Match Report -

Match Report - , by Roger Allen

AFC Stoneham v Amesbury Town 22/09/18

AFC Stoneham 3 Amesbury Town 2

TWO of the three unbeaten records in Wessex Division 1 were put to the test at the HP Arena. Amesbury were the visitors and a victory for them would have opened a very useful gap at the top of the table. Stoneham went into this with a 100 percent record. It was a clear but chilly late September evening.

Stoneham opened well with Sutherden shooting into the side netting and a Harris pass presented another chance to the same player but he was well blocked by Creese in the visitors goal. Amesbury’s first attempt of note came midway through the first half when a Jordan Matthews shot from 20-yards went just wide of the post. However, it was Stoneham, whose approach play looked more assertive, that took the lead when the enterprising Laptas put a low cross in from the right and Welch capitalised on some hesitant keeping and bundled the ball home from close range. Creese saved a further Sutherden effort, Laptas again involved in the move. It was soon 2-0 in the Purples favour and well deserved too when a free-kick went into the Town box, it bobbed about a bit and fell to Clarke who fired firmly home. Overall, Stoneham had dictated most of the first half play, their lead being a fair reflection. HT: 2-0.

A Jordan Matthews cross hit the top of the bar in the opening minutes of the second half for Town when there was probably a better option in the middle. Stoneham’s Palmer, up for a free-kick, had a shot blocked whilst Town’s Weeks tried a distant shot that went just wide. Town needed a lift and they got it with a goal when Greenway received a Finnigan pass and was clear, Williams parried his first effort, but the follow up was netted. Over twenty minutes remained and Town now had a sniff of a point, which earlier in the game, seemed to be unlikely, as Owen’s corner was punched out from under the bar by Williams but Vallis fired over. Vallis was involved in a further Town attack, getting his head to a Jordan Matthews free-kick but it went over. Stoneham made it 3-1 when a low ball in from the right went under a visiting defender’s foot and ran to Jiminez who placed a shot past the keeper with eight minutes remaining.

With normal time up on the watch a spell of impromptu wrestling between opponents occurred on the half-way line which was sensibly dealt with by the officials (a yellow card for each). Amesbury got a goal deep into added time when Owen slipped a pass to Greenway who belied a tight angle to squeeze the ball between the keeper and his near post for his second goal of the night. There was still time for the same two players to combine again but this time Williams was there to hold and preserve the Stoneham advantage. FT: 3-2.

It was a fine game, fitting of two top sides. Stoneham were deserved winners overall although the margin of victory was a tad closer than it should have been. Amesbury stay at the top of Division 1 whilst Stoneham are one point behind but with two games in hand.
[Gary Day]