss Mick Catlin to their management team. The final tie emphasised the difference in standard between different levels as likely Hampshire Premier League winners Paulsgrove travelled to Premier Division leaders Andover Town and were beaten seven one. Jason Silver claimed a hat trick for the hosts who were six nil up at half time. The last semi Final place in the Competition will be decided next week after the tie between Fleet Town and AFC Totton.

And then there was one! The League’s representation in the FA Vase is now just Hamble Club after Newport’s exit from the competition in yesterday’s tie that was postponed from last week. Yet the Islanders will surely feel they should have won as opponents Bradford Town saw their goalkeeper dismissed in the first half leaving them with ten men and no substitute keeper on the bench. The Wiltshire side however not only hung on but scored the only goal of the game to ensure their place in the next round.

No interference from the weather so all scheduled League fixtures completed with both the leaders in the Premier Division dropping points and both coming from behind to earn a draw on the day. Andover Town were two nil down at the break at Hamble Club – both goals from Jack McCarthy – before coming back to two all whilst Blackfield and Langley came from a goal down to Cowes Sports ensure a similar scoreline at a rather bleak Gang Warily. The Watersiders took an early lead but were then pegged back in a game in which there was a penalty for both sides. Sholing regained third place as an Owen Royl goal gave them victory over Bashley with Hamworthy United dropping down to fourth after a three one defeat at AFC Portchester – a first success for the home side’s new Management team. Lymington Town stretched their unbeaten run to seven with a fine three one win at Alresford, two goals for Owen Fee, and Horndean got back to winning ways with a four two defeat of bottom club Petersfield Town with Josh Maloney scoring twice. Portland United attracted the biggest attendance in the Division but failed to build on last week’s win with a Jamie Lightfoot goal giving visitors Bemerton Heath Harlequins the points while Shaftesbury made one of their longest journeys – to Baffins Milton Rovers – and returned home with all three points after a two nil success. Neither Brockenhurst or Bournemouth had won for nine matches so a draw was almost inevitable and so it transpired with Will Tickle claiming both the home side’s goals and Charlie Gilbert doing the same for the Poppies. Finally, three welcome points for Amesbury Town as they halted Fareham’s run of form with a best of five victory at Cams Alders. Keiron Stephens scored twice for the Wiltshire side who are now level on points with Newport (IOW) in the bottom three in the table.

A surprise in Division One as leaders Andover New Street lost top spot after going down four nil at Fawley for whom Ben Bolton scored twice with Tadley Calleva now heading the table after a convincing five one victory at New Milton with the prolific Brett Denham adding two more goals to his seasons tally. Christchurch remain very much in the promotion picture after a two one victory over Whitchurch United – the Hurn Bridge Club are now unbeaten in fourteen League fixtures – whilst US Portsmouth made it five wins in a row after defeating Ringwood Town four two with Mig Dark claiming two of the goals. Alton found some away form with a three nil win at Downton but Laverstock and Ford perhaps missed a chance to get back in to promotion contention with a one all draw at Follands – a good point for the bottom club. The Preview of this week’s matches suggested goals might be hard to come by at Beatrice Road but neither East Cowes Victoria or Verwood Town had obviously read the script with the game ending in a four all draw with two goals from George Woodburn for the Vics matched by a brace from Ryan Kelly for the visitors. Finally, the Club of the Month Award is sometimes considered to be a “curse” as the game following the presentation is often lost and that was certainly the case at Millers Park. Totton and Eling accepted the Award on the back of a four match winning run and then went down seven nil to near neighbours Romsey Town for whom Brett Stanley and Liam Magee both scored twice. Despite yesterday’s results it is still tight at the top of the Division with nine points covering the top eight Clubs.

So Andover’s hold on the Wessex League is (temporarily) broken.