Melksham Town 1-4 WCFC
3 injuries during the game, 2 of the subs came on and went off injured through impact injuries, they lasted a combined 10/15 minutes I think! So to do what we did is impressive and all we could do on the day really!
So we were without Flooksy from last weeks head issue he had to come off with, Graham Williams injured, Rawks injured, Hayward was carrying an injury and Baz also carrying an injury but both tried to battle through, we also had Brett Cunningham unavailable. So we added Mark Fawley who has been on loan to Romsey and Jack Francis, certainly very thin on the ground defensively!!
We started very well and passed the ball around from kick off for about a minute culminating in a cross from Simba and their first touch was to put the ball in own net. Not long after it was 2-0 with Oli scoring from Baz corner, then 3-0 Simba with a neat finish. Could have been several more, only for them out of the blue to score from a set piece 3-1 and that was the score at the break. Not before Hayward had to succumb to his injury, to be replaced by Mark Fawley who in a block tackle got injured and also had to go off and replaced by IK, who came off injured 10/15 minutes into 2nd half.
Half time we had a re-jig and put Simba to right back (little known fact, the top man that is Sim has played every single position on the pitch for me at some point in the 6 years he has played for me, CF, right and left wing, CM, Left back, CB, right back today - and yes even Goalkeeper once!! Love it Sim!!) - he did a decent job there, we withstood a few set pieces from them and then took control again and scored from Oli with a class lob, 4-1! From there on we kept the ball pretty much the whole time and coasted through, could have got a few more but very comfortable and got the result and preserved what fit players we have left!
So that’s a big result and keeps our hopes alive at least until Monday! We will see what happens tomorrow now. I am very proud of the whole group today, they have battled through all sorts this season and today was no different, they got the result and chuffed for them all.
Now we will do our best to recover whatever players we can and try and put a side together for Monday against the potential league champions, it will be another huge test, let’s give it a good go though and see what happens.
Well done all of the support today who were outstanding as usual! We are in it together and we will do all we can!
Up the citizens!
Winchester City 1-3 Bristol Manor farm
A frustrating day for us today and a loss that is damaging to us for our dream of a play off spot, however it isn’t the end of the road yet that’s for sure!
We knew today was going to be hard, Bristol Manor Farm are playing well under their potential, they have beaten us twice and are the most difficult opponents we have had this year across the 2 games. We started the game and it was quite attritional for most of the half, their threat coming from crosses and headers from the excellent Owen Howe, we then managed to get ahead, Oli Bailey hooking the loose ball home over his shoulder, very good finish. What followed was their goalkeeper volleying the ball very hard at Flooksy which hit him in the head and resulted in him ill at half time and had to come off, to only get a yellow card was astonishing, also bearing in mind what happened to Warren Bentley recently its very dangerous, we hope Flooksy is ok. Not long after that an extreme over the top tackle from their left back was only rewarded with a yellow and so we will feel very hard done by, especially as they equalised before the break with a free kick that deflected in albeit a decent strike it was the deflection that took it in.
2nd half we improved and got down the sides better which was what we talked about at half time... Flooksy has to come off and so we had to reshuffle, not ideal with Graham Williams also out injured. Not long after they scored against the run of play, we took the game to them and had several efforts that didn’t get that equaliser. Then a dubious free kick in the extreme was given and once again a wicked deflection gave them the killer goal 3-1! We had a number of efforts to get a goal back but it never came.
So we have lost, we didn’t ever play at our sparkling best and that’s what cost us, no doubting though that we were very unfortunate with the deflected goals and the decisions that went against us... we take them on the chin though, certainly won’t be bitter and kicking in dressing room doors... you win some you lose some when it comes to decisions, it doesn’t make it any easier to take, however you have to win and lose with dignity, we will lick our wounds and have a go at rectifying it next week!
We will now prepare for a big game away to Melksham now next week, they had a good win today and so we know that won’t be easy but we look forward to it!
We will keep pushing, these boys are giving their all!
Up the citizens!
Winchester City 2-1 AFC Totton
Absolutely brilliant win for us, delighted for all the lads to bounce back after saturdays disappointing result in such a manner, very proud of each and everyone of the lads!!
We had a lot of issues ahead of the game, Liam Gilbert coaching course overrun and so he was unable to be there, plus Rob Carr had work issues that kept him away until the end of the 1st half, plus 3 or 4 very late due to the traffic issues around Winchester, so our preparation wasn’t quite what we would have liked.
Game started with us scoring quite early through Flooksy from a Baz corner, we controlled the first half and created a lot of openings, sadly we didn’t make the most of them with a final touch or pass letting us down, they created a couple of opportunities one of which Prycey saved well, the other a deflected shot that Bennett tucked away before the break.
