Winchester City 3 Bristol Manor Farm 2
By Malcolm Clarke
Winchester returned to winning ways with a 3-2 win against Bristol Manor Farm. In their last four games they had achieved a great win against AFC Totton, but had lost three encounters
games by the odd goal despite having enough of the encounter game to have got something from it and been eliminated from both the F A Cup and the F A Trophy in the process. However on a positive note the victory against Bristol Manor Farm moved them up to third in the table and they attracted a crowd of 176 which is a good figure for a midweek game to wsittness it.
Bristol Manor Farm who are in mid-table also went into this match having suffered recent disappointment and were eliminated from both the F A Cup and F A Trophy in a four day period.
Having reached the 3rd qualifying round of the F A Cup for the third successive season they were eliminated on penalty kicks and on Saturday they lost in the F A Trophy to Willand Rovers who in Monday's draw were the lucky team to be given a bye to the next round.
With Danny King returning from suspension and Dan Bradshaw returning from injury Winchester
were able to make two changes to the starting line-up from Saturday with Dan Williamson and Ollie Griggs dropping to the bench. Josh McCormick reverted to right back, while Kieran Douglas injured in the warm-up on Saturday and Simba Mlambo injured in the under 23 match on Thursday were still out, while goalkeeper Charlie Philpott was coming back from Loughborough on the day of the match and the uncertainty regarding his time of arrival meant he was not in the squad for this encounter.
The match was played at a fast and furious pace, but Winchester took the lead in the second minute when Ollie Balmer who appeared to be given a more forward role than usual broke clear and slotted home. However at the other end Ryan Pryce made an excellent save to deny Lewis Leigh-Gilchrist and the follow up was well blocked. Max Smith came close to increasing Winchester's lead when he shot narrowly wide, but soon afterwards he went off injured and was replaced by Ollie Griggs.
Eleven minutes from half time the visitors drew level when a penalty was awarded for a push. Many people regarded it as a soft penalty, but Bristol Manor Farm captain Jay Adams takes a good penalty to level the scores.
The first half saw both teams get in crucial blocks to keep the opposition out, but it was all square at the interval.. Rob Flooks did though have a header cleared off the line.
In the second half Pryce made a good save to deny Dan Spencer which proved crucial as almost immediately Winchester broke away and the moved that followed resulted in Josh McCormick scoring the all important second goal.
Rob Carr had a shot saved by Luc Rees in the visitors goal, but 11 minutes after going behind Bristol Manor Farm were level when Dan Spencer followed up after Sam Boulton's initial shot was saved. Having come from behind to achieve three of their four victories in previous encounters with Winchester you wondered then whether another of their comebacks was on its' wsy..
Marcus Day shot just wide for the visitors, but with 13 minutes to go Balmer again broke clear and slotted home.
Winchester bought on Graeme Purdy and Joe Hayward in the game's second period, and this time they were able to retain the lead and win three valuable points in a keenly contested game.
Highworth 2 Winchester City 1
For the Fourth successive season Winchester exited the F A Trophy at the first hurdle with all of #the losses coming at the hands of teams that have won the championship of the Hellenic League this century and been promoted to the Southern League. For Highworth whose 2-1 win was their first success against Winchester in five attempts it enabled them to become one of eight teams from the Southern League South Division to progress to the next round, and in their third season as a Southern League club their first ever win in the competition.
In truth it was a game of two halves with Winchester 2-0 down at the break very much in the ascendancy in the game's second period, but having pulled a goal back early in the half could not quite get the equalizing goal. However it was perhaps significant that Highworth named their goalkeeper Connor Johns as their man of the match.
Winchester made four changes from the previous week. Goalkeeper Charlie Philpott is on loan from Eastleigh who did not want him cup-tied, which meant that Ryan Pryce a regular for the previous three seasons was in goal. Josh Davies came in at centre back with Kieran Douglas on the bench, while Max Smith replaced Simba Mlambo. Danny King's one match suspension meant that Dan Williamson came in at right back with Josh McCormick reverting to left back.
Although no individual played particularly badly the three changes to the back four meant that in the game's first period Winchester's defence as a unit had difficulty in coping with Ashley Edenborough in the first period and in the game's first half hour with the Highworth striker having one shot saved, hit the side netting once, on another occasion forced Ryan Pryce to rush from his goal to head clear and he looked lively throughout. At the other end both Ollie Balmer and Max Smith both forced Johns to save at the expense of a corner with the save from Balmer being a particularly good one.
However goals in he 38th and 41st minutes enabled Highworth to go into the interval with a 2-0 lead. Firstly a ball from Sean Wood enabled Edenborough to have a shot that Ryan Pryce could only parry into the path of Callum Parsons who was able to score at close range and then Wood set up Edenborough who scored with a great strike.
