AFC Totton 2 Winchester City 2
By Malcolm Clarke
Winchester and AFC Totton fought out an exciting 2-2 draw in a keenly contested local derby, which was certainly a very reasonable result for Winchester against a team that went into the match top of the table with 5 wins and 1 draw from 6 league games and they had scored 18 goals in those games. They have assembled a strong squad and were able to leave both Brett Williams and Callum Baughan on the bench Former Winchester striker Williams has played in the football league and scored two goals for them on Saturday, while Baughan was released by Eastleigh at the end of the last season having been part of their Natkional Leage squad.
Both AFC Totton and Winchester City went into this match having enjoyed convincing wins over the weekend with AFC Totton putting eight goals past Cinderford, as well as Winchester recording a 7-1 home win against Barnsraple.
There are a lot of connections between the clubs with several personnel having served both clubs and Craig Feeney has just joined Winchester from AFC Totton. Winchester announced two changes to the starting line-up from Saturday with Simba Mlambo coming in for Oli Bailey who dropped to the bench, and Ryan Pryce replacing Harry Birchnall in goal.
Winchester however made a dream start with Ollie Balmer scoring with an excellently struck free kick in the 1st minute. After the goal AFC Totton had a spell of pressure, although Winchester had another free kick in a dangerous position, but could not produce the magic on this occasion. The home team drew level in the 24th minute when Hisham Kasimu who had replaced Williams in the starting line-up scored from close range.
In the remainder of the first half AFC Totton's Sam Griffin has an effort from outside the area pushed round the post for a corner, while Kasimu has a shot blocked, while at the other end Craig Feeney shoots narrowly wide. However it was all square at the interval.
At half time former AFC Totton player Alex Haynes replaced Max Smith, but Winchester soon fell behind in the second half when Kasimu scored his second of the game.
Craig Feeney has an effort saved by Lewis Noice, but Winchester draw level on the hour when Simba Mlambo heads home a cross from Jamie Barron. After the goal both teams have chances to score, although AFC Totton probably have more of the game at this stage, although Winchester are playing with great resolution. IN the latter stages of the match Winchester bring on Adam Grange for Simba Mlambo and Dan Bradshaw comes on for Ollie Griggs.
In a competitive local derby there were several bookings, and in the closing stages AFC Totton's Stephane Zubar received a second yellow card, but in the end a keenly contested local derby ended all square.
AFC Totton are managed by Glenn Howes who is a former playing colleague of Craig Davis and has previously managed the Blackfield and Langley team who won this division.
Winchester 7 Barnstaple 1
By Malcolm Clarke
Winchester obtained their second league win in a row and made it 20 goals in their last three games against Barnstaple and for Winchester manager Craig Davis the 3-0 home defeat he suffered on his first match as Winchester manager seem a distant memory.
Barnstaple have yet to get a p;pint in the league, but they eliminated local rivals Bideford kin the F A Cup.
Winchester made one change from the starting line-up from the win at Slimbridge with Joe Hayward replacing Rob Flooks who was sent off in that game, but the bench certainly had an attacking look with none of the players on it being primarily defensive players.
Barnstaple had the first shot of the game when a powerful shot by Jacob Evans was just over and Barnstaple posted an early warning to Winchester that they were not afraid to shoot from distance. However the pace of Oli Bailey up front was always a threat to Barnstaple although he was not quite able to create anything more than half chances. When Winchester scored in the 18th minute it was through the unlikely source of full back Danny King whose shot appeared to be deflected past Barnstaple goalkeeper Adan Seahouse-Evans However any hope that this would make things comfortable for Winchester were ended when a penalty was awarded for a push on Tyler Yendle and the spot kick was converted by Saddam Bello. Bello had also scored a consolation goal from the penalty spot in the last encounter between the two clubs.
The remainder of the first half was even with both teams having chances with Ollie Balmer coming close twice for Winchester, while Harry Birchnall was on a couple of occasions forced to save shots from distance, one time at the expense of a corner and Kieran Douglas also made an important block to keep out the visitors.
In the second half a Barnstaple defensive mistake almost set up Oli Bailey, but Bailey's who earlier in the week had attracted a huge internet following through his attempts at singing Elton John's hit single Rocket Man did score in the 59th minute and he did so again two minutes later when he headed home a corner.
This goal seemed to knock the stuffing out of Barnstaple and it was no surprise when in the 68th minute Craig Feeney who had certainly added more attacking options scored their fourth with an effort into the bottom corner.
With the game seemingly won Winchester were able to rest Oli Bailey, Jamie Barron and Ollie Balmer, and bring on Simba Mlambo, Greg Peel and Adam Grange and these changes which were made at different times did not disrupt Winchester's rhythm and they almost scored again when Peel and Feeney combined.
They did make kit 5-1 in the 87th minute when Mlambo set up Ollie Griggs and two further goals came when Max Smith scored with a great header from Danny King's cross and great persistence by Craig Feeney sets up a simple chance for Simba Mlambo.
This completed a good afternoon's work for Winchester although for 59 minutes of the game the result was very much kin doubt.
After their Trip to AFC Totton on Tuesday Winchester have no game on Saturday as their originally scheduled opponents Frome Town are in F A Cup action. The following Wednesday Winchester are away to Havant and Waterlooville in the Hampshire Senior Cup.
Gosport Borough 1 Winchester City 2
Winchester made 10 changes to the starting line-up from Saturday with only Max Smith retained and fielded a team consisting mostly of fringe and young players although also containing Ryan Pryce, Simba Mlambo and Joe Hayward who are players with considerable first team experience. However they came from behind in the Southern League Cup to beat Gosport Borough a club in a higher division of the Southern League than themselves 2-1 with two second half goals.
