Match Report -

Match Report - , by Roger Allen

Fawley AFC v Whitchurch United 02/02/19

Fawley AFC 2 Whitchurch United 3

A mere five games survived the freeze involving Wessex League clubs and there was a sunny (but cold) welcome awaiting at one of them as Fawley AFC entertained Whitchurch United. The pitch was playable without any doubt whatsoever.

Whitchurch took an early lead when Liam Stone played the ball inside from the right and Nathan GRAY struck a low turning effort that deflected into the net. The visitors had started well and almost added to their lead when Ryan Long seized on some hesitant Fawley defending and fired just past the post. A Steven Green corner for the Oilers found Declan Hartigan at the far post but his header was saved low by visiting keeper Josh Cotton. An attempted cross by Fawley’s Dan Munday drifted towards the goal but landed on the top of the net. Gray showed some good control for Whitchurch but he was eventually crowded out by a combination of Fawley keeper Jon Page and a defender.

Whitchurch added to their lead on the half-hour mark when home defender Reece Macey headed the ball out but into the path of LONG who fired home low from the edge of the ‘dee’. Fawley’s half was typified by the ball being sloppily lost in midfield which needed Page to be out quickly to thwart Gray. With the first half in stoppage time the Oilers got a goal back when a poor defensive header put the ball into the path of Zac WILLIS who scored with a low 20-yard shot. HT 1-2.

Fawley applied some pressure early in the second half and they were almost rewarded when Ben Rankin got behind a Whitchurch defender but his shot was saved by Cotton to concede a corner. A good run by Munday on the left took him inside and his progress was halted by a trip outside the box. GREEN, the chief set-piece protagonist for Fawley, not surprisingly took it and put it past the wall and into the near corner to level the scores on 57 minutes. Sadly for Fawley, Hartigan was shown a second yellow card following a foul leaving them 24 minutes to play with a man short.

The Jam Boys almost went back in front when Stone’s left-wing cross just failed to locate Gray in the middle, but it came to Aaron Randall whose firm effort rebounded off the bar on 72 minutes. Following a dispute about a throw taken just in the wrong half of the field which meant it became a Whitchurch one, the ball was pumped deep into the Fawley box from the left of midfield where Harry BUTLER popped up on the right-hand side of the box to rifle a firm shot into the Oilers net. With the sun disappearing and making the scene appreciably colder in the latter stages, the visitors dealt with the Fawley attempts to respond. FT 2-3.

It was a decent game. There appeared to be a more supportive team spirit to Fawley in the second half, but it was Whitchurch who took the points which will help them to move away from the lower reaches of the Division 1 table.

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