Match Report - Division 1
Match Report - , by Ian Craig
Folland Sports v Fleet Spurs
Folland Sports 6 Fleet Spurs 3 (Sydenhams Wessex League Division 1) by John Porter
On a very cold day at Follands Park, this was yet another disappointing performance by Spurs, who have still to gain a point in 2017 having scored 5 goals and conceded 24 in their five matches so far this year. This time, they had no excuse. Spurs had 14 players and pretty well a first-choice team apart from missing their normal keeper Mark Appleby, who had to cry off at the last minute because of illness. He was replaced by striker Dan Bone, but the emergency keeper could not be blamed for the score. Perhaps the best summary of the match would be to say that for most of the match Fleet made Folland look a good side.
The game started as it was to continue with the Planemakers creating two clear-cut chances in the first two minutes, in each case thanks to slack defending by Fleet. Fortunately for the visitors Folland’s finishing was as poor as their own defending and the score sheet remained blank. However, this did not last long, as after 13 minutes Spurs defender Adam Nash unnecessarily brought down a Folland forward in the area and skipper Jamie Dover scored without fuss from the spot. Quarter of an hour later, Fleet’s defence was wide-open after a break by the Planemakers down the left and the ball came to striker Callum Coker, who doubled the lead with a shot in off the far post. Spurs soon struck back when player-manager Sam Knowles headed a well-placed free-kick by Nash past keeper Callum McGeorge. However, Fleet’s revival didn’t last long, as six minutes before the break Ethan Miller outpaced the Spurs defence and gave Bone no chance with a powerful shot into the far top corner. A score line of 3-1 at half-time did not flatter Folland.
After the break, Spurs began to play properly, keeping the ball and putting pressure on the Planemakers’ defence, and in the 57th minute skipper Jamil Olweny crossed from the right for Pete Lines to head his first goal for Fleet. Five minutes later, Chris Rose made a long run down the left, rounded McGeorge and slipped the ball home. It was beginning to look as if Spurs might gain one point, or even three, but their good spell lasted only a few minutes as they soon fell back into the bad habits of the first half, enabling Folland to regain the initiative. Midway through the half the Planemakers regained the lead when Miller ran through the centre of the Spurs defence and scored easily past the helpless Bone. Then James Franklyn burst away down the left, carried on through two non-existent tackles and after a goalmouth scramble Coker notched his second with a low shot from close range. Finally, as the game entered stoppage time sub Ashley Simmonds completed the scoring with a stooping header from a right-wing cross.
Spurs’ poor form is a mystery, particularly considering that eight of the starting eleven also started in their excellent wins at New Milton and Totton & Eling. Clearly, the defence needs to shoulder much of the blame, but they were not helped at Folland by the lack of cover provided by the midfield. Neither were the attackers blameless, as they were unable to exploit fully Folland’s defensive vulnerability in the air.
On Saturday (Kennels Lane; kick-off 3.00), Spurs welcome Pewsey Vale, whose recent results are as bad as their own. One team at least is bound to gain their first points of 2017.
Spurs team: Dan Bone; Rob Colfer (sub Ryan Alexander 77); Adam Nash; Chris Barnes; Victor Mudonhi; Adam Bond (sub Sam Lynham 74); Pete Lines; Mike Bertoux (sub Mike Flounders 51); Jamil Olweny (capt); Sam Knowles; Chris Rose