Citizens survive a late scare
By Matt Richbell.
Winchester City have made it through to the Second Qualifying Round of the Emirates FA Cup following a nervy 3-2 home victory against Clevedon Town on Tuesday night, writes Matt Richbell.
A crowd of over 200 watched on at the Simplyhealth City Ground as City overcame their Step Five opponents.
City started brightly and Tyrell Mitford made it two in two when he fired the hosts into the lead, finishing well past Harley Wilkinson. Mitford had an opportunity to extend City's lead, but his effort was comfortably held on to by Wilkinson. Jamie Barron also came close when his hooked goal-bound effort evaded everyone before it was hooked away. Danny King was then the next to come close, but his low shot was saved. Shortly before half-time, City did double their advantage. There was a scramble in the Clevedon penalty area and the ball broke to Max Smith who lashed home from the edge of the box to score his second goal in as many FA Cup ties. Just moments later, Clevedon ventured into the City box and were awarded a penalty. Young stopper Charlie Philpott saved the visitors' spot kick so City went in at the break 2-0 up.
City started brightly after the restart and raced into a 3-0 lead when Tyrell Mitford broke the offside trap and finished well past Wilkinson. On the hour mark, Clevedon were awarded their second penalty, which was slammed home to reduce the deficit. City then made several substitutions as they looked to close out the game,but six minutes from Full-time, Clevedon reduced the deficit further thanks to a well taken low effort from outside the area.
Clevedon applied a little late pressure, but City held on to book their place in the Second Qualifying Round.
Melksham 1 Winchester City 2
Tyrell Mitford scored one and made one as Winchester started the league season with a 2-1 win at Melksham. It was their third successive win against the Wiltshire club and the match attracted a sizeable crowd of 390 with Melksham having one of the best stadiums in the division.
On the playing side of things Melksham last season recovered from a slow start and at the time the season finished were in the running for a playoff place having won half of their 28 league games. In the close season they signed experienced strikers in Brazilian Felipe Barcelos who has previously played for Oxford City, Didcot and Thatcham, and Alan Griffin who in previous seasons formed an excellent front line partnership with Ben Whitehead at Cirencester. However Griffin was left on the bench as was fellow striker Jack Ball who performed well for the club last season.
Winchester started with the same outfield players in the starting line up as the previous Saturday with Charlie Philpott coming in for Ryan Pryce in goal.
Early on Ollie Balmer had a free kick saved at the expense of a corner and Josh McCormick playing at full back who was overlapping with good effect and combining well with his forwards had a couple of efforts that went over the bar. However an important incident in the first half was the sending off of Barcelos for an elbow on Rob Flooks.
However during the first half neither goalkeeper had more than routine saves to make .until right at the end of the half when Tyrell Mitford made space and scored with a low shot.
Despite being a goal behind and a man down at the interval Melksham showed great spirit at the start of the second half and 10 minutes into the half they drew level when Ryan Bole played a free kick taken on the right hand side into the box and Phil Ormrod got a decisive touch.
After this Winchester had slightly more attacks than Melksham, but with defenders making crucial blocks any chances created were no more than half chances. However Winchester got the all important second goal in the 78th minute when Mitford put Jamie Barron clear and the Winchester captain made no mistake. Shortly before the goal Reece Rusher and Jack Wilson had come on as substitutes to replace Max Smith and Rob Carr.
Ollie Balmer had a great chance when he was clean through, but he was denied by a good save from Jamie Bartlett. Right at the end of the half Melksham came close following a corner which Bartlett went up for, but it was a great three points for Winchester who had a very good travelling support for the game.
Captain comes to the rescue
By Matt Richbell
Captain, Jamie Barron, fired Winchester City to an impressive 2-1 away win at Melksham Town as the Southern League returned on Saturday afternoon, writes Matt Richbell. The glorious sunshine typified that of an early season fixture, despite the later start to this campaign due to Covid-19.
