Hampshire Premier League

Colden Common 3

(Dave Warnes, Ryan Lambert x2)

Stockbridge 1

(Michael Barker)

Attendance: 22 (approx headcount)

Main Road

Saturday afternoons were built for football, it’s what every football fan looks forward to and I’m no different, despite not being able to watch my team on a regular basis.

Instead, I hop around, visiting obscure corners of the country watching football at all sorts of levels and this Saturday was a good chance for me to visit a new ground.

I had two games that I was keen to go to, not classics by any means but they were both relatively close to home. Romsey Town Veterans was the game that didn’t quite make the cut and I eventually chose Hampshire Premier side Colden Common who were playing at their alternative home, Main Road.

For whatever reason Common weren’t at their usual Boyes Lane ground but as I had visited neither it was a great chance to add another to the list.

The game versus Stockbridge, on paper was not one for the armchair fan who watches Jeff Steling babble on about nothing on the TV. There was some added interest as colleague and good friend Dave Warnes was playing for the home side, little was I to know that the mercurial winger was going to get on the score sheet!

The Ground

As for most teams at this level, as long as there is a football pitch marked out and 22 players ready to play then it is game on. The Main Road pitch was fit for purpose, I was cutting it close to kick off so ended up parking on a residential street running parallel with the pitch due to no spaces left at the top end.

There was a little hall/clubhouse with a tea hut but no space to get about in there at half time when everyone piled in. The walk to the pitch from the dressing rooms was pretty long but surface was pretty flat despite a few loose leaves scattered around.

If you take your child there is a well equipped play park next to the pitch just in case your eight year old doesn’t appreciate the wonders of Tier 12 football!

For this league, the clubs have no obligation to produce a programme and I was left guessing with no team board on show, so I had to fill in the blanks myself by listening to players calling each other during play, worked better than I thought as it is pretty difficult writing a match report with no player names.

This was my third time watching Common, having seen them lose twice to Bush Hill this season and last. This was the first time watching Stockbridge.

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The Game

Colden Common climbed to 12th in the league with a 3-1 victory over relegation threatened Stockbridge who are yet to win a game.

Dave Warnes opened the scoring for the hosts before Michael Barker pulled it level for Stockbridge. Ryan Lambert then scored before the break to give the advantage to Danny Barker’s side. Lambert added his second in the second half to confirm the points for Common, leaving Stockbridge still in search of their first win of the season in 15 attempts.

The visitors were bright in the opening moments and they had a shout for a penalty turned away when Ally McCracken was nudged over in the box after picking up a pass from Liam Dufall.

It was end-to-end and Common wasted some early chances with some wayward shooting from David Egerton and Warnes.

The Robins ‘keeper Peter Roberts did well to hold on to Lambert’s sliding effort when he got a toe on Harrison Moore’s pass.

Stockbridge nearly took the lead when they caught Common on the break and Callum Buck did well to make some space in the box and fired a low drive which just missed the far post. The referee saw a slight deflection from the defender to take the ball just out for a corner.

Shortly after, Barker’s men took the lead when Common attacked in numbers and exploited the gaps in the Stockbridge defence. Lambert played a nice ball to Scott Challis who had found some space wide left and he squared the ball to Warnes who had got into space in the area to slot the ball past Roberts.

Common weren’t in the lead for long and they were soon pegged back all square when Michael Barker curled a good shot into the top corner after a nice lay off from McCracken. Stockbridge had worked the ball well on the right flank before Barker hit a sweet shot into the back of the net.

Dufall was unlucky not to put the Robins ahead when his low drive caught Common ‘keeper Ben Goble unaware and he managed parry the ball away with his chest.

Common then had a spell of pressure and big striker Lambert was a constant threat and he hit a nice ball on the half turn and Roberts looked to have made the catch only to spill it around the post and out for a corner.

The hosts were causing problems and Warnes cut inside onto his stronger right foot to curl one inches over the crossbar. Lambert then forced another good save from Roberts when he did well to get his fingertips to his shot to tip it away and out for a corner.

From the resulting set piece Lambert curled the ball in and the ‘keeper made a complete mess of the situation as the ball dipped in under the bar without taking a touch, leaving Lambert celebrating alone by the corner post.

It could have been three at half time edged near when Egerton forced another fingertip save from Roberts who was doing his best to keep his side in the game.

Dufall had a good chance to equalise after the break but he couldn’t get enough power on the header from Liam Cooke’s deep cross.

Common did put some breathing space between themselves and Stockbridge when Lambert grabbed his second of the evening. Stockbridge had failed to clear their lines and Alex Brady played a pass into Ben Mackay who shrugged off his man and squared a ball across the edge of the six-yard box and Lambert was there to tap home the chance.

Stockbridge didn’t let their heads drop despite another defeat looking inevitable. Goble did well to tip over a bullet strike from distance which would have put pressure on the home side had it gone in.

Both teams made changes and Common were wasteful in attack with Lambert and Egerton both firing efforts wide.

There was a stoppage in play when a local lady stormed onto the pitch ranting about a poorly parked car which turned out to be nothing to do with the players involved and the lady soon retreated whilst arguing with the opposition bench.

With play resumed, Stockbridge committed men forward and left a lot of space for Common to exploit. Common thought they had made it four when Warnes played a good ball over to substitute Omar Al-Haziazi but Roberts made a great save to deny the wide man.

2016/17 Games: 67

2016/17 Grounds: 49

Total Grounds Visited: 142 (37)

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