Bideford 2-0 Winchester City
Disappointing to end the season with a defeat to a powerful Bideford side, 2-0 with them needing a win for the play off chance, we gave it a good go but we were unable to get back in the game when we had our good spells on an extremely bobbly pitch!
Unfortunately we were without Rob Carr injured and Josh McCormick injured but the rest were available. Game was very scrappy, they got ahead just before half time from a set piece! 1-0 down at the break.
2nd half we were better and started to get a foothold in the game and an error allowed their striker to nip in and score and put us 2-0 down! We had a good go after that and a fair few chances that we were unable to take and we lost the game 2-0. We did manage to get Harvey Clark, Josh Corner and IK Hill all 17 on the pitch and all performed superbly!
In the end disappointing that we have finished on a bit of a downer but we played a lot of good stuff, there are loads of positives to take from it and we will hopefully use them and build on it again!
Thanks again to all the supporters for their efforts to support us again today and throughout the season. We are very grateful and so appreciate what you have done for us, let’s go again next year together!!
Up the citizens!
Winchester City 0-2 Cirencester
A bit gutted is an understatement by that tonight, to be honest it’s the best we have played for a long time in many ways, up against the form side in the league and we absolutely ripped them to shreds, only to conspire to miss chance after chance and concede 2 sloppy goals!! Still in many ways performances are important and not just results (as silly as that sounds) - but we know we are on the right track, there is no doubt about it and today only enhanced that view, I hope you will all agree!
So we were without 2 key players in Josh Harfield and Liam Gilbert today, so we changed it slightly and reverted to a 442 with Simba coming in up top, we knew they played the same 442 and so we matched them up and demanded we win our individual battles against opposite player. We annihilated them really all first half and it should have been 4-5 nil but once again failure to score enough - only a solitary Simba goal had us 1-0 up (including us missing a pen through Adam Tomasso) - only for their only shot on target of the half in stoppage time had them level at the break.
2nd half was much of the same but we went 2-1 down with a scrappy goal from a set piece, we kept going though and missed another pen this one from Jamie Barron and more as more chances but had to settle for a 2-1 loss! We had 25 shots in total - 15 on target, they had 5 shots in total and only 3 on target, key stat though they scored 2 and we scored 1!! It’s hard to come on and defend the team when we lose but it was unbelievable really that we lost the game.
I am very proud of the group, they way we play I think has some style to it, they give everything and no mercenaries, they are a very young group in general and developing all the time, let’s hope we can find a way of keeping them together and building on the platform we have in place! Firstly let’s go and try and finish the season off with a flourish at Bideford on Saturday, hopefully see as many of you there as possible!
Up the citizens!
Winchester City 2-0 North Leigh
Enjoyed that today, tough game with the pitch extremely bumpy as it’s dried out unbelievably which made us trying to pass it very difficult, without us having much height in attack it means you can’t just lump the ball up there, so we got caught over playing without success early on. As the game wore on though we got our game going and a catalogue of missed chances would have left it a travesty if they had broke and scored, in reality it never looked like happening and we got a 2nd and good job done!
Selection was tough today as Macca, IK and Harvey all 17 year olds and had played 90 minutes on Thursday night, plus Adam Tomasso reported in with a tweaked knee ligament, in truth I would have played Adam if the game was a do or die encounter, however with us being without Harfield on Tuesday through suspension we thought best to not risk him at all.
Scrappy start to the game with us giving the ball away a fair bit and them not really threatening at any point, we eventually got our game going and a quite fantastic free kick from Rob Carr opened the scoring, a few chances came and went and we started opening them up but 1-0 at the break.
2nd half I thought was totally dominated by us and we could have and should have scored several more, in the end a near finish from Oli Bailey after latching onto a clearance gave us the comfort of a 2-0, we had good contributions from Simba, IK and Harvey Clark who in fact nearly set up a goal with his first touch, great to see! Harvey by the way was outstanding in the youth teams unfortunate 2-0 cup final loss on Thursday and along with a few others are real stars for the future that we are trying to nurture and it’s great to see them growing with us!
All in all a good result and a very decent display (at times) - given the circumstances of a heavy loss and being a bit down after the play off dream has now slipped by, to see the lads battle and work hard for the victory shows the character of them and I’m delighted with them.
Club stalwart Malcolm in fact advised me that we are 2 points away (if cinderford win all 5 of their remaining games this season which seems unlikely anyway, if they drop any points we can’t be overtaken) from confirming a top half finish, apparently that’s only the 2nd time this club has ever achieved that at step 4, so we can be proud of that, far from the sort of achievement that we as a group have worked so hard for, however it shows we are not a massive player at this level over the years, hopefully this is a good platform for us to build from!!
Once again thanks for the support and hope you enjoyed the game.
