It was a day of welcome returns on Saturday as Winchester City played a pre-season double-header at Baffins Milton Rovers and Clanfield respectively on the day that the spectators returned, writes Matt Richbell.
City took to the field at lunchtime just off the Eastern Road in Portsmouth with their fans back to cheer them on having not seen their side in action since March! City fielded a strong starting eleven as they looked to bounce back from their midweek defeat at Dorchester Town.
The hosts started brightly and City had to defend resolutely to keep the score at 0-0. Baffins eventually made a break through shortly before half-time when a well-executed free-kick left young Goalkeeper, Charlie Philpott, motionless as it sailed into the top corner.
Craig Davis had a few choice words for his team at the break and City came out galvanised in the second-half as they fought hard for a route back into the game. City did draw level in the second period, when substitute, Josh McCormick, scored his second goal this pre-season. City had a corner which was headed goalbound by defender, Rob Flooks, before McCormick headed home to earn City a share of the spoils in their first game of the day.
A young City side then travelled 11 miles up the A3 from Baffins to take on Hampshire Premier League side, Clanfield. The first-half was a hard-fought encounter in very open, windy conditions. However, City took the lead almost immediately after the restart. But Reece Rusher was sin binned for City and Drew Smith got sent off and whilst City had nine men, Clanfield grabbed a late leveller to earn a draw at Peel Park.
City announced on Saturday night the exciting news that former striker, Tyrell Mitford, has returned to the club. Tyrell was instrumental in City's FA Cup run in the 2018-19, including scoring a memorable hat-trick away to Southern Premier League side, Merthyr Town, and has since served Kings Langley, Bognor Regis Town, Beaconsfield and Ramsgate FC. Tyrell fills the void left by Oli Bailey, with Bailey relocating to the Midlands. Keith Emmerson has also moved on leaving City for Hungerford Town but the club have re-signed popular defender, Rob Flooks.