Wessex League Cup Third Round

Baffins Milton Rovers 2

(Tyler Moret, Ryan Pennery)

Andover Town 2

(Chris Onoufriou, Lerone Plummer)

*Baffins win 7-6 on penalties

Attendance: 71

The Kendall Stadium

A new ground! Not been able to say that all too often at the moment but I have been trying to get over to Baffins all season. It was pencilled in to be my first game of the season back in July but for whatever reason my first visit to the Kendall Stadium ended up being in November.

After a pretty eventful fixture in the last round at Team Solent, I was hoping for some goals but I also like the straight to penalties format in this cup, missing out extra time on a cold, wet night by the sea!

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The Ground

Having come up from the Hampshire Premier League this season, the Kendall Stadium is a ground in transition. Parking was a nightmare and the crowd was only 71 but a local fan told me that they are developing some land behind the goal to eventually be the car park, alongside a new clubhouse and some more covered terracing it is certainly a transitional period for the club founded in 2011.

As it stands the club has a firm base to build on. The main stand is already up and the only cover in the ground and on a night where it rained for the full match, it was quite cosy in the back of the seated stand, and not a bad view either. If they gave the transparent panels at each end of the stand a clean so that they were clear again, the view would be bettered if sat in certain seats.

Around the rest of the pitch is standard uncovered standing which definitely wasn’t the wisest of places to be on a soggy night in Portsmouth.

The changing rooms and current clubhouse are just basic cabins and half time was a bit of a squeeze so I chose to return to my seat. The club were very good in bringing a pin badge over to my seat after I had given up on trying to get into the clubhouse.

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The Game

Ollie Watts scored the winning penalty in sudden death as Wessex Division One side Baffins Milton Rovers progressed to the next round of the Wessex League Cup against Andover Town who play one division higher.

The scores were all level at 2-2 after 90 minutes and as the game went straight to penalties and Baffins eventually came out victorious.

Andover had the first chance of the game when winger Shane Lock wasted a great chance to open the scoring when his side-footed volley just went wide at the back post.

It was Louie Bell’s Baffins side who took the lead through one of the league’s top scorers Tyler Moret after nine minutes. Callum Dart had whipped in a dangerous ball into a crowded penalty area and Rovers captain Moret rose highest to nod over the line.

Minutes later Dart burst through the Andover back line and squared it to Moret but as ‘keeper Jarid Hixon collected the ball, Moret managed to collide into him resulting in a stretcher being needed to force Town into an early change. With no recognised goalie on the bench, McCaulie Stubbs stepped up from the bench to go between the sticks for the rest of the game.

Without a proper goalkeeper on the bench, it looked like Andover had an impossible task on getting a result but they soon found themselves level through Chris Onoufriou. Baffins ‘keeper Tony Male came out to clear ball and made a meal of it and as the defence failed to clear, Onoufriou fired a shot at goal which took a little nick off the defender before nestling into the corner of the net.

The game wasn’t square for long as Rovers regained the lead on 26 minutes through Pennery who fired the ball across goal and into the corner. The Town defence had done well to thwart a Rovers attack but they made an error and Moret regained possession in an advanced area before playing a nice little pass into Pennery to score.

Andover had a good spell of possession and Onoufriou sent a half volley towards goal but Male managed to keep hold of the effort.

Lerone Plummer had a great chance to pull things level when he worked some space in the box but instead of picking out a pass to a team mate, the striker chose to shoot from a narrow angle and put it into the side netting.

Plummer had another chance moments later when Alex Dockree put in a nice through ball but he scuffed the effort that should have drawn things level. As half time approached, Plummer was making a habit of missing chances and he brushed his shot just wide after Ashton Leigh missed the headed clearance.

After the restart, Stubbs showed that he may be edging for a permanent position change when he did superbly to scramble across the line to palm away Dart’s shot after Blu Boam had chested the ball down.

Andover did find the equaliser through Plummer on the break where a good combination of pace and power he shrugged off Danny Audin before dispatching a little chip over the onrushing Tony Male and over the line to make it 2-2.

Baffins looked for an instant response and after Ross Gregory gave a free kick away for handball on the edge of the box, Boam fired the set piece straight against the crossbar.

The rest of the half was scrappy as the rain continued to fall making conditions difficult. Rovers hit Andover on the break in the final minutes and Moret played in substitute Bradley Fairweather but he could only roll the shot wide as penalties became a reality.

In a tense shootout, at 2-2 Andover’s Javier Santafe-Vivo hit the post giving Rovers the advantage, however Fairweather stepped up next for Baffins and hit it straight into the legs of Stubbs who was putting in a sterling performance in goal.

The shootout went to sudden death at 4-4 after the first ten penalties and at 5-5 Andover missed their kick, only to be saved again by Stubbs who saved from Audin’s effort with his legs.

A few kicks later Town captain Gregory struck the post allowing Watts to step up and score the winner to the delight of the home fans.

2016/17 Games: 56

2016/17 Grounds: 44

Total Grounds Visited: 179

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