City made just one change from the side that beat Corsham Town last week in the FA Cup with young goalkeeper, Charlie Philpott, making his competitive debut in the absence of Ryan Pryce who was unavailable.
City started brightly, with full back, Josh McCormick, looking particularly lively going forward. The game changed on the 20 minute mark, when new Melksham forward, Felipe Barcelos, was sent off for violent conduct. City found the ten men tough to break down, with Max Smith twice coming close for the visitors and McCormick also firing over. The game appeared to be heading for a goalless first-half when Tyrell Mitford controlled the ball well in the box, before turning his marker and finishing well past the home keeper to put City ahead.
Melksham looked rejuvenated after the restart and pushed City back. Tackles were flying in with Jamie Barron getting booked for the visitors before Melksham equalised on 55 minutes thanks to Phil Ormrod from close range. Dan Bradshaw was then also booked for the visitors as the frenetic pace continued. Jamie Barron and Josh McCormick both came close to restoring City's lead, but both saw their efforts go off target. Reece Rusher and Jack Wilson both came off the bench and that double substitution was shortly followed by Jamie Barron finding the back of the net. Tyrell Mitford turned provider this time and his ball found Barron, whose low effort beat the Melksham keeper. Olly Balmer had a glorious opportunity to finish the game off when he raced clear on goal but he was denied by a fine save. Melksham through some late deliveries into the box but City weathered the storm and held on for an impressive three points.
Winchester City 2 Corsham Town 0
By Malcolm Clarke
For the eighth successive season Winchester successfully negotiated the preliminary round of the F A Cup and earned a place in the 1st qualifying round. They beat Corsham Town of the Toolstation Western League Division 1 2-0 in a game that was never a classic, but one in Winchester did what they needed to do to progress to the next round.
Corsham recently appointed former Melksham boss Kieran Baggs as their manager and he has signed a few players with Southern League experience. In the previous round came from 2-0 behind to force a penalty shoot out against Farnham which they wpn.
Of Winchester's starting eleven eight were at the club last season and two of the other three Tyrell Mitford and Josh McCormick were returning to the club with McCormick playing at full back, and recent signing Dan Bradshaw who has played for the Eastleigh Academy side.
Corsham were not far away from scoring following a movement from a free kick, but thee closest we came to a goal in the first half was when Ollie Balmer set up Rob Carr whose effort was saved by Sam Thomson. Thomson made further saves from Balmer and Dan King in he first half, while Balmer also shot over.
After a goalless first half Winchester made a great start to the second as while people were still making their way to their seats Max Smith opened the scoring following a cross from Dan King. Thomson makes further saves from Mitford. Bradshaw and Balmer, while Jamie Barron has a free kick that eludes everyone. Winchester were playing with greater fluency than Corsham who to their credit kept battling even though their attacking players were a bit isolated at times and all the time the score stayed at 1-0 they were still very much in the game.
A dangerous cross forced Kieran Douglas to head away at the expense of a corner. Goalkeeper Thomson went up to support the attack at the corner, However in added on time Corsham surrendered possession in a key area of the pitch and substitute Graeme Purdy a recent signing from Godalming who was making his competitive debut for the club was able to round the goalkeeper and slot home to complete the victory.
On Saturday Winchester open their league campaign with a trip to Melksham and the following Tuesday are in F A Cup action again.
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!
So our last pre season in done, scoreline will look like we were comfortably beaten, in truth it was anything but that, losing was harsh let alone 4-1, also against a step 3 side who are always very good at that level as well, we certainly gave them a tough test.
We went into it short of Simba injured, Purds and Kel all unavailabile due to work, plus Rob Carr on holiday, we also had Reece Rusher unavailable, we still went there with a strong squad of 17 players. Game was end to end for most of it, they have one of top scorers in league above playing for them and they play a bit of an older fashioned style 2 up top and very robust, so that was good test for us... realistically 2 errors put us 2-0 down although they did cause us a lot of problems at times, we equally did though and should have scored a couple for sure!
