Slimbridge 1 Winchester City 2
Winchester completed their second double of the season in the same week that they completed the first and moved back into fourth position in the table as they won 2-1` at Slimbridge.
Slimbridge located in the Cam and Dursley area of Gloucestershire are currently in mid-table, but since they came from behind four times in the F A Trophy tie last season to win on penalties Winchester have won all four league matches between the clubs.
With Rob Carr injured, Pat Cox ill, Dan Williamson working and Keith Emmerson only fit enough to take a place on the bench Winchester were only able to name three substitutes, one of whom was 16 year old Lawson Bright, I K Hill and Joe Hayward who came on as substitute against Moneyfields were in the starting line-up on this occasion, while Liam Gilbert came into the midfield with Craig Davis dropping back to centre back, Simba Mlambo was available again and he was one of the three substitutes.
Apart from Slimbridge having one shot that was not too far off target there was not very much goalmouth action in the first 10 minutes, but Winchester took the lead in the 12th minute when I K Hill set up Oli Bailey who scored with an excellently struck effort,. Although Slimbridge had a spell when they forced successive corners Winchester were generally defending well and ensuring that the only saves that goalkeeper Ryan Pryce had to make were of a routine nature. Winchester were winning a lot of the 50-50 balls and in the game's first period looked more likely to score the game's next goal. Oli Bailey whose pace was always a threat to the home team hit the side netting and also tried a lob which unfortunately for him the wind which was a feature of the game throughout helped to ensure the effect was off target.
In the second half Slimbridge had at least two free kicks in dangerous positions and from one of these Ryan Pryce did well to tip an effort from Soloman Wanjau-Smith away at the expense of a corner, but Winchester always looked dangerous as an attacking force and even with the wind proving a challenge they were switching the play well and using the pace they had in attack to good effect.
Winchester made it 2-0 midway through the second half when Kieran Douglas headed home a corner from Jamie Barron with the ball going in off the cross bar. Winchester for the most part were looking solid at the back and were breaking up the home team's attacks well and they had bought on Mlambo and Bright as second half substitutes. However in the 86th minute they did fail to clear their lines and Will Hawes was on hand to score at close range.
With both Joe Hayward and Kieran Douglas receiving treatment in the game's second half there was always going to be a few minutes added on at the end of the game and this amounted to six minutes. Slimbridge had introduced all three substitutes and it was a nervy finale for Winchester especially with the home team's habit of scoring late goals in this fixture, but Winchester were able to see out the remainder of the game and obtain three much needed points.
Slimbridge were in action for the first time in four weeks, but the pitch looked in good condition with a lot of work being done to remove water from it the previous weekend. They appeared to have a good spirit with all of their players staying behind for more than an hour after the game and helping to move tables for an event at the club later that evening.
The wind though was undoubtedly a factor in this match and one Ryan Pryce clearance had to be handled with care by his opposite number.
Winchester 3 Moneyfields 1
Winchester's first home match for four weeks saw them achieve their first league win since mid-January and achieve their first double of the season and move up to fifth. Prior to Tuesday the last four matches between them and Moneyfields had all been won by the away team without the home team scoring, but the 3-1 victory ended that sequence.
Winchester welcomed back Keith Emmerson and Danny King from injury and there was no doubt that the Winchester defence was able to get in some crucial blocks., With Ollie Griggs having rejoined Dorchester and Liam Gilbert unavailable for midweek matches Craig Davis came into the midfield. Simba Mlambo was working and the bench also contained Pat Cox who has recently returned to the club.
Moneyfields who are currently in the lower half of the table despite reaching the playoffs last season were without one of their most influential players in Steve Hutchings who is currently serving a two match suspension.
The start of the game saw neither goalkeeper have to make a serious save. However Winchester took the lead in the 19th minute when Ollie Balmer headed home a cross from the right from Rob Carr. The closing minutes of the first half Ryan Pryce save a long range shot at the expense of a corner, while Winchester had a couple off chances to increase their lead, but Moneyfields did just enough to keep them out and it was 1-0 at the interval.
Winchester bought on Pat Cox for Rob Carr at the start of the second half, but early in the half Moneyfields forced several corners. However it was 2-0 in the 59th minute when following a corner the ball was crossed back in and Oli Bailey was on hand to score.
Bailey was replaced by I K Hill and soon after coming pm the winger won possession in his own half before having a shot from outside the area which the Moneyfields goalkeeper would have been disappointed not to keep out.