2nd half they improved I thought and started to cause a few more issues, although strangely their best chances really were in the first half. They did have a bit more of the game though compared to the first half where we dictated the vast majority. They then got a red card with a stray arm that was adjudged as violent conduct, they are unhappy with that, so much so that the player has kicked the referees dressing room door in, not good...! They were actually very lucky in the last minute when Bennett lashed out, it simply had to be a red card but somehow only a yellow, so they benefitted from not having him banned.
That red card left them understandably protecting the point, so we had a lot of the play, we stayed patient but didn’t create as much as I would like, we got a pen though when Oli got slipped in and he chopped back and was taken out for a pen... pressure on Baz and his pen was saved but coolest man on the pitch Baz tucked it home for the winning goal. We then had to navigate the last 10/15 minutes, a few chances came and went for us, however they didn’t really threaten at all and we got a very good win.
Totton were rightly talked about as one of the favourites at the start of the season, they are a good side and have a formidable front 3, so to keep them quiet and to pick up 4 points against them is brilliant, especially when my record against them last season was decidedly poor, they are always a tough nut to crack but we cracked it today one way or another and I am chuffed with that.
I have heard a lot of things about how sides have had a man sent off a lot against us, that we are ‘clever’ - I am sorry but I refute that, there are a lot more streetwise sides than us, them sort of sides are the ones we struggle against. We won the fair play league last season and are 2nd again this season, that’s no coincidence I am proud of my players and my staff’s conduct, they are a pleasure to work with and give everything for the club and for me! If anyone thinks we are ‘clever’ then great, take it from me though, some of these lads are not very clever at all!
Brilliant win for us that keeps our dreams alive for another week at least, we have so much more work to do but we will keep pushing, starting with Bristol Manor Farm who believe me are a very good side, we need to be at our very best for that one!
One final thing... today marked us achieving more points than last season already. Season I joined for last few games we ended with 53 points, last season we achieved 61 points, we now have 63 points with 4 games left and we have 4 less games this season due to a reduction in the league size. I am proud of that, all you want is to see progression in your players and team, so in spite of a considerably reduced budget from the side we took over we have evolved really well and they are a special group to work with.
Great win and delighted for us all, let’s push again on Saturday, keep shouting the boys on!!
Up the citizens!
Yate Town 3 - 2 Winchester City
Arrrggghhh hate football sometimes!! What a roller coaster of a game that was... for anyone who wasn’t there, believe me that first half in particular was as good a performance as we have put in, carved out chance after chance after chance, all went begging, then the inevitable they went ahead! On stroke of half time they had a lad sent off for a 2nd bookable offence, 1-0 down at the break!
2nd half we came out of the blocks well and scored through Simba after good play from Oli, then 2-1 ahead with Baz scoring a good goal! We had another golden chance to kill the game only for a mixup leaving for each other and the chance went, they broke and scored after a corner almost immediately! We went back to attacking them and them trying to catch us on the break through the fast Mehew! Another attack was repelled and they broke with pace and caught us napping with a man over on the back post after Mehew got in down their left. 3-2 down! Rest of the game was us pushing and trying to get back in the game and them soaking the pressure up and trying to counter on us, several attacking substitutes were made, with Gilly and both full backs taken off for Ty and 2 wingers in Rawks and IK... we have several chances to put a final ball in and get back level but in truth they defended very well to stay ahead and get a vital win, well done to them.
For us, that is us dropped out of the play offs for now, we missed an opportunity to get a big result, sadly it wasn’t to be, the performance levels were outstanding for long spells, apart from the fact we allowed them to break on us a few too many times for my liking which was disappointing, it was the short spell that ultimately cost us the he result and allowed them any chance of getting what they did, there is no doubting the quality of the football though and I know our fans appreciate the way we try and play, it resulted in a lot of praise from Yate, yes meaningless and easy to do after picking up the points, however it’s nice to hear!
For us now we have to dust ourselves down and get ready for another big battle on Tuesday with a home game against AFC Totton, we know that will be a very difficult game but we will go and give it a good go again!!
Disappointed and dejected we all are as a group, I am proud of them though and I will be for the rest of the games no-matter what!
Up the citizens!!
Melksham 1 Winchester 4
Winchester's 4-1 win at Melksham moved them back into the playoff positions, although these notes were written before the Saturday fixtures. However the club's injury list was added to with three players going off injured during the game including two of the substitutes used.
Melksham whose hopes of a playoff place have just been ended although they remain in the top half of the table are comfortably the best supported club in the division and attracted a crowd of 470 for this fixture despite having a lost a lot of players recently as a result of the manager leaving with half their team against Winchester being teenagers and Luke Ballinger son of the caretaker manager being the only player to feature in both games between the clubs. However they recently beat Fleet 3-0 and have an excellent clubhouse which no doubt helps their crowds to remain good.
