Wessex League Cup Second Round
Team Solent 1
*Solent win 5-4 on penalties
Three games in as many days off the back of an awesome weekend watching Eastleigh and Southampton, I was back at Test Park for the third time in seven days as Team Solent were entertaining fellow Wessex Premier side in the Wessex League Cup second round.
Team Solent are the holders, having beaten Newport IoW 1-0 at Salisbury’s Raymond McEnhill Stadium in May and to see my university side progress in as many cups as possible would be awesome having been present when they lifted the Southampton Senior Cup and League Cup last season.
It is a pleasure watching the university side. They play football the right way and being a Solent graduate I feel more of a connection to this side than other teams of a similar level in the area so role on game 42.
As I slowly lose track of how many times I have been to Test Park this season, please check out my articles from my four previous visits this season.
Ryan Dacres-Smith scored the winning penalty as reigning champions Team Solent needed spot kicks to see off Brockenhurst in the Wessex League Cup second round.
Will Tickle put the Badgers ahead on the hour mark before Jesse Waller-Lassen smashed in a dramatic late equaliser to force penalties.
Both sides ended the game with ten men with Pip Nolan and Jude Nwachukwu were given their marching orders either side of half time.
Waller-Lassen and Jim Orvis both had early efforts sail well wide of the goal in the opening moments before Brockenhurst had a potential penalty call waved away after star man Mark Barker felt he was shoved by Solent full back Mike Lamb.
Jemal Wiseman then forced a good save from Callum Maher when he pounced on a mistake by Nwachukwo to get enough space to fire a shot away from the edge of the box.
Barker, who had netted 21 times from 20 games prior to this match, was the main threat for the Badgers but as he raced away down the left wing he played in a cross to nobody allowing Solent number one Bradley Banda to collect with ease. Moments later Barker tried a speculative volley from the edge of the area but he managed to clear the goal and the ground.
Brock’ were enjoying a good spell of pressure and Solent had to be on their toes to get men behind the ball and deal with everything that was thrown at them.
Solent were reduced to ten men on 35 minutes when Pip Nolan came across to stop Noel McCarthy-Gardiner’s run towards goal and caught the player allowing the referee to produce a second yellow, having booked the central defender moments earlier for another incident. The red card didn’t seem to faze the students, reverting to three at the back they continued to stay solid and survive Brock’s lengthy spell in possession.
After the restart Brockenhurst continued to have the better of the chances as Barker fired another ball wide after Solent had mistimed a clearance from Will Tickle’s cross.
Waller-Lassen then put a uncharacteristic tame shot straight into the ‘keepers arms after exchanging passes with Matt Sheedy in a rare Solent breakthrough.
Former Solent man Tickle was doing his best to impress against his old side and after displaying some neat skill on the right flank, he cut inside into the box to whistle a shot just high of the crossbar.
Tickle had clearly got the taste for a goal with the first effort so it was no surprise that he ended up with the ball again wide on the right when Brockenhurst broke away after a poorly taken free kick for Solent. Tickle found himself with bags of room to advance into the box and calmly slide the ball into the corner of the net.
In a game that both teams thought the referee was having a shocker he then made his second sending off of the evening when Nwachukwu received his second yellow for a body check on Tyrell Mitford. The full back had already picked up his first caution just before half time for a foul on Waller-Lassen.
With both teams a man down, Solent grew back into the game and started to ramp up the pressure having their own spell of possession. However all the possession didn’t seem to be going far with Orvis and Mitford firing tame shots towards goal.
Solent player/manager James Taylor was booked from the bench for apparently saying something to the referee despite both benches saying that it was actually a spectator shouting sarcastic remarks.
With five minutes to go, former Tottenham youth player Waller-Lassen produced a trademark goal to level things up. He picked up the ball on the edge of the box and fired in a looping effort that dipped over Maher.
Brock’ thought they may have snatched a late winner when two substitutes combined when Will Lovell played in a lovely deep cross into Mitchell Speechley-Price who couldn’t direct his free header on target.
The game went straight to penalties and after six superbly taken spot kicks, Gibraltar Under 19 international Bradley Banda guessed the right way to dive to the corner and save Speechley-Price’s effort.
With the score at 4-4 and Brock taken all of their chances, Dacres-Smith stepped up and fired into the net to send Solent into the next round.
2016/17 Games: 42
2016/17 Grounds: 38
Total Grounds Visited: 173