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Winchester 1 Barnstaple 1

on Sun 25 Feb

Coming into this game having lost two away matches in the last week including a defeat to rock bottom Bishops Cleeve, Winchester were really hoping for a return to winning ways when they entertained second from bottom Barnstaple whom they had beaten 4-1 earlier in the season.   

 

Barnstaple who in last season's corresponding match had inflicted Craig Davis's first defeat as Winchester manager with a 3-0 success, had in fact won their last away match with a 1-0 success at second placed Salisbury.

 

Winchester gave a debut to new signing Ollie Griggs.  Ollie had been playing for Dorchester, but last season played for Bridgewater against Winchester and had been on the books of Eastleigh where in 2016 he won an award for being one of their most promising young players.  Ollie replaced Brad Gale in the starting line-up following Tuesday's game at Bishops Cleeve with Rob Carr and Simba Mlambo replacing Joe Hayward and I K Hill both of whom dropped to the bench, with Dan Williamson reverting to right back.

 

Early in proceedings A good run on the right by Williamson produced a cross which Oli Bailey was not quite able to direct goalwards.  Ryan Pryce then had to make saves from Alex Gray once and Billy Hopcroft twice, while Aaron Screech in the Barnstaple goal had a couple of routine saves to make.  Pryce did particularly well to tip Gray's effort away.

 

Winchester however begun to apply a bit of pressure and following a good run Rob Carr was fouled and Jamie Barron took a penalty which was saved by Screech.  Before half time Screech tipped over a free kick from Carr.

 

However in the 55th minute Winchester were awarded a second penalty following a foul on Pat Cox which Cox himself converted.  Barron then had a shot saved and Mlambo shot just over as Winchester who forced several corners during the match looked for a second.  However they were undone in the 63rd minute when Gray broke clear of the home defence and made no mistake.

 

Winchester kept battling, but although they had a good amount of possession in the remainder of the game they did not trouble Screech and it was Barnstaple who looked more likely to score the winning goal with Pryce making an important saves late on.

 

The result leaves Winchester in 7th, but with a difficult run of fixtures to negotiate starting with Salisbury away on Saturday.  The following Tuesday they are at home to Blackfield and Langleyt

 

The Winchester 10K race finished at the football club and a team of volunteers from the football club got up early to ensure that this stage of the operation ran smoothly with 1350 racers and spectators descending upon the club.

 

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