Dan Wooden pulled a goal back when he followed up after Pryce had saved an additional shot, but Winchester were able to hold on to their two goal advantage.
Larkhall Athletic 3 Winchester City 1
Larkhall obtained their first ever victory against Winchester and maintain third place, while as a result of other results going against them Winchester drop to seventh. Prior to Saturday Winchester drop to seventh. Prior to Saturday Winchester had emerged victorious on all four visits to Larkhall's picturesque ground located on the top of a hill on the outskirts of Bath.
Winchester made three changes to the starting line-up from Tuesday's game at Cirencester with Liam Gilbert, Max Smith and I K Hill coming in for Ollie Griggs, Ollie Balmer and Oli Bailey with the last two named on the bench. Of the injured players Luke King is likely to be out for the remainder of the season, Danny King hopes to return soon, while they continue to miss the commanding figure of Keith Emmerson at the back.
Larkhall started the game very brightly and dominated the first 10 minutes. However their opening goal in the 7th minute had an element of good fortune about it as a shot from Brad Norris took a huge deflection past Ryan Pryce. In fairness Winchester were against a strong wind in the first half, but despite this they still drew level in the 29th minute when Kieran Douglas headed home a corner.
Unfortunately for Winchester their hopes of taking advantage of the wind in the second half were reduced when the wind began to recede in the second period of the game. The second half was a very even contest with both teams having their attacking moments and Larkhall's leading scorer Lewis Powell hitting the side netting In the 72nd minute Joe Tumelty who had scored for Bristol Manor Farm against Winchester on the opening day of the season regained the lead for the home side, with again the ball taking a deflection on its' way in
Winchester were then pushing forward in terms of an equalizer, but in the 80th minute a Winchester defender in trying to clear only succeeded in kicking the ball against Norris who scored his second of the game to make sure that the three points were won by Larkhall mho are a club good on the hospitality side of things and are only in their sixth season as a Southern League club, with every chance of reaching the playoffs of this division for only the second time.
Cinderford 3 Winchester 1
Despite losing 3-1 to Cinderford Winchester remained fourth in the table, but the division is very tight with Cinderford in ninth place only five points behind. The result enabled Cinderford to complete the double against Winchester having won 3-0 at Winchester in September with James Harding and Craig Norman scoring in both games. Last season a great late run enabled Cinderford to reach the playoffs and the possibility of the club from the Forest of Dean achieving that this season cannot be discounted,
Winchester were again without Keith Emmerson, Luke King and Danny King with the last named also missing the home fixture with Cinderford. Whereas replacements can be found from the squad Emmerson's value to Winchester in recent weeks has been immense, while King has been Winchester;'s left back for the majority of the last 10 years and it is a challenge for players filling a different role to what they normally play to fit seamlessly into the team.
Winchester made one change to the starting line-up from Tuesday with Liam Gilbert coming in for Max Smith. Early on Ollie Griggs had an effort that went wide, but Cinderford took the lead in the 13th minute when Harding scored directly from a free kick, After going a goal behind Winchester had a good spell of pressure with both Oli Bailey and Rob Carr having one shot saved and shooting wide on another occasion . However in the 31st minute Lewis Bamford who had a good scoring record against Winchester while in the colours of Bristol Manor Farm made it 2-0 and that is the way it stayed until the half time interval.
Winchester though continued to press in the second half with Ollie Griggs shooting just wide, a cross from player manager hitting the bar and the Cnderford goalkeeper making a good save fro from the Cundwserd goalkeeper wit Simba Mlambo shooting the follow up effort. It was not all one way traffic with Cinderrford always looking dangerous on the break.
Midway through the second half Winchester pulled a goal back when Ollie Balmer who had only just replaced Simba Mlambo set up Oli Bailey to score. Cinderford were reduced to 10 men when Sam Turl received his second booking following a deliberate handball.
Craig Davis and Ollie Griggs had off target efforts for Winchester, but as the visitors pushed forward in search of an equalizer Norman scores Cinderford's third during the six minutes of added on time.
Slimbridge 1-2 Winchester City
What a brilliant result this was today, against a very tough nut to crack generally for us over the years, especially in light of the difficult month we had in February, plus in addition the level of depletion that we had today, a truly superb result and a decent display in the main as well!
So we had Willo unavailable due to work, Rob Carr injured, Emmo failed a fitness test at the ground and had to drop out, plus Coxy was unwell In the morning and we took the decision to not bring him for obvious reasons! So we actually only had 2 fit subs available including 16 year old Lawson Bright who we called on to help secure us the result for his Southern league debut!
