Pre Season Friendly
Team Solent 1
Havant & Waterlooville 6
(Alfie Whittingham, Matt Paterson x2, Alfie Rutherford, Harry Medway, George Barker)
ATT: 53 (approx. headcount)
After seeing Petersfield Town’s demolition of Fawley on Wednesday night, I was quite content at the amount of goals that I had seen in this season’s friendlies.
I wasn’t quite ready for the goal fest that I saw at Test Park, home of Wessex Premier League side Team Solent.
As a Solent University graduate I of course have a big soft spot for Team Solent and I was proudly donning my 2015 leavers hoody on the touchline.
Having finished in the top half in their debut season in tier nine (Wessex Premier) and picking up a cup double, winning the League Cup and Southampton Senior Cup I was hoping that the Students were ready for the new campaign without three of last season’s star performers in Jesse Waller-Lassen, Sam Byles and Jim Orvis.
I have some great memories from Test Park, having won a couple of student six aside league titles on the 3G pitch adjacent to the ‘main pitch’ I always love going back to watch the boys! And of course it’s only a ten-minute walk from work so finishing at 7pm for a 7:45pm kick off was ideal.
The whole Test Park facility is impressive, ignoring the main football stadium for now, it is the home of a few of the Solent University sports teams with numerous rugby and football pitches and the 3G, which was the home turf for the American Football side and of course the recreational Wednesday student six aside league.
The stadium for what is basically a university team is great, opened by Matt Le Tissier about four years ago it still has a very new and fresh feel about the place.
The café is well stocked and now houses a trophy cabinet for the football as well as other sporting accolades.
The stadium itself has two small modern looking seated stands on the opposite sides to the dugouts, which sit either side of the half way line. There is also a covered terrace behind the far goal, which was opened last season.
With grass embankments behind the dugouts and plenty of standing room around the pitch, it’s a tidy ground.
Southern Premier side Havant & Waterlooville managed six goals against Team Solent before the game was abandoned on 78 minutes due to floodlight failure.
Alfie Whittingham had headed the visitors into the lead within seven minutes before tall striker Matt Paterson grabbed a quick brace to put early daylight between the two sides.
Myles Burrows nicked a goal back just before half time but Alfie Rutherford, Harry Medway and George Barker managed to put the game to bed before the referee blew his whistle for full time with 13 minutes left on the clock.
Team Solent were dealt an early blow when they found themselves 1-0 down from a Havant corner. ‘Keeper George Passingham had failed to make contact with the ball and Whittingham had a free chance on goal and his bullet header went in off the crossbar.
Rutherford thought he had doubled the lead moments later when he rounded an on rushing Passingham but the young goalie had pushed the striker too far wide and defender Adeoye Olumuyiwa managed to clear off the line.
Solent had failed to learn from their mistakes and Paterson grabbed his first of the night from another corner when his powerful headed effort hit the back of the net.
Tobi Adekunle and Jemal Wiseman wasted efforts for the home side before Paterson doubled his personal tally for the night when he outpaced Pip Nolan into the box to chip the ball over an onrushing Passingham.
The home side did manage to pull a goal back before the break from an unlikely source when left back Burrows rose highest with a weak header that evaded everyone and looped into the top corner.
With dusk approaching, the floodlights were turned on at half time but it was clear that there were issues when a bulb blew out moments later.
Paterson had a great chance to complete his hat trick after the restart but his curling effort clipped the outside of the post.
By this point all the lights had gone off and it was a race against the clock to finish the game before dark.
Lee Bradbury’s men ended any hope of a Solent comeback with two goals in quick succession.
Rutherford managed to fire a shot across goal into the bottom corner for the fourth before defender Harry Medway burst into the box to rifle in a shot after being played in by Whittingham for five.
Former Brighton pro George Barker slotted a little shot under the keeper on 74 minutes to complete the rout before the referee deemed the lighting conditions to be too poor to complete the full 90 minutes.
2016/17 Games: 9
2016/17 Grounds: 11
Total Grounds Visited: 157