Match Report - Division 1
Match Report - , by Ian Craig
AFC Stoneham v Fleet Spurs
AFC Stoneham 6 Fleet Spurs 1 (Sydenhams Wessex League Division 1) by John Porter
2017 has not started well for Spurs. Perhaps the start of the Chinese Year of the Rooster later this month will lead to an improvement in form for the cockerel-wearing club. Certainly, something needs to. Again, Spurs were well beaten, and had it not been for many excellent saves from Mark Appleby, the margin of defeat might have been greater. Stoneham thoroughly deserved their win, with two goals from penalty kicks sandwiching four well-taken scores.
It soon became apparent that Stoneham were more careful in possession, quicker on to the ball and stronger in the tackle than Fleet and that the visitors were likely to struggle if they couldn’t find a way of gaining some control of the game. Appleby had already made some fine saves when in the 20th minute Sam Lynham was judged to have handled the ball in the box and striker Ashley Ledger made no mistake from the spot with a powerful shot into the corner of the net. Three minutes later, Duncan Bray doubled the score after an unselfish pass from Oliver Forbes, whose determined run had not been picked up by the Fleet defence. However, ten minutes before half-time, Spurs reduced the arrears when they put together their best move of the match and Chris Rose controlled the ball cleverly from the resulting right-wing cross and slipped the ball past keeper Samuel Whieldon.
Spurs seemed to gain confidence from their goal and held their own until half-time and indeed for the first few minutes after the break. However, on the hour mark, slack marking left Ledger unmarked near the penalty spot and he beat Appleby with a well-placed header into the far corner. Ten minutes later, the Fleet defence were unable to clear the ball properly despite a number of attempts, and Bray put the result beyond redemption with an overhead kick from close in. There was still time for Stoneham to put the icing on their cake, as first Chris Manning sidestepped a Fleet defender and curled the ball with his left foot high into the far corner. As the game entered stoppage time, the referee deemed that Victor Mudonhi had mis-timed a tackle in the box, and Ledger completed his hat-trick from the spot without fuss.
Spurs remain 15th in the league. For their next game they entertain Downton at Kennels Lane on Saturday (kick-off 3.00), where they will again be hoping to gain their first points of 2017.
Spurs team: Mark Appleby; Sam Lynham (sub Mike Flounders 75); Adam Nash; Chris Barnes; Victor Mudonhi; Tom Slane; Pete Lines; Ryan Alexander; Jamil Olweny (capt) (sub Dan Bone 60); Sam Knowles; Chris Rose