Hampshire Premier League

Winchester Castle 6

(Matt Hawkes, Sam Strange, Marciej Marcinkowski x2, Chris Reilly, Stewart Beck)

Overton United 0

Attendance: 22 (approx. headcount)

HCC Sports Ground

Anyone fancy some weeknight Hampshire Premier League action? That question would probably silence a room, but in my head fireworks were going off at the thought of a new ground and secondly just another game of football! Having endured my fourth weekend in a row without football, I am getting overly excited about midweek fixtures this month. Well why not during the summer evenings, I am sure it will be a different challenge standing on the terrace in mid-December on a cold and wet Tuesday night.

Not sure why Winchester Castle and Overton were playing mid-week but who cares, game 16 was ready and waiting.

Having arrived 15 minutes late for the an 18:30 kick off, I was hoping that I hadn’t missed much, when I pulled up, the game was yet to start and it was as if they were waiting for me!

The game was also a great chance for me to try out my new camera (a recent birthday present), I am no professional but it was good to get out and use it.

The Ground

Once I had found the venue (after getting slightly lost on the way) I was pleasantly surprised with the set up. Albeit a long walk from the clubhouse to the pitch, the Hampshire C.C ground had a little covered standing area in between the dugouts, something that I had not experienced at other Hampshire Premier League Grounds that I have been to.

Apart from the tin shed (as one spectator described it) the pitch was bordered with a classic white barrier that is perfect to lean on and enjoy some tier 11 football.

Should Castle be challenging for promotion this season, I cant see any reason why the area could be developed to match the standards of the Wessex League in terms of ground specification etc.

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The Game

Having lost 6-2 at the weekend, Winchester Castle responded perfectly to thump Overton United 6-0 in their second home game of the season.

That takes their home goals tally up to 13 after an equally impressive 7-0 thrashing over Infinity on the opening day.

Overton however were playing their third consecutive away fixture and are still waiting for their first league goal after heavy defeats to Clanfield (5-0) and Hayling United (3-0).

Castle started the game brightly and Sam Strange had an early effort cannon off the crossbar before winger Matt Hawkes opened the scoring moments later. United left back Charlie Manning completely missed the long ball and it fell to Hawkes who smashed it past Luke Stickland (pictured below).

Strange managed to double the lead in similar fashion when he spun his defender to slot the ball into the net after latching on to Hawkes’ header.

Overton were struggling but they did have a chance through Smanni Thomas but he couldn’t keep his effort down and it whistled well high of the mark.

Striker Marciej Marcinkowski scored Castle’s third of the night when Stickland fumbled a routine catch from a long range shot and the number nine nipped in to treble the lead.

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United’s best chance of the half fell to Ellis Haumann but the Castle ‘keeper Ellis Grant came off his line to smother the ball. Michael Pemberton had shown great skill to avoid the challenges of three Castle players before getting the ball to Nick Jupp who fed Haumann in for the shot from close range.

Castle added a fourth just before half time through Chris Reilly after another howler from the visiting goalkeeper and the United defence. Greg Cooper looked to have miss-hit a free kick on the edge of the box, only for the United defender to miss the clearance and it bounced up for Reilly to softly head over the ‘keeper into an open net after Stickland had ended up in no mans land.

With the game all but over after the first half, the game opened up slightly and Overton managed to have a few efforts on goal, most notably Ross Soper-Dyer’s bullet from distance which ricocheted off the woodwork and James Hobbs did well to get back to deny United a clear cut chance.

Marcinkowski scored his second and Castle’s fifth of the night through some good play on the right wing. Karl Salman played the ball into Stange who flicked it on to Hawkes to feed into the striker to fire in past a disheartened Stickland.

United were given a golden chance to score their first league goal of the season moments after Zak Pickett was replaced by Nathan Golden. Golden failed to clear the ball and Thomas managed to get himself between the defender and the ball to draw the foul inside the area.

Captain Jupp stepped up and sent the keeper the wrong way, only to fire his shot wide of the goal, just clipping the outside of the post.

Referee Luke Pierce then gave a penalty to the home team when substitute Stewart Beck (who had been on a matter of seconds) was hauled down when he raced into the box. Beck stepped up and fired the ball into the net with Stickland not even bothering to attempt a save.

2016/17 Games: 17

2016/17 Grounds: 18

Total Grounds Visited: 160

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