Hampshire Premier League

Bush Hill 3

(James Whitlock, Dan Smith, Jack Jewell)

Colden Common 0

Attendance: 30 (rough estimate)

Mansel Park

With plenty of options for game 20 of my 2016/17 season, I decided to keep it local and watch some Hampshire Premier League action between Bush Hill and Colden Common.

Ironically, I went to this fixture last season, with the home side running out 4-1 winners. This was my third visit to Mansel Park and having seen the home side net ten times in my first two games I had a feeling this wasn’t going to be a stalemate.

To make it slightly more interesting, my work colleague and good friend Dave Warnes was gracing the Common number seven shirt for the tie. Another colleague and myself decided to go and heckle (I mean shout words of encouragement).

My decision not to travel particularly far for a game paid off due to a bad accident closing some major roads out of Southampton, resulting in a delayed kick-off at Mansel Park, affecting many of the visiting team.

I also managed to get my camera out to get more practice, but I wasn’t as pleased with the results as I had been during my trip to Winchester Castle FC.

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The Ground

In the heart of Millbrook, Mansel Park is the home of Hampshire Premier League side Bush Hill. Like their near neighbours and bitter rivals QK Southampton, the facilities are relatively similar, some metal containers acting as changing rooms, toilets and a refreshment area makes up the main structure on what is effectively a football pitch on a public park.

A metal barrier borders the pitch and two dugouts opposite the changing rooms complete the make-up of this ground.

Once all the away team had arrived, it was game on!

The Game

Bush Hill got back to winning ways with a 3-0 win over Colden Common, thanks to goals from James Whitlock, Dan Smith and Jack Jewell.

Whitlock and Smith had given the home side an early 2-0 lead before Justin Delon blazed a second half penalty over the bar for Common. Jewell’s fantastic long range free kick whistled straight into the top corner late on to confirm the three points for the Millbrook based club.

Bush Hill had the better of the opening chances with Smith having a great chance to open the scoring when he put his shot wide after the Colden defence had been split open.

Whitlock was an unusual source for the opening goal when the right back found himself with plenty of space to weave past a couple of Colden defenders before slotting a soft shot into the corner of the net.

The goal was an eye opener for the visitors and winger Dave Warnes wasted a great opportunity to equalise when he latched on to a ball over the top from Delon but the shot wasn’t on target, proving to be a big let off for Bush Hill.

Common managed to put a few chances together and Alex Simmons forced a good save from Niall Devereux from a Louis Baldacchino free kick.

Warnes then tried a cheeky backwards header which caught the ‘keeper off guard but the ball went just high of the goal.

The away side then found themselves 2-0 down when Smith fired a hopeful shot towards goal from the edge of the box, taking a slight deflection off the Common defender before finding its way into the back of the net.

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Warnes could have bagged a first half hat-trick when he beat the offside trap to plant a firm header towards goal but Devereux managed to keep his hopes of a clean sheet alive.

The second half was somewhat sloppy with Bush Hill having a lot of possession but not threatening too much. Common ‘keeper Max Rovetto was on hand to keep the score down as the home side did manage to break through.

Colden striker Delon was growing ever frustrated with himself and his team mates and smashed one straight over the bar from long range. Baldacchino could have pulled the score back but his effort hit the side netting after a little chip through by Warnes.

Simmons was causing problems on the left wing and he delivered a great cross to Josh Coakley, who did all the hard work to chest the ball down before volleying straight over the bar.

The away side were then given a lifeline when the referee awarded a penalty for a foul in the box. Delon stepped up and managed to make a right mess of the spot kick with the ball still orbiting the sun at the time of publication.

The penalty miss was the nail in the coffin for the visitors and Bush Hill finished the game off in spectacular style with an early goal of the season contender from Jack Jewell.

A 40-yard free kick from close to the left touchline, Jewell stepped up and swung a ball in which missed everybody and flew into the top corner.

2016/17 Games: 20

2016/17 Grounds: 21

Total Grounds Visited: 163

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