Up the citizens!!
Winchester City 0-5 Taunton Town
That was a rather sobering experience to be brutally honest and I am sorry that we got rolled over like that, it certainly hurt me and will have the players as well.
One thing I must stress is, Taunton are a very good side and are capable of rolling any side over, they are unbeaten away from home all season which is very impressive and they will be even bigger champions than Hereford were last year I believe by the end of the season. Not only that it was the 5th game in 10 days for our lads, all of which were possibly the hardest fixtures you could put together and we most certainly looked a very tired side, that is understandable I guess but not an excuse I like to use.
As for the game, 2 of the best strikes you are likely to see in the 1st half put them 2-0 up at the break. 2nd half we came out and looked much more like our old selves and got a bit of a head of steam up! Then 3 calamitous goals, 1 a horrible miss kick from Prycey, then a slip from Josh and the other allowing 3 free headers in our 6 yard box and we are 5-0 down. Add in Josh getting sent off when another defensive error meant he had to make a last ditch tackle and he was duly sent off. We had to dig in for 20/25 minutes with a man less and the score could have got very embarrassing with all the factors I mentioned above. To the lads credit the kept going and kept them at bay, 5-0 is embarrassing enough that’s for sure but we kept the score down as all things were crashing down around us and with the fatigue feeling even worse in the lads.
One big positive was a debut for 17 year old Harvey Clark and another good display from Josh McCormick coming on as sub, I walked away from tonight very pleased with both of them.
It really is one you have to try and forget about as a group, it was a bridge too far physically, however you cannot legislate for the quality of the early strikes and the horrific goals in 2nd half.
We will regroup and try and recover the lads, then get ready for a game against North Leigh on Saturday and try and get over tonight’s game! First up though is a youth hants cup final which we are all delighted to watch, they are a fantastic group of lads and we will be willing them onto glory!
Apologies to all for today, horrible night but we will make up for it as best we can in remaining 3 games.
Up the citizens!
Bideford 2 Winchester City 0
Winchester City went into this match assured of 11th place, only the second time they had finished in the top half of the table at this level of football. For Bideford two late goals on Thursday had kept up their hopes of a playoff place, but they were reliant on three of the four teams immediately above them in the table failing to win, and three of these had games against teams in the lower half of the table.
AS it was Bideford became the fourth team to complete the double over Winchester this season, with three of the doubles completed in the last 11 days. However the expected wins for Swindon Supermarine, Didcot and Cirencester meant that they had to settle for 8th place, Winchester though had though taken a total of 16 points against the teams that finished in the playoffs with home victories against all of them.
Winchester made two changes to the starting line-up from Tuesday with Josh Harfield returning from suspension and Liam Gilbert replacing Craig Davis and the injured Rob Carr.
Early on Ben Carter shot over for the home team, while OLi Bailey had a header saved. Ben Wood then put in two crosses, one of which went across the goal without anyone getting a decisive touch and the other seeing Sean Downing not quite able to direct his effort goalwards.
Dan Wikliamson and Liam Gilbert then had efforts for Winchester, although it was Ben Seymour of Bideford who was the first to seriously test the opposing goalkeeper, with his shot stinging the hands of Ryan Pryce. However vin the 37th minute Bideford took the lead when Craig Allen headed home from a corner. Before half time Oli Bailey had forced a good save from Steve Oliver, but Winchester were 1-0 behind at the interval.
Early in the second half Downing broke clear and made no mistake to make it 2-0 and it was always going to be difficult for Winchester from then on with Bideford backed by a crowd of 256 which gave them good vocal support and having three match sponsors looked to end the campaign on a high.
Downing had a further shot saved at the expense of a corner, but although Bideford were always a threat going forward Winchester kept battling and introduced three teenagers I K Hill, Harvey Clark and Josh Corner as substitutes in the second half.
Corner almost had an instant impact, but after good work by Simba Mlambo he was not able to direct the ball goalwards. I K Hill forced a good save from Steve Oliver who was named man of the match by the sponsors, while a lob by Oli Bailey just cleared the cross bar, but although it was a determined second half by Winchester the season ended in defeat and they just have the Danny King match on 12th May to look forward to.
Winchester 0 Cirencester 2
Cirencester maintained their 100% record against Winchester having won all six games between the clubs, as they came from behind to win 2-1 and continue their challenge for a playoff berth.
In windy conditions Winchester made two changes from Saturday with Liam Gilbert and the suspended Josh Harfield replaced by Simba Mlambo and Adam Tomasso.
Early on Alan Griffin brother of manager Charlie headed wide for the home team, while at the other end Adam Tomasso had a shot saved.
