Match Report -

Match Report - , by Ian Craig

Ringwood Town v Fleet Spurs

Ringwood Town 4 Fleet Spurs 3 (Sydenhams Wessex League Division 1) by John Porter

This was a roller-coaster of a game played at the Martin & Co Stadium on a cold but clear day.  Both sides probably feel that they should have won, though a draw might have been the fairest result.  However, Ringwood snatched the points at the end, at least partly because they were able to freshen their team by introducing three second-half substitutes, which Fleet could not do because of their normal, but frustrating, shortage of players on the bench.

The game started dramatically when in the second minute a home defender tripped Dan Bone in the box.  Sam Knowles took the resulting penalty, but hit it too close to keeper Tom Edmonds, who was able to make a comfortable save.  The game was end-to-end with chances at both ends and soon Lee Clark placed a looping header from a right-wing corner over Mark Appleby and just inside the far post to give the Reds the lead.  Ringwood were playing the more fluent football, but Fleet were creating – and missing – more clear chances.  At last, midway through the half, Spurs gained their reward when Bone fired in a hard low shot that Edmonds was only able to parry and Knowles equalised at the second attempt with a shot that hit the underside of the bar and just crossed the line.  Half-time came at 1-1, with Fleet believing that given sharper finishing they would have been ahead.

After the break, the Reds began in a lively fashion and created a number of chances, but determined defending by the visitors’ defence and some good saves from Appleby kept the game at parity.  There was also one occasion when Spurs’ efforts failed, but that time they were saved by the crossbar.  Then, rather against the run of play, Fleet took the lead.  Jamil Olweny did well to win a corner, which was taken short and Olweny himself crossed hard and low for Tom Slane to finish with a strong low left-foot shot into the corner of the net.  Ringwood now brought on their substitutes and began to dominate possession.  However, Spurs held out until ten minutes from the end, when one of the Reds’ subs, Pepe-chino Smith, collecting a through ball that had found the visitors’ defence static and square, slipped the ball past Appleby.  When the ball went loose, Spurs failed to clear their lines properly and Peter Richmond-Cole was able to wrong-foot a defender and drive the ball powerfully into the net from close range.  Possibly Ringwood thought the game was now won and so they relaxed, but in the next minute Knowles at the far post headed a Bone corner back into the middle and Rob Colfer made no mistake with his head.  A draw?  Not a bit of it.  The game was just entering stoppage time when skipper Michael Johnston picked up another partially-cleared ball following a corner and shot just inside the near post to secure victory for the Reds.

Spurs have now fallen to 16th place in the league.  On Tuesday, they hope to play Romsey Town – the word ‘hope’ is pertinent because the match has already been postponed twice, for floodlight problems at Romsey and a flooded pitch at Fleet respectively.  Kick-off is at 7.45.  Then on Saturday they visit Totton & Eling (kick-off 3.00).

Spurs team: Mark Appleby; Chris Barnes; Sam Lynham; Rob Colfer; Victor Mudonhi; Tom Slane; Dan Bone; Michael Bertoux; Jamil Olweny (capt); Sam Knowles; Chris Rose