Second half we were better again though, we really had gone toe to toe with them, not sitting back against higher league as usually happens, we were confident enough to have a go and we just didn’t quite get it right in both boxes... more missed chances following great moves and then they scored with a breakaway, we got one back with the excellent Olly Balmer who was causing havoc! Really should have scored several more but the only goal left in the game was from them.
Really good lesson in ensuring we are switched on in big boxes, in terms of performance though I was very pleased with how we played!
That’s it for pre season, 3 wins (all against same level or higher), 4 draws, 2 defeats to step 3 sides, we have looked good at times but still a work in progress! Very pleased with the attitude of all the lads though who have travelled all over the south for these games all being away from home! We now have to drill down on what we are wanting and get ready for next Saturday fa cup in what will be a tough game against a side who will win their league comfortably (winning 3-0 away again today) and so we need to be ready.
Look forward to it!
Up the citizens!
Another good workout against a Marlow side who are always very hard to deal with away from home, perennial play off sides in their respective step 4 league!
We had Max Smith back playing his first game for us this season, was great to have him back with us! We started brightly and played some good stuff and got ahead with Ty clinically finishing a mistake at the back, they equalised with a shot from range in off the post. 1-1 at break!
2nd half was end to end, we then got in with Rob Carr through on goal, he was hauled down for a blatant red and so they had 10 men, we got ahead with a sublime lob by Purds after good link up with Kel Akpobire, that was how the game ended with us winning 2-1!
All in all another good shift at a difficult place to play, yet another game away from home and I have to say the efforts the boys have gone to has been superb and they really are making it hard to pick my best team and even a squad for our first game with players missing out all together which is a problem for me but a great problem bearing in mind resources respective of other huge spenders, I am genuinely so proud of what these boys do for myself and the staff week in week out, there won’t be a better group of lads anywhere and that I absolutely guarantee, we won’t win every game but they will always be giving their best for the club and each other, that’s not always the case I am sure you are aware.
Onto the next and last test away to Met Police who are a very decent step 3 side; we look forward to the task ahead!
Up the citizens!
Very good write up from Matt, who by the way deserves a lot of praise for his reports which I think are extremely good and reflective of the games... keep it up Matt.
Only thing to add really was that Olly Balmer was injured following Tuesday nights game, other than that and Ryan Pryce unavailable we had a full squad.
Pitch I must say was extremely difficult, having played on some very good pitches in pre season this one was hard, it was a good test though as pitches won’t be great for long when season starts, so that’s not a bad thing. They are also a very powerful side and extremely direct, something that certainly doesn’t require a good surface, I am pretty sure they will be pushing for top half next season at our equivalent level, a good test!
We played some good stuff and missed a number of good chances in both halves, they carried a threat and had a penalty that Charlie saved, other than that he made 1 other good save and the rest was fairly routine, we hit the woodwork a couple of times and missed a couple of one on ones! It was a decent workout though, we changed the team completely again and genuinely have 22 lads now battling it out for a place in our squad for the Fa cup on the 12th, a great place to be!
Next up is another tough trip to a difficult place at Marlow, they are always excellent at home over the last few years and it will be another good test for us on a midweek.
I must say a big well done to all of the lads so far, they have been fantastic and travelled all over the place as we were unable to stage a game, this all done at their own cost and not a single complaint about the travel they have had to do, they also had an evening together on Saturday and the spirit that has gotten us through so much over the years is alive and well again, it’s a pleasure to manage them all.
One final bit of news, we have dual registered 4 of our young lads, Billy Connor to Baffins and Jacob Brown, Lawson Bright and Jack Francis to Alresford, this will give them some experience at step 5 which will aid their development, they will remain training with us and playing in 23s games where applicable! Thanks to them clubs for having them and good luck to them lads who remain very much part of the group.
Up the citizens