Winchester had a great chance to take the lead when Rob Carr was fouled by Will Christopher, but Adam Tomasso's penalty kick was saved by Marteusz Wikezopek. A wind assisted lob by Christopher almost deceived Ryan Pryce, but he was able to react in time and prevent the ball going in. They did take the lead when Oli Bailey hit the post and Simba Mlambo was able to react and score from close range.
Winchester came close to adding to their lead when Bailey set up Carr who shot over Bailey also hit the side netting and Winchester had other half chances, but right at the end of the half a throw in was flicked on to their leading scorer Ben Whitehead who scored with a powerfully struck shot.
In the second half Ben Williamson who playing on the right hand side of midfield made some good runs shot wide from a good position, while Mlambo had an effort blocked. However Cirencester took the lead when a corner was not cleared and the ball fell to Alexandru Albert who made no mistake.
An effort by Griffin went just over the bar, but Winchester had a great chance to level the scores when they were awarded a further penalty which this time was taken by Jamie Barron, but again Wikezopek was able to save the spot kick.
An effort by Danny King went on top of the bar, but although Cirencester were dangerous on the break Winchester forced them to defend deeply and were able to create a few half chances, but were unable to score again in a match where they had far more shots than the in form visitors.
Jamie Barron's goal against Didcot was voted Winchester's best of the campaign which ends on Saturday when they travel to Bideford. The following Saturday sees a testimonial match for long serving full back Danny King, followed by the club's presentation evening.
Winchester 2 North Leigh 0
After four games without a league win Winchester returned to winning ways with a 2-0 home win against North Leigh, a result which virtually ensured them of a top half of the table, with Cinderford who have a large points deficit to make up in a congested end of season fixture list the only bottom half of the table able to catch them.
Winchester made two changed to the starting line-up from Tuesday's game against Taunton with Craig Davis and Joe Hayward replacing Simba Mlambo and Adam Tomasso.
North Leigh are in the lower half of the table, but this was their first ever away defeat against Winchester in what Winchester manager Craig Davis described as "A good win I which we missed several chances". North Leigh were without George Seacole and their manager John Brough as a substitute.
Early on Ryan Pryce in the Winchester goal made a good save from Josh Thomas. However Winchester took the lead in the 25th minute when Rob Carr scored with a superbly struck free kick. Oli Bailey then was put through, but North Leigh goalkeeper Ross Grimshaw made a good save to deny him. Carr then set up Dan Williamson who was playing on the right hand side of midfield, but his effort was blocked. Winchester also had a possible penalty turned down when they felt Oli Bailey may have been pushed.
Winchester mainly dominated the second half, although Declan Sheppard forced a save from Pryce. Rob Carr had a shot saved, Williamson had a shot tipped over, Gilbert shot wide and Bailey also went close. However while they were only one goal ahead there was always a danger that North Leigh could snatch an equalizer on the break, but Oli Bailey made the points safe in the 86th minute when he scored with a well executed lob.
Winchester conclude the season this week with a home game against Cirencester on Tuesday and an away game against Bideford on Saturday
Winchester 0 Taunton 5
Winchester suffered their heaviest defeat of the season when they were beaten 5-0 by champions Taunton who maintained their unbeaten record and became only the second team to complete the league double over Winchester this season. As a result Winchester only maintained the faintest mathematical hope of reaching the playoffs and these hopes completely evaporated as a result of Evesham and Swindon Supermarine picking up points two days later.
Winchester made two changes to the starting line-up from Saturday with Joe Cook and Simba Mlambo coming in for Craig Davis and I K Hill.
Before the game a guard of honour was formed to commemorate Taunton's title success. However the home team fell behind in the 3rd minute when Craig Veal scored with a spectacular strike into the top corner. Ten minutes later Taunton captain Matt Wright met a Craig Veal cross from the right with a superb volley. Ryan Pryce in the Winchester goal then saved with his legs to deny Veal whose follow up shot was off target.
The only real shot Winchester had in the first half was an effort from Simba Mlambo that was saved with the follow up shot being off target.
Taunton had a goal disallowed following a corner, but still went into the interval with a comfortable 2-0 lead.
Any hope Winchester had of getting back in the game more or less disappeared early in the second half when the bobbly pitch deceived goalkeeper Ryan Pryce and Veal took full advantage to score his second of the game, After 57 minutes they fell further behind when after Wright's header hit the bar the ball was put back into his path and he scored from close range.
Winchester introduced youngsters Harvey Clark and Josh McCormick as second half substitutes, but Taunton made it 5-0 when Veal won the ball with a tackle and
crossed for Wright to complete his hat-trick. The home team had Josh Harfield sent off for a professional foul on Veal and although they did not create any chances of their own and Taunton had a few near misses they avoided conceding again as the hectic schedule of the last few days began to take its' toll, without taking anything away from the visitors who played some superb football and exploited Winchester deficiencies to the full.