Match Report -

Match Report - , by Roger Allen

Hythe & Dibden v Amesbury Town 02/03/19

Hythe & Dibden 4 Amesbury Town 4

First versus Third. Points vital. Close promotion race. Cagey game. No chances. Goalless draw. The usual description or prescription for games such as this but today it was nothing of the sort. End to end, chances taken and missed, both sides better attacking than defending, a touch of controversy, eight goals and a thoroughly entertaining afternoon all round.

In fairness it was a scrappy start with the home side’s Mig Dark too high after a defensive error and Amesbury’s Jordon Matthews having a shot saved at the foot of the post but the ball was given away too often and it was all too quick. Perhaps fortunately the first goal came after thirteen minutes and the game settled down, Goalkeeper Ellis Grant came out of his area to deny Jordan Matthews, Jo Tessem slid the ball down the middle and Robbie PITTMAN found the top corner of the net from twenty yards.

This left the visitors rather on the back foot and the lead was nearly doubled when a clever lob from Sam Woodward hit the angle of corner and bar with goalkeeper Paddy Creese well beaten. Amesbury however weathered the storm and levelled the scores as the clock neared the thirty minute mark. A free kick on the edge of the D was driven low either through or round the defensive wall by Jordan Matthews, Grant, perhaps unsighted, parried with his body rather than his arms, and Jordon MATTHEWS swept the loose ball in to the net. Creese palmed a cross come shot from Dark over the bar before, with the kettle coming to the boil for the half time tea, Hythe went back in front. A quick throw from the left found WOODWARD in space, there was no challenge and the shot gave Creese no chance whatsoever. HT 2-1

Anybody who departed for the Clubhouse early would have missed the goal and those returning after the second half had started missed the next goal as the scores were level inside sixty seconds. Lee Weeks lifted the ball forward and Jordon MATTHEWS coolly lobbed the advancing Grant.

A corner at each end came to nothing before Amesbury took the lead for the first time eight minutes in to the half. Jordan Matthews broke down the left, the home defence and probably a large percentage of the crowd waited for an offside flag that never came, and WEEKS turned the cross past Grant.

Neat play between Wayne O’Dell and Woodward provided an opening but the latter sliced the shot wide and a dangerous cross from Jordan Matthews was bundled behind for a corner before a couple of minutes of minor bedlam and controversy, The home side were, it seemed correctly, awarded a free kick on the edge of the D, Amesbury protested, the protest became “handbags”, Pittman was red carded for kicking an opponent, visiting skipper Jack Vallis booked for his protests – which were rather voluble – and the whole shemozzle caused by the willingness of players from both sides to get involved when it was nothing to do with them. Eventually sanity returned and was enhanced when WOODWARD sent the free kick over the wall and in to the roof of the net. All square again with a quarter of the game remaining.

Both sides introduced substitutes with Hythe’s Kyle Joryeff immediately drawing a diving save from Creese who was then quickly out to clear a Tessem through ball. The Hythe midfielder was not however to be denied and another clever pass sent Woodward clear, the challenge was from behind and in the area and TESSEM stroked the penalty kick low past Creese to give Hythe sight of the three points.

But Amesbury were not done and showed the qualities that have taken them to the top of the table with an equaliser inside the final five minutes Grant tipped an effort from Luke Greenway over the bar but was a spectator as James RITCHIE was allowed a free header at the near post from the corner, Amesbury then found the net again but a hand had helped the ball across the line before the final whistle ended a game that had eight goals and in the end the right result on the day.

An enjoyable afternoon, credit to both sides and from a neutral point of view a game that was well refereed and if anybody was watching from the new Super Liner visible in the distance, one can but hope they enjoyed it as well. FT 4-4 (John Gorman)