The two clubs last met in 2018/19 when in this competition Gosport won on penalty kicks after the teams had finished 1-1 after 90 minutes. At that time Gosport were managed by Craig Mcallister and Matt Tubbs, the strike partnership that took Crawley into the football league, but their manager now is Shaun Gale who managed the Havant and Waterlooville team who had an excellent run in the F A Cup in the 2007/08 season when they played Liverpool. The club have a good cup tradition and remain the only club from Hampshire to reach the final of the F A trophy. On Saturday they reached the 2nd qualifying round of the F A Cup with a win against Plymouth Parkway who play in the same league as Winchester.
Two members of Gosport's team on Saturday started the match against Winchester, one of these was Ryan Woodford who formerly played for Havant and Waterlooville and in his younger days represented Eastleigh Reserves. However Gosport had other members from Saturday's team on the bench.
The early stages of the match was quite open with both teams having attacks. For Winchester Simba Mlambo had an effort blocked and Adam Grange short wide, while at the other end Pryce was called into action when he tipped a header from Bradley Lethbridge over the bar. However midway through the half Gosport took the lead following a good team move which was finished by Theo Lewis.
On the half hour Winchester lost Dan Bradshaw through injury and although this provided Tom Vincent with an opportunity as substitute it was disappointing to see a valuable member of the squad go off injured.
For the remainder of the first half Winchester had a lot of possession without seriously troubling the home goalkeeper, while Gosport had a couple of half chances to extend their lead.
Early in the second half both teams had off target efforts, but Winchester came close to drawing level when a header from Joe Hayward hit the cross bar. However in the 57th minute Winchester drew level when Ellis Grant made two saves in succession to keep Winchester out, but he could not keep out a third effort, this time from Liam Callaghan. Gosport responded by making two substitutions one of which involved Nicky Dembele who had scored the winning goal on Saturday being one of the players coming on. After the substitutions Gosport had a good spell of pressure and it required a goal line clearance from Alex Haynes to keep them out and they had other dangerous attacks which kept the Winchester defence on their toes.
However the most telling contribution of the night from a substitute came from Winchester's Lex Vaughan when on 77 minutes was part of a great team move which saw Adam Grange produce an excellent finish into the bottom left corner.
After this Gosport applied a lot of pressure, but Winchester defended very well and it is a good sign for the club that they could almost completely change the team from Saturday and still achieve a battling victory,
Slimbridge 0 Winchester City 4
By Malcolm Clarke
Winchester returned to winning ways with a 4-0 at Slimbridge in a rearranged fixture after the original fixture had to be abandoned due to floodlight failure in the second half with the score 1-1. However with both teams out of the F A Cup on a day where first qualifying round ties in the competition where being played.
Winchester had won on this ground on their two previous two visits, but prior to that Thornhill Park had not been a happy hunting ground for them. Winchester had welcomed Craig Feeney back into the fold from AFC Totton and the move was clearly designed to increase their attacking options.
Probably Feeney's most memorable contribution in a Winchester shirt had been scoring four goals in a 7-0 home win against Slimbridge which represents Winchester's biggest ever league win since returning to the Southern League, so it is perhaps ironic that Craig returned for this fixture.
With goalkeeper Charlie Philpott injured Harry Birchnall son of Assistant Manager Sean took his place in goal and there were also returns to the starting line-up for Robbie Flooks and Max Smith against a Slimbridge team that had lost 2 and drawn 1 of their previous three league games. Flooks though was to have a mixed afternoon, for after scoring Winchester's all important second goal in the first half he was sent off in the second.
Slimbridge though started off the brighter of the two teams with Adam Price putting in a dangerous cross, Johan Flo shooting wide and Birchnall having to make a routine save. However after the home team had a good first 20 minutes it was Winchester who opened the scoring in the 22nd minute when Oli Bailey set up Ollie Balmer to score. Four minutes later it was 2-0 when Balmer turned provider when Robbie Flooks headed home his free kick. It could easily have been 3-0 soon afterwards when Bailey again set up Balmer, but this time his effort was saved by Lewis Adams in the home goal at the expense of a corner.
Slimbridge came close to scoring on one occasion, but generally Winchester were very much in the ascendancy djuring the remainder of the first half. However the home team started the second half brightly and Birchnall had to save from Myron Turner and make an excellent save in tipping an effort from Johan Flo over the bar. Annear also had a couple of off target efforts, but on the hour Winchester were reduced to 10 men when Flooks was sent off for a foul on Flo.
Shortly after the sending off Winchester bought on Simba Mlambo for Oli Bailey, but any hope Slimbridge had of using the extra man advantage to get back in the game were virtually ended when Max Smith scored with a great strike from 30 yards. Soon afterwards Smith was replaced by Adam Grange and a few minutes later Greg Peel came on for CFeeney.
Slimbridge were trying hard to score at least a consolation goal, but Peel broke clear of the home defence, and after his effort hit the post and in the follow up Slimbridge goalkeeper Adams was adjudged to have fouled Peel who took the resulting penalty kick himself and made no mistake.T
There was no real action of note in the final five minutes as Winchester collected a valuable three points in their quest to climb the league table.
After Wednesday's league cup game at oosport Borough which is now definitely on following Gosport Borough progressing in the F A Cup without the need for a replay, they are at home to Barnstaple in the league on Saturday. However Frome's F A Cup victory means that Winchester will not be travelling there on 18th September.