Match Report -

Match Report - , by Roger Allen

Amesbury Town v Alton 20/10/18

Amesbury Town 3 Alton 1

ON a beautiful sunny afternoon – the rain that usually accompanies the writer to Amesbury failed for once to materialise – Amesbury Town retained their top three placing in Division One with a dominant first half performance that saw them three ahead at the break and then hold off a spirited comeback attempt from Alton in the second half.

 
In front of a larger than usual attendance -many “old” players had been invited for a reunion – the game took some time to get going with the first excitement being an attempted Amesbury clearance that became an “up and under” in Rugby terminology and landed in the six yard area before being cleared with some difficulty. A stray pass and awkward challenge gave the visitors a free kick on the edge of the area but Matt Bunyan’s effort was wide before the home side took the lead thirteen minutes in to the game. Some neat play down the left by Tom Plant and Danny Finnigan gained a corner and PLANT’s kick was rather punched in to the net by goalkeeper Lewis Boughton but the winger will claim the goal.

The keeper redeemed himself with a smart save from a Finnigan snapshot and the home side had a strong penalty appeal turned down, the referee adjudging correctly that it was ball to hand from close range. Another free kick for Alton on the edge of the area saw Matt Graham’s effort hit the defensive wall before Amesbury doubled their lead after twenty five minutes. Full back Connor Palmer hoisted a long diagonal cross in to the area and FINNIGAN’s header from near the penalty spot looped over Boughton who was caught somewhat in no mans land.

An early, in terms of the game, Alton substitution saw Liam Knight replace Reece Colbourne and Bunyan was close with a diving header before a spell of two to three minutes when Amesbury midfielder Luke Greenway appeared to totally monopolise the ball. A run in to the box from the right saw an effort cleared off the line – though a pass to the unmarked Finnigan on the far post may have been a better option – was followed by a second run when he outpaced Knight only to see the advancing keeper block the shot with his legs.

Some more clever control and ball juggling won a corner before the extraordinary cameo ended with a header in to the side netting from Lee Weeks’s cross. There was still time, albeit stoppage time, for Amesbury to make it three as a free kick to the far post was headed back across goal by Jack Vallis and the ball turned in by Jordon MATTHEWS. HT 3-0

Amesbury replaced Tyler Brockway with George Higgins at the start of the second half with Matthews moving up front but it was the visitors who made the better start. Gavin Muir was denied by an offside flag that must have been very close and Higgins saw a yellow for an ugly challenge that on another day could have been red.

The possession was now very much in Alton’s favour with Amesbury sitting on their heels and they gained some reward as the half reached its halfway point. Steve Black drove a free kick past the defensive wall, home goalkeeper Dave Cardus could not hold it and George SPIERS was quickest to the loose ball to make it three one. Nic Turpin replaced the now limping Matthews and after Cardus had foiled Bunyan, Turpin saw a header saved and a free kick rebound to safety off the defensive wall. Still the visitors kept coming forward and after a Matt Graham corner bounced off the face of the crossbar they were denied a second goal with what many saw as possibly controversial circumstances. Bunyan chased a through ball, Cardus came out but was always second best as regards reaching he ball, the players collided, the ball finished in the net and Cardus won a free kick for his actions. Keepers are, perhaps rightly a “protected species” but on occasions they can be over protected.

That was the final action of the game and overall the outcome was correct. Amesbury were outstanding at times as an attacking force in the first half and the visitors, despite their efforts, had too much to do after the break on what was an enjoyable afternoon in the aforementioned sunshine. FT 3-1 (John Gorman)

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