Winchester made two changes to the starting line-up from Saturday with Rob Carr coming in for I K Hill and Craig Davis replacing the injured Rob Flooks, and Winchester also had other players such as Jake Rawkins and George Williams who were unable to feature.
Winchester however made a dream start when in the opening minute of the game a cross from Simba Mlambo was deflected past his own goalkeeper by a home defender with Rob Carr in close pursuit. Carr was always a danger on the right flank and he put in a cross that no-one was able to get on the end of.
Winchester however scored their second in the 12th minute when Jamie Barron for whom there were fitness doubts before the game produced a corner that was headed home by Oli Bailey. Winchester looked like scoring again and it was no surprise when Carr set up Mlambo to score their third and at that time it looked as though it could be a rout, but three minutes later the home side scored through their own Dan King when a corner was not cleared.
The remainder of the half was goalless although Joe Hayward went off injured and was replaced by Mark Fawley who showed promise when he was on the field, but soon afterwards had to go off injured and to be replaced by I K Hill.
Melksham's young side started the second half brightly with Luke Ballinger and Gary Higdon going close and Jack Baker put in a couple of crosses that forced corners, while Ryan Pryce was also forced into action, but in the 61st minute Oli Bailey made the game effectively safe when he saw the goalkeeper off his line and scoring with a well executed lob.
Winchester though were forced into a third substitution when I K Hill who himself had substituted for a substitute went off injured and was replaced by Tyrell Mitford. Tyrell played in an unfamiliar flank role with Simba Mlambo who has played in virtually every position under manager Craig Davis reverted to right back. Mitford had a powerful shot just off target and Bailey had an excellent chance to score his hat-trick but was denied by the goalkeeper on a one on one. However it was an important win for Winchester in nice Wilshire weather, although there were unwelcome additions to the injury list.
Winchester are at home to Blackfield and Langley on Easter Monday and away to Cinderford on Saturday.
Winchester 1 Bristol Manor Farm 3
Winchester's hopes of a playoff place received a setback when they lost to a Bristol Manor Farm team who although in the lower half of the table completed the double against them for the second successive season. With Cinderford winning and moving above them and with leaders Blackfield And Langley now passing their ground grading they know they need to finish in the top five to achieve a playoff place.
Bristol Manor Farm have had an inconsistent season, but are a strong side physically, have a good travelling support and have shown their potential by reaching the 3rd qualifying round of the F A Cup beating Basingstoke 5-2 on the way.
For Winchester there was one change to the starting line-up from Tuesday's win over AFC Totton with Liam Gilbert coming in for Tyrell Mitford who dropped to the bench. Bristol Manor Farm who for the second successive week named only three substitutes made three changes to the starting line-up from last week's defeat at Highworth with Ashley Kington, Chas Hemmings and Aaron Robbins the three players coming in, both Kingron and Hemmings were on the substitutes bench the previous week.
The visitors started Saturday's game brightly with both Jordan Rogers and Owen Howe having efforts that were not far off target and Ryan Pryce in the Winchester goal on another occasion just beating Howe to the ball. However Winchester took the lead with virtually their first attack of note when following a corner Rob Flooks's bicycle kick was blocked and Oli Bailey followed up to score.
Following the goal Owen Howe had a header that hit the top of the crosss bar and Jordan Rogers also had a header saved by Pryce. However Winchester begun to come more into the game and following a good run I K Hill shot over.
However any hope Winchester had of going into the interval with a led were ended in the 31st minute when Kington scored with an excellently struck free kick which took a deflection past Pryce.
Winchester started the second half brightly and in the opening minute of the half a good move saw Oli Bailey seeing his goal bound effort kept out by a crucial block from a Bristol Manor Farm defender. Soon afterwards Winchester replaced their captain Jamie Barron who had been injured earlier in the game as a result of a tackle which resulted in a Bristol Manor Farm defender receiving a yellow card, with Rob Carr coming on in his place.
Following a corner Rob Flooks had a header well saved by Ben Johns, but that was to be the central defender's last meaningful contribution to the game as he had also received an injury earlier in the game and he was replaced by player manager Craig Davis who took his place in the back four.
However midway through the half the Bristol Manor Farm captain Steve Kingdon scored to put his side 2-1 up and shortly afterwards Tyrell Mitford became Winchester's third substitute when he replaced I K Hill.
Rob Carr put in a cross that was deflected for a corner with Oli Bailey and Simba Mlambo only a whisker away from getting a decisive touch. Jordan Metters shot wide and Rob Carr also came close, but in the 84th minute another Kington free kick took a deflection past Pryce to seal the victory.
