Match Report -

Match Report - , by Roger Allen

Alton v New Milton Town 01/12/18

Alton 0 New Milton Town 2

THIS result was something of a turn up for the book given the visitors long run of defeats but it was, on the day, fully deserved and left one wondering just why it had taken them so long to record a victory. They were quick, committed and defended well but could have regretted one or two chances missed in the second half.

In pale watery sunshine – the rain in the North of the County had ceased before mid-morning – the game started slowly and though end to end it was scrappy overall. The first chance of a goal came when New Milton’s Adam Burke made ground on the left and his low cross bounced off a defender, hit keeper Lewis Boughton on the head and rebounded to safety. Chance number two bought the opening goal on twelve minutes when Jake CARSWELL fastened on to a through ball, evaded two challenges and slotted the ball past the advancing Boughton. The visitors continued to have the better of the play and a fierce shot from the same player was beaten away at full stretch by Boughton and two attacks foundered because of Erickson Mukambi’s tendency to be offside.

New Milton keeper James Mayo’s first real action came when he smothered a cross at the foot of the near post and after the ball had been given away in midfield Alton’s Taylor Watts was wide from the edge of the area. Boughton had to leave his area to deny Carswell and with time running out Watts and Matt Bunyan carved out a superb opening for the first named but the shot was rather scuffed past the post from some six yards. And that was that for the first half. HT 0-1

Alton, perhaps “wound up” at halftime, were quickly in to their stride on the re-start with Bunyan just too high with a header, a couple of crosses coming to nothing and when Mayo rather fumbled a header round the post for a corner, he atoned with a point blank save from Bunyan’s header. A scramble in the Alton are saw a close range shot blocked by Boughton, though he probably knew little about it, and at the other end Bunyan failed to make contact with a Liam Knight cross. The home side used all their substitutes in quick succession but were wasting possession with a series of poor crosses from both flanks. Another Bunyan effort bought another good save from Mayo and Carswell, a willing runner and threat all afternoon, provided a perfect low cross that Mukambi scooped over the bar from close range, and had it gone in it would certainly have been game over.

The game had been played in good spirit with little if any problems for the referee but with five minutes to go it all went rather horribly wrong – especially from the home side’s point of view, Mukambi thrust his way in to the area from the right and went down in, what looked from the far touchline, like a tangle of legs. The referee, not too far away, gave the matter some thought and awarded a penalty which, and this is something of an understatement, was not to the agreement of the home side and after much “conversation” between all and sundry the referee issued two or three cautions and showed one of the defenders a red card. Whether it was for the original challenge or not is unsure. When sanity returned (briefly) MUKAMBI coolly placed the penalty kick low in to the corner to make it two nil with time running out. Sadly Alton had not finished their protest and a second red card went the way of the goalkeeper for making his views known in no uncertain manner. In the short time remaining Alton could make nothing of two free kicks from the edge of the area and New Milton were able to return home with three precious points that lifted them a couple of places up the table.

Referees can only give what they see and though someone on the far side maintained afterwards there was no contact in the challenge the decision was made. Whether it affected the result is open to opinion, given the short amount of time remaining but overall the visitors deserved their victory. Perhaps I should also mention that on my way through Alton I saw Father Christmas. Oh dear. FT 0-2 (John Gorman)

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