Winchester bought on Liam Callaghan for Ollie Griggs at the interval and they started the second half well forcing several corners and when Rob Flooks headed home a cross from Jamie Barron in the 50th minute they were very much back in the game. However despite dominating virtually all of the remainder of the game they could no get the all important second goal. They had a shot deflected on to a post, saw Johns make a particularly good save from Callaghan after good work from Tyrell Mitford had created the chance.and save an effort from Balmer at the expense of a corner.
Reece Rusher and Joe Hayward came on in the latter stages of the second half and the former came close to scoring as Winchester had wave after wave of attacks with Highworth having the only occasional breakaway.
Evesham edge out Citizens
By Matt Richbell
Winchester saw their unbeaten league start to the season come to an end with a 1-0 home defeat against Evesham United, writes Matt Richbell. A crowd of 244 watched on as both sides battled in an evenly contested encounter and late refereeing decisions potentially denied City a deserved point against their Gloucestershire counterparts.
City started the game well and Tyrell Mitford came close to putting City ahead, but his header hit the crossbar and went over. Evesham punished Mitford's miss and went down the other end and scored from close range following an error in defence. Jamie Barron came close to equalising for City but his volley was well saved.
After the restart, Rob Carr almost levelled for the hosts, but his shot was cleared off the line. Just after the hour mark, Josh McCormick sent a dangerous free-kick into the box and an Evesham defender headed it against his own crossbar. Olly Balmer nearly equalised for City but his effort was saved and then substitute, Graeme Purdy, headed just wide. Charlie Philpott was called into action at the other end to keep City in the game. Josh Davies nearly salvaged a point late on for the hosts, but his header went just over the bar.
Winchester 0 Evesham United 1
Winchester lost their 100% league record when they lost 1-0 to a strong and resilient Evesham team who had not previously won in the league, but had won ties in both the F A Cup and F A Trophy. This is the seventh season that Winchester and Evesham have been in the same division and in each of the previous six Evesham have won one of the two league games between the clubs without completing the double. Winchester will be hoping that after the return fixture between the clubs the latter record will remain intact.
Both Winchester and Evesham had the previous Saturday gone out of the F A Cup to a former National League club with Evesham losing out to Tamworth..
Prior to the game a minute's silence was observed in memory of club stalwarts Ray Broad and Alan Austin who passed away and this was impeccably observed.
Evesham bought their usual enthusiastic following who turned out in good numbers and helped swell the crowd to an impressive 244. Earlier in the year they appointed Neil Hunt who has strong connections to the Evesham area as manager.
Winchester were without the midfield duo of Dan Bradshaw and Max Smith with Simba Mlambo who was making his first appearance of the season and Ollie Griggs scorer of the winner at AFC Totton coming in to the starting line-up with Liam Callaghan appearing on the bench for the first time this season.
Early on Mlambo shoots over for Winchester, while Rob Carr and Ollie Balmer combine to set up Jamie Barron whose effort was saved. However Winchester came closer to scoring when good play by Carr provided an opportunity for Tyrell Mitford whose effort hit the top of the cross bar.
However Winchester fell behind in the 21st minute when Kieran Douglas who has been a rock at the back for Winchester this season uncharacteristically miskicked and prevented Josh Hunt with an opportunity to score from close range which he took.
Before half time Jamie Barron had an effort saved by Lewis Clayton in the Evesham goal, but the visitors were generally a hard team to break down and also at times looked dangerous going forward. Winchester though trailed 1-0 at the interval and during the course of the half had replaced Rob Flooks with Josh Davies.
Winchester though started the second half brightly and it required a goal line clearance by Evesham captain Matt Williams to keep out Rob Carr. However generally speaking the second half was more end to end with Winchester applying a lot of pressure and Evesham looking dangerous on the break. During the course of the second half Winchester bought on Graeme Purdy and he gave them a greater aerial presence especially at set pieces. At the other end Jamie Lucas was virtually clean through, but he found it difficult to control the ball and the Winchester defenders were able to clear the danger.
Both goalkeepers made good saves with Philpott doing well to keep out Calvin Dinsley and Lewis Clayton in the visitors goal saving well from Balmer. Philpott made another important save, but Winchester were creating a lot of attacking movements without being able to score the decisive goal against a determined Evesham team.
Purdy, Kieran Douglas and Josh Davies all had headers that were off target during Winchester's spell of pressure and right at the death Philpott went up for a set piece, but in the end it was Evesham who took the three points. Kieran Douglas displayed one bit of skill during the second half when he controlled the ball superbly, held off a couple of challenges before putting a good ball forward.
AFC Totton 1 Winchester City 2
Winchester maintained their 100% league record by achieving a tremendous 2-1 win away to local rivals AFC Totton 2-1. They did so despite having to play the last 29 minutes of the game with 10 men after Danny King received a second yellow card.