We were against an extremely hard win in the first half but our shape was excellent and we didn’t really get troubled and in fact managed to get a goal with a fine strike from Oli Bailey! It could have been more with a couple of missed chances.
Second half the strength of the wind annoyingly dropped as it always seems to! However we controlled the game really and a 2nd goal was inevitable and Kieran got it with a towering header! We switched off once and they got one back, however we hung on very well for a deserved 3 points!
Major credit to the boys for today, hell of a group of people we have at this club and I couldn’t be happier with them all today! Also well done the fans who in light of having no coaches also have to find their own ways there but made themselves heard!
Now we have a midweek off for a change and can train and prepare for a massive game against Cirencester next weekend, can’t wait!
Up the citizens!
Winchester City 3-1 Moneyfields
For people who know football (and there are plenty on here that do) that was a mightily impressive result! Yes they are struggling but they have a host of calibre players and are incredibly hard to get the better of on any day, especially a very physically small side like us! More so than that, the horrible momentum that we were on and all sorts going badly for us on and off the pitch! To dig that result out was first class and I couldn’t be prouder of everyone!!
3 excellent goals and it really should have been a fair few more with many gilt edged chances missed. We defended very well despite having to deal with a very physically imposing opponent from set pieces, I was very pleased with how we closed it out after conceding with 10 minutes to go!
Also it was a welcome boost to be able to bring Coxy on for the 2nd half, again there will be people that do not see what he brings to us! For what it’s worth them people do not see football enough and understand what we lack as a group! Not only is he an irritant to the opposition and holds the ball up against big lads who we play against the very week, he is also a massive boost from defensive set pieces, also a real winner in the dressing room!! Delighted to have him with us doing me a favour due to our lack of forward availability in remainder of the season, well done Coxy and welcome back.
Magnificent 3 points and lets enjoy that, then patch up and go again in a tough game away to Slimbridge on Saturday!
Up the citizens!
Winchester City 5-1 Basingstoke Town
Fantastic result against Basingstoke today, a side who we totally blew away and how it wasn’t several goals more is still baffling me!! They have not been thrashed like that many times this year, they have been in games most of the time, not today we really did turn them over and it’s a good start to the new year!
We shuffled the pack slightly from Boxing Day as we are going to need to do over the coming weeks! We really did play some good stuff and the amount of chances we carved and missed was crazy! We went ahead with a Luke king header, then a further with Olly Balmer volleying in! 2-0 at break.
2nd half we again put them to the sword and Kieran Douglas scored with 2 headers and Griggsy a thunderous strike! They got a late consolation as we got slightly sloppy! Honestly it should have been double figures and how it wasn’t I don’t know, we have to be more clinical than that, however some of the football was top class!
So that’s put us 3rd in the league on January 1st, to say we are punching above our weight is an understatement and the football in my opinion is exciting, I am proud of my team and staff every game, win lose or draw, they do it the right way!
Next up we have Totton who had a brilliant win at moneyfields today so they will be bouyant, they have good players and are too good to be at bottom end of table, for sure it will be as tough a game as all the games against the top sides, we will recover the lads and get ready for it!
Happy new year to everyone and see you Saturday!
Up the citizens!
Thatcham Town 2-1 Winchester City
Disappointing result today but far from disgraced ourselves against top of the league Thatcham today, we didn’t get going at all in the first half however 2nd half we were the better side but couldn’t get the equaliser we probably deserved! I would say can’t argue with result though as they were the better team in first half for sure.
We went with the side that played so well In the second half against willand, however on am incredibly narrow pitch against a very robust side we really struggled badly to get any rhythm, they changed their shape which I guess is a sign of respect for us, they definitely had the better of first half but didn’t overly trouble Prycey until they scored just before the break.
Second half totally different and we were a bit braver on the ball and equalised with a typical us goal, flowing move down the left and Balmer to Baz to carr for a good goal. Annoyingly a deflected goal quickly after rocked us... we then made changes to shape and personnel and had a good go at them but it just wasn’t quite our day!
Much much better second half and a decent effort against a good side, I hate losing but it’s no disgrace and I am proud of each and every one of the group for their efforts! 5th in the league at turn of the year with us punching a mile above our weight budget and facility wise, well done everyone!
Now we get ready for Basingstoke at home which won’t be easy but we look forward to it very much as always!
Happy new year when it comes to all!
Up the citizens