Bemerton Heath Harlequins 0 Winchester City 0
By Malcolm Clarke (compiled from twitter)
Winchester City moved closer to qualification for the quarter finals of the Hampshire Invitational Cup with a 0-0 draw with Bemerton Heath Harlequins. They only now need to avoid defeat in their final group[ match against a Brockenhurst team that have lost all three matches to ensure qualification. Even if they fail to do this results in Bemerton's final two games against Ringwood and New Milton would have to go against them.
Bemerton Heath Harlequins were at the end of the 2018/19 season relegated after 30 seasons of top flight Wessex League football, However towards the end of their relegation season they appointed former Winchester boss Ian Saunders as manager and Ian has previously won the Sydenhams Wessex League Division 1 and Premier League in successive seasons with Petersfield Town. The current chairman of Bemerton Steve Slade was player manager of the club at the beginning of their Wessex League career.
Winchester made six changes to the starting line-up from Tuesday's win against New Milton with Charlie Philpot and Danny King returning to the side, Rob Flooks making his first appearance of the season and Graham Purdy, Max Smith and Ollie Griggs who were substitutes on Tuesday starting on this occasion.
The first 20 minutes of the game was mostly confined to midfield, but Bemerton's Danny Finnigan came close to scoring when hr hit the cross bar with his effort. As the end of the first half progressed Winchester began to exert a degree of pressure and forced the home goalkeeper into action on a few occasions. A glancing header was just wide for the visitors, but Winchester had a great chance to take the lead when they were awarded a penalty, but Reece Rusher's spot kick was saved.
In the second half Dan Bradshaw hits the post with the ball then rebounding into the hands of the grateful goalkeeper. During the course of the second half Winchester bought on all five substitutes with Ryan Penny, Dan Williamson, Joe Hayward, Liam Callaghan and Alex Haynes entering the field of the play.
Much of the latter stages of the game was scrappy and lacking in fluency, but Winchester and Bemerton remain the two unbeaten teams in the group.
Winchester for whom Josh NcCormick, Dan Bradshaw and Ollie Balmer are their only players to start all three group games are at home to Brockenhurst on Friday in their final group game.