In added on time Ben Johns made a good save from Tyrell Mitford and an even better one from Josh Harfield, but it was all too late for Winchester who for the third time lost to Bristol Manor Farm having scored first. The visitors also used all three substitutes, the last of which was made in added on time, but they certainly did not play like a team in the lower half of the division.
Winchester 2 AFC Totton 1
Winchester won a keenly contested local derby with AFC Totton 2-1 and it moves them back into 5th place, two points ahead of Cinderford whom we they play on the final day of the season. However the result virtually ends the playoff chances of both AFC Totton and Melksham, the latter whom Winchester visit on Good Friday. For me it was the first time I had seen Winchester beat AFC Totton having witnessed the last two corresponding matches which have produced one AFC Totton victory and one draw.
The match was given an added spice by the fact that many of the players had represented both clubs, but one of these Winchester's Liam Gilbert was on a course and could not play. Rob Carr also had work issues which meant that he could only be named as a substitute and Tyrell Mitford and I K Hill coming into the starting line-up for these two players were the only two changes from Saturday's game at Yate. Amongst the Winchester substitutes was youngster Jack Francis as a crowd of 236 saw the game which included a few neutrals and some Eastleigh personnel who were unable to make their trip to Leyton Orient.
Early on I K Hill forced a save from the away goalkeeper while blocks were made at both ends in a competitive start to the match. Another good run from I K Hill led to a corner which resulted in former AFC Totton player Rob Flooks getting on the end of Jamie Barron's flag kick to open the scoring in the 4th minute. Winchester were boosted by that goal and I K Hill forced a save from Shane Murphy they had a couple of near misses with the pace of Oli Bailey up frobt always a threat to the visitors defence, although AFC Totton came into the game with Ryan Pryce saving from Stuart Green, Craig Feeney and Alex Haynes.
Winchester though again regained the ascendancy with I K Hill forcing another save from Shane Murphy and Tyrell Mitford also coming close. The visitors however finished the half strongly with only a last ditch clearance keeping them out and shortly before half time an effort from Feeney was deflected into the path of Justin Bennett and the prolific marksman made no mistake.
The early part of the second half saw few chances although Simba Mlambo came close for Winchester and Callum Chugg made an important block. Early in the game's second period Rob Carr came on for Tyrell Mitford. However an important moment in the game occurred when AFC Totton's Jack Smith received a straight red card for a challenge on Oli Balley. Having known Jack as a youngster at Eastleigh when he was an articulate co-commentator with Ian Wilding on Radio Solent it did seem a bit out of character, but the offence e was adjudged to be the use of an elbow.
After that AFC Totton had to readjust and were as a result less of an attacking threat, although they were keeping Winchester at bay. However a penalty was awarded for a foul by Dave Allen on Oli Bailey and although Murphy saved Jamie Barron's initial effort the Winchester captain followed up to score.
After this goal Winchester did not look like relinquishing this lead and Ron Carr had an effort saved and fellow substitute Jake Rawkins who had come on for I K Hill shot over following a good run from Simba Mlambo, but importantly the score remained unchanged and for the first time as manager of Winchester Craig Davis recorded a win against his former club
Yate Town 3 Winchester City 2
Winchester were beaten 3-2 by Yate who become the first club to complete the double against them this season. As a result they move out of the playoff positions and are replaced by Cinderford whom Winchester visit on the final day of the season. Yate are currently in second place, but Winchester will be disappointed they did not get something from the game having been playing against 10 men for the majority of the encounter.
Winchester made one change to the starting line-up from Saturday with Joe Hayward replacing Graham Williams who was not on the bench.
Winchester made a bright start and in the first 20 minutes Slamba Nlambo hit the post, Oli Bailey shot narrowly wide on two occasions and have another effort deflected over the bar for a corner and the home goalkeeper also tipped a Rob Carr effort round the post for a corner. It was therefore against the run of play that Yate took the lead midway through Olly Mehew who took advantage of hesitancy in the visitors defence to shoot into the bottom corner.
The goal boosts Yate and it requires a goal-line clearance from Dan King to keep them out. However they are reduced to 10 men as Joe Guest received a second yellow card, but they still led 1-0 at the interval.
Winchester however stated the second half brightly with two goals in the first six minutes of the half with firstly Simba Mlambo converting a cross from Oli Bailey and then Jamie Barron scoring following a good run. However the lead did not last long with Michael Bryant heading home following a corner
Shortly after the goal Jamie Barron has a shot saved, but midway through the half an excellent run by Mehew in which he holds off the challenge of two defenders and squares for Bryant to score his second.
After the goal Winchester try hard to get back into the game and bring on all three substitutes taking off full backs Joe Hayward and Danny King and replace them with Jake Rawkins and I K Hill and also replace Liam Gilbert with Tyrell Mitford, but a resilient Yate hold on for victory.