Winchester City 3 Thatcham 2
Inspired substitutions enabled Winchester to come from 2-0 behind to win 3-2 in a game of two halves and give themselves 6 points out of 6.
Thatcham last season were promoted into this league and won the F A Vase with their manager being former Alresford and Winchester manager Danny Robinson. They are captained by Tom Melledew whose father Steve was both a football league and a Wessex League manager. This was the 7th season in the 21st century that the two clubs had been in the same division although the first since 2008/09.
Winchester made one change to the starting line-up from Saturday with Reece Rusher replacing Jake Rawkins who dropped to the bench. The Thatcham team had former Winchester players Matt Benham and Andy Jenkinson on the bench, with last season's nemesis in Kidlington colours Lewis Coyle in the starting line-up.
Winchester made a poor start to the game and in the fourth minute Joe Hayward was adjudged to have handled the ball and Shane Cooper-Clark converted the resulting penalty and it got worse 15 minutes later defensive hesitancy allowed James Clark to break clear and he made no mistake. In the first half Thatcham also looked the team more likely to score a further goal, with a couple of powerfully struck efforts being just off target, with a shot from Jamie Barron that went just wide being Winchester's only real effort of the half.
However at 2 goals down Winchester bought on Tyrell Mitford and Connor Cocklin to replace Brad Gale and Joe Hayward and early in the second half Reece Rusher broke clear on the left and made no mistake. It got even better for Winchester when the ball fell to Joe Cook who was at least 20 yards out. You could argue whether he met the ball or the volley or half volley, but what cannot be denied was that it was a spectacular goal to put Winchester kevel.
Winchester were very much on top at this stage, but their hopes received a setback when at a corner Oli Bailey was pushed to the ground. A Thatcham player tried to pull him up on his feet, but the manner in which he brushed off the attentions of the player was deemed to be a red card offence.
Even with 10 men Winchester were very much a threat, but they had a stroke of good luck when after Ryan Pryce had made a good save a good save to deny Ekow Elliott at the expense off a corner, he made a further good save from the resulting corner, although Thatcham were fully convinced that Gareth Thomas's effort was over the line, However no goal was given and Pryce was able to clear the ball quickly and soon afterwards Winchester broke clear and Mitford was on hand to score his second goal in successive games. Thatcham made substitutions and bought on Andy Jenkinson and 5 minutes of added on time was played, but the 10 men of Winchester held on for a notable victory.