AFC Totton had a difficult 2019/20 season and were in the lower half of the table when lockdown ended the season prematurely. However this time around they have recruited former Blackfield manager Glenn Howes a former playing colleague of Winchester boss as manager and he bought with him some of the players that helped Blackfield win this division in 2018/19 and consolidate their place in the Premier Division last year, so it was a great win for Winchester against a team that had obtained 7 points from their first three league games.
Winchester announced an unchanged starting line-up for the fifth successive match with the same five substitutes as the previous Tuesday. AFC Totton started with four former Winchester players in Adam Tomasso,, Brett Williams, Craig Feeney and Lewis Noice with another in Liam Robinson on the bench.
Early on a corner from Winchester's Jamie Barron eluded everyone, but Winchester took the lead in the 9th minute when Max Smith puts a ball into the penalty box and Rob Carr puts the ball away.
Brett Williams who has played in the football league for Rotherham, Northampton and Stevenage was looking lively and he came close to scoring before he levelled the scores five minutes before half time when he followed up after Philpott had saved his first effort.
Shortly before half time Dan Bradshaw was injured and had to be replaced by Olly Griggs who proved to be Winchester's match winner. later in the game.
In the second half good dribbling skills by Tyrell Mitford created a chance, but Lewis Noice was able to save his effort., while Jamie Barron tried an effort from distance which went wide.
However Winchester appeared up against it when King received two yellow cards within 3 minutes of each other.
A good ball found Feeney, but Philpott in the Winchester goal was able to save his effort.
However in the 70th minute Ollie Balmer who was always lively set up Ollie Griggs to score.
Balmer came close to adding a third for Winchester, but towards the end Williams shot just wide for AFC Totton and Liam Robinson forced a save from Philpott. However it was a great win for Winchester who bought on Dan Williamson and Graeme Purdy in the second half and had a good travelling support for this game.
Winchester City 0-1 Evesham
Disappointing result but without Max and Dan who have been integral that was a blow, however against a direct side who smashed it forward at every opportunity on a very bobbly pitch we didn’t produce the sort of stuff we have been, credit to them for getting the goal and preventing us playing! Even their goal came courtesy of an horrific bobble meaning Kinger missed his clearance allowing a tap in, unfortunate in the extreme.
They had a few chances on the break and Charlie made a few good stops but in truth it was wave after wave of us and we couldn’t get the equaliser. Also a couple of stone wall pens not given.
In the end it’s a loss but the efforts from the lads has been sensational, I believe in our style of playing and I wouldn’t want to put out a side to attempt to play any other way, we will win more than we lose but we have to sometimes win an ugly game like today if we want to be a really good side.
Work in progress!
Up the citizens
AFC Totton 1-2 Winchester City
his group of players are the very best I could wish for, budgets on display elsewhere dwarf anything we have, by a long way, however the spirit, togetherness and style that they do it with is a joy!
It means nothing to be 9 from 9 including away wins at melksham and totton who were both pre start favourites, is outstanding, but we can sit back and enjoy them results.
Some of the displays truly outstanding, will pick a couple out, Balmer and McCormick, both of which deemed surplus to requirements to our opponents when they were blackfield! We bring them in, work with them and shine them up a bit, develop them in areas and give them a platform to go and play! Whole display a different class though in all aspects football wise when 11v11 we played great stuff and the resilience when down to 10 incredible.
Well done boys, we are counting the cost now though with knocks, hope Dan Bradshaw can be back soon following his head injury, he has been superb with Max so far, Griggsy to come on and slide home the winner though says it all about the group.
Up the winch! Hope you all enjoy the win, you all deserve it as we do things with a class as a club that I am very proud of, more and more things that you experience at places like today shows that in an abundance.
Bath City 3-2 Winchester City
Couldn’t be prouder of that group of players and staff trudging home after completely going toe to toe with a side who were play offs at step 2 last season away from home!
A hardy few committee members only able to witness it, I hope that some who were able to witness it can give their view. Absolutely went for the win, not just to sit and get rolled over.
Well done boys, unbelievable group of people let alone very talented and care about the squad and pride in the shirt they wear!
Outstanding Saturday, simply outstanding, tonight for long spells extremely poor in comparison, albeit if we didn’t give them a super sloppy goal at 3-0 up we would have gone on and scored a few more I think, we gave them a lifeline! They didn’t create anything with quality but with long balls and sheer effort which deserves respect and that’s why games against lower opposition is very hard.
Still 3 wins from 3 games, 2 vital prize money wins and we roll on. 2 sides in our league went out to sides in Clevedons league tonight, them games are always banana skins but we got the job done.
Delighted for the whole club. Up the citizens!