Salisbury FC 2 Downton FC 0
Thursday, 20 August 2020
By Alec Hayter
Definitely a game of two halves, improved in the second period after words and personnel changes, but one which did not overall live up to the standards of some of the previous matches, this match nevertheless provided another win and another useful workout. Salisbury’s squad comprised 18 players and included a trialist in Charlie Macmillan, who played up front, and midfielder Alfie Hawke from the Development squad, with both players having 45 minutes each.
The first real chance fell to the Whites when on 13 minutes Diego Romero robbed a Downton player just inside the visitors’ half and squared the ball to Dan Fitchett. The striker took a touch before trying to delicately chip keeper Ernest Osei, but the keeper was grateful that the effort was too delicate and gathered the effort easily.
Only seconds later however Salisbury took the lead with a fine solo effort from Dominic Jeffries who again robbed a Downton player before striding forward, going outside Dan Savage, and calmly beating the keeper with a low finish.
Salisbury were getting a lot of joy in closing down her opponents’ midfield players and on 29 minutes Darren Mullings took his turn to intercept a ball before feeding Fitchett whose cross shot went straight to the keeper, but a couple of minutes later Downton had an opportunity and it took a good block from Marcus Beauchamp in front of goal to deny Matt Wotton. Shortly before the interval the term “friendly” was tested after the Salisbury keeper reacted to a challenge from TJ Moseley, with Declan McGregor becoming involved in the following “discussion” and pushing and shoving. Referee Duffil obviously regarded this as “handbags” and at the interval Salisbury went in one goal to the good.
After the break Antonio Diaz delivered a corner from the left to the far post where Fitchett got up well but could not get enough on his header to seriously test Osei, and after Charlie Davis fired a long range effort wide of the far post, the second goal arrived on 52 minutes. Fitchett got to the byeline and pulled the ball back for the sharp Harry Baker to grab his second in two games with a right foot shot low into the corner across the keeper.
There was precious little goalmouth action until 84 minutes, although in the meantime the first half feud involving Beauchamp and Downton players briefly reared its head again. With six minutes remaining Downton manufactured another half chance when Paul Gulliver tested Beauchamp with a right foot effort but three minutes later Salisbury could have made it 3-0 when they were awarded a penalty for a foul on Baker.
Lewis Benson stepped up to take the kick but Osei guessed right and pulled off a good save to keep the score at 2-0.
Baker seemed intent on adding to his tally but saw an effort saved just before the end, and in time added on Downton had the last word when Will Betts made a good save low to his right to keep out a Dan Telfer effort.
Next up is the home game against Andover next Tuesday and by the time you read this, I suspect that all available tickets will have been sold. This game will however mark a welcome return of fans, and although limited numbers will initially be involved maybe the surreal atmosphere surrounding the early friendlies can be put out of the mind!