Winchester 4 Yate 1
Winchester playing their first match for two weeks beat Yate 4-1 with a good team performance. Yate themselves were just behind Winchester in the table, with both teams being outsiders for a playoff place, although Winchester's win keeps them very much in the race despite having a difficult end of season to negotiate.
With Pat Cox having left the club and Ollie Griggs having completed his loan spell from Dorchester Winchester made two changes to the starting line-up with Liam Gilbert and Adam Tomasso coming in. Joe Cook who like Gilbert was returning after a lengthy absence was on the substitutes bench.
Winchester were operating with a five man midfield with just Oli Bailey up front. Bailey headed just wide early on from a Rob Carr cross and it required a block from an opposing defender to keep out. Harvey Rivers in the Yate goal who last season gave a superb performance in keeping Winchester out in the last match before Craig Davis took over then made an excellent save to deny Gilbert at the expense of a corner.
Winchester however took the lead in the 24th minute when captain Jamie Barron set up Bailey who made no mistake. Winchester continued to press and both Bailey and Dan Williamson forced saves from Rivers. It was 2-0 with 3 minutes to go to half time when although Williamson's shot appeared to be mistimed it appeared to be entering the net until Barron got the final touch.
Yate had hardly a shot in the first half which Winchester clearly dominated, but at the start of the second half they hit the side netting. Winchester however responded well with Rob Carr hitting the bar with a thunderous effort, and Liam Gilbert having an effort deflected for a corner. From Carr's corner Adam Tomasso scored with a diving header to make it 3-0 after 53 minutes. It was the loyal Tomasso's first goal of the season.
Winchester had a couple of half chances but Yate then forced Ryan Pryce to make his first save of the game when he saved from Tom Mellew. Winchester however made it 4-0 when the referee played a good advantage when substitute Simba Mlambo who looked impressive after coming on converted a cross from Danny King for his 3rd goal of the season. Winchester in fact used all three substitutes as they chose to rest players for the challenges that lie ahead.
Joe Hayward who has settled into the team well at right back then made a couple of important and well executed blocks to keep the visitors out. Yate did pull a goal back when Trey Anderson converted a cross from David Sims-Burgess, although a Winchester defender may have also got a touch. Before the end Williamson had a further shot saved by Rivers as Winchester scored four goals in a league game for the first time in 2018.
Winchester have away games at Salisbury, AFC Totton and Swindon Supermarine on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday respectively, while on the following Tuesday ey are at home to Taunton Town.
Mary Finlayson who was an enthusiastic follower of both Winchester City and Eastleigh and was involved in local coaching has died in a Derbyshire hospital aged 45.