Match Report -

Match Report - , by Roger Allen

Amesbury Town v Petersfield Town 08/12/18

Amesbury Town 5 Petersfield Town 2

ON a rather damp afternoon, with the pitch standing up remarkably well to a heavy downpour in the hour before the game. Amesbury maintained their two point lead at the top of Division One with an ultimately comfortable win over Petersfield. The visitors may feel that the final score reflected harshly upon them – they did enjoy their fair share of the game – but the home side always looked the more dangerous throughout and the Petersfield defence lost its way on occasions after the interval.

The game could have started with two penalties in as many minutes but we had to settle for one. In the first Amesbury attack there were strong – and from the side lines – justified appeals for a penalty for handball but nothing was given, and when the visitors broke clear down the left through Matt Rowland, the challenge was well intentioned and just inside the box, but contact was made with legs rather than ball. No real complaints and Will ESSAI comfortably put his side ahead from the spot. This was followed by a spell of pressure with the home defence looking none too sure of themselves and it needed a superbly timed challenge by Jack Vallis on Harry Giles to prevent a second goal. Slowly the home side came back in to the game and were all square after twenty six minutes. Full back Connor Palmer made ground down the right and his low cross was fumbled by keeper Jacob Orr on the slippery surface with Jordon MATTHEWS tucking home the loose ball from close range.

The referee was making every attempt to allow for the conditions – not all the players followed suit leading to a couple of cautions – and the home side saw Luke Greenway just too high with one effort and a superb reaction save by Orr from a Tyler Brockway shot that took a deflection en route as the interval approached. All square at the break would probably have been a fair outcome but with less than two minutes remaining Brockway slid the ball between the two central defenders and a cool finish from MATTHEWS meant that the home side went in for their tea a goal to the good. HT 2-1

As is often the case the no doubt well intentioned team talks from both managers at halftime went out of the window within a couple of minutes of the restart as Amesbury made it three one. Two corners were won in quick succession, the second was only partially cleared and a spectacular overhead effort from Luke GREENWAY flew past everybody and finished in the corner of the net. Brockway fired in to the side netting after some neat footwork by Jamie Ritchie created the chance and a powerful free kick from Essai at the other end was tipped over the bar by home keeper Paddy Creese. Greenway smacked a shot against the post with the goalkeeper no more than an interested spectator and Sam Roberts produced the tackle of the game to deny Matthews his hat trick after he had broken clear and rounded Orr.

Fifteen minutes in to the half it was four and effectively game over, A corner from Greenway found BROCKWAY unmarked at the far post and Orr had no chance. Substitutes came and went for both sides and Petersfield to their credit never gave up but it always appeared likely that any further goals would be to the home side’s credit with the Rams defence beginning to look vulnerable to the through or long ball. With the game in its final five minutes and coasting to a home victory Petersfield suddenly woke things up with a second goal. Josh SHEEHAN was both the creator and the scorer, exchanging passes with substitute Jake Bourton before firing past Creese. Any thoughts of a surprise and last ditch comeback were however quickly quashed as the visiting defence and goalkeeper dallied over taking responsibility for a through ball and substitute Robbie OWEN claimed goal number five. FT 5-2

Overall a fair result with Amesbury sharper by far up front and after a slightly shaky start Vallis and Michael Owen formed a solid barrier at the back. In contrast, for all their efforts on the day, Petersfield could not match their hosts at either end of the pitch. Credit to all for an enjoyable game and to the referee, and after the first twenty minutes the players, for adapting to the conditions and making very little fuss. It can be done.