Top Goalscorers (according to Full-Time)
Steve Harding Liphook United 28
Nathan Gray QK Southampton 21
Ben Chambers Locks Heath 15
Jordan Whiteley Fleetlands 14
Darren Ferguson Clanfield 13
Thomas Mackinder Upham 16
Tom Reffell Four Marks 16
Luke Maurin Upham 15
Steve Brown Four Marks 14
Alex White Netley Central Sports 14
Matthew Grindel Liphook United Reserves 21
Cain Prentice Bush Hill Reserves 15
Craig Phillips Winchester Castle Reserves 15
Charlie Coombs Bush Hill Reserves 14
Jordan Goulding Fleetlands Reserves 14
Overton United 2 Winchester Castle 3 (Andover Open Cup)
THIS was a big night for Overton United FC who were staging their very first floodlight game at their Bridge Street ground. There was a little debate whether the frost might have meant they would have to try again another day but the officials made a late check and declared it was ‘game on’. A healthy attendance bordering on 150 came to watch this historical evening for the club.
The first half was a goalless affair with both sides threatening their opponents’ goal without making the keepers work too hard. Overton started the brighter of the sides, Guerney shooting off target, whilst a Parry free-kick was comfortably held by Castle keeper Reilly. Parry put in a couple of dangerous corners but the visitors goal survived. Castle eventually got forward but Phillips, in space, didn’t get hold of his shot and some good control and a neat turn by Magee produced a shot that went just over. Watts did similar from another Castle raid. When Castle keeper Reilly upended Smith he was perhaps relieved to be shown a yellow card and, from the free-kick near to the edge of the box, the keeper blocked and gathered from Aldoori. United’s O’Brien made a save in first half stoppage time as the score remained 0-0.
Castle netted within 23 seconds of the restart when Knox crossed in and Magee netted with a side-footed effort at the near post. A second soon followed, a nicely placed curling effort by Phillips and suddenly Castle were two goals up within two minutes of the start of the half! They soon got another too when Watts was put clear and won a tackle by the keeper and placed the loose ball home – three Castle goals in the opening six minutes of the half. Reilly was called upon to make saves from Gore and Guerney as the home side tried to hit back. At the other end, Pickett (header pushed over) and Watts (shot, parried by O’Brien and cleared by Hobden) looked to increase the Castle lead but without success. Overton pulled a goal back when Fuller crossed in from the left and Thomas scored with a neat hooked finish from about 15-yards out. Parry looked for a further Overton goal but his low 25-yard effort went just wide. Castle’s Strange was shown a straight red card for a heavy tackle close to the touchline. Overton pulled another goal back when a corner bobbled around the Castle box and it was eventually bundled in by Spiers. Could Overton take it to penalties? Well, no as the ten men of Castle completed the job in the limited time that remained and they now move into the semi-finals. FT: 2-3.
It was a decent game and the floodlights were most resplendent – the added glisten of the frosty ground adding to the scene! [Gary Day]
Infinity 2 Fleetlands 6
Infinity moved this at short notice to Hamble Sports Complex/Mallards Moor, I thought it was going to be a 3G but instead it was a grass pitch which was absolutely fine, a little sticky in places, perhaps, and an entertaining game resulted. I'd seen both teams over the festive season and knew they like to play football, but didn't shirk a tackle either.
Both teams had plenty of chances in an even first half, early on the visitors' Whiteley lobbed the keeper but also cleared the bar. An Infinity free-kick from White then went just over. Visiting keeper Gregg them pulled off a great save to tip a header onto the bar and then clear the follow-up. At the other end Parker then made a great double save after a corner. Corners were to prove Infinity's weak point throughout the match and on 18 mins an excellent delivery by Crook was headed in by Hall. The home team's Smith was denied by Gregg as he battled and won the ball in the six-yard box. Gregg then made two good saves from shots from outside the area, and he saved another free-kick by White. For the visitors Whiteley came close and then a Stone free-kick was bound for the top corner before Parker made a good save. Right on half time Smith equalised for Infinity, a rebound after Gregg had saved a long-range shot.
The home team started the second half brightly but soon fell behind again, Whiteley holding off a defender and producing a good finish. He then made it 1-3 on the hour, diverting a shot from sub Wilkinson past Parker. Another corner, another goal for Fleetlands after 68 mins, Kent at the far post making it four. On 75 mins Smith gave the home side some hope as he turned the defender nicely on the left and shot across the keeper into the far corner. But the visitors looked more dangerous, and sub Watts came close twice, before Hall scored yet another header from a corner to make it 2-5. He missed his hat-trick as Haddlesley was denied by Parker, Hall firing the rebound wildly over, but another break on 88 mins saw Watts run half the length of the pitch and unselfishly set Hall up for his treble. (Paul Harris)
QK Southampton 2 Stockbridge 1
QK attacked from the start and some quick passing moves threatened to open up the Stockbridge defence which stood firm and the home side resorted more to long range efforts off target. During a rare Stockbridge attack a bouncing ball in the penalty area seemed to strike a home defender on the hand but the referee didn't award a penalty. Stockbridge continued to thwart the home forwards and survived when Drake latched onto a high ball on the right flank and crashed a dipping volley which struck the foot of the far post and went across the goal, before the ball was grabbed by the Stockbridge keeper. Minutes later Queens Keep looked like they had taken the lead when Drake played Gray in front of goal who beat the keeper, only for the Stockbridge official on the line to flag for offside after the ball had gone in the net and despite no protests from the away defence. QK almost found the target with a looping shot on the roof of the net and just as it looked as though the first half was going to end goalless, the ball was played into the path of Callard on the left and his deflected shot looped over the keeper and into the net.
It clouded over in the second half with the temperature dropping. Gray almost increased the lead for QK when he cut inside the Stockbridge defence on the left and his sweeping shot beat the keeper but went past the near post. Stockbridge surprised their hosts by coming out and attacking in the second half and almost scored when a low cross from the right was met by a Stockbridge forward who turned his marker and his close range shot was blocked by the home keeper. Stockbridge continued to press for an equaliser and it was no surprise when Barker played in Lawrence in space on the left, who cut inside to score with a low drive inside the far post. With Stockbridge creating the better chances, Queens Keep took the lead against the run of play when they won a free kick on left and Gray played the ball straight over the defence to Drake who beat the Stockbridge keeper to the ball and found the net, inside the near post. Queens Keep began carving out the clearer chances and should have increased their lead as more gaps appeared in the Stockbridge defence but Drake shot over the bar from close range when set up by Callard and then Gray outpaced the away defence, only to shoot wide of the post again. Stockbridge also had their chances and came close to equalising when a forward broke away on the right and dragged his shot narrowly wide of the post. Queens Keep held onto to a narrow win when they should have won more comfortably, while an improving Stockbridge are still looking for their first win of the season. (John B)
League Cup Semi Final Details
Wednesday 8th March – Infinity v QK Southampton at Hamble Club FC
Wednesday 15th March – Clanfield v Hayling United at AFC Portchester FC
Combination Cup Semi Final Details
Wednesday 8th February – Bush Hill Reserves v Winchester Castle Reserves at Romsey Town FC
Wednesday 15th February – Fleetlands Reserves v Clanfield Reserves at Fareham Town FC