Southampton Senior Cup Quarter Final
(Barry Mason x2, Lee Wort)
Alresford Town 1
The Universal Stadium
After two games on Saturday I was pretty content with a lazy Sunday and I was looking forward to Team Solent’s Wessex League Cup game with Tadley Calleva on Monday evening, but it fell foul to the weather giving me a night in.
So Tuesday come around and I had originally planned to stay at home with the prospect of a two BUCs league games at Team Solent on Wednesday to keep me busy enough this week.
But as always my addiction for football kicked in and with the rain continuing to pour I had very few options for a game, which presented to me a great chance to return to the Universal Stadium, home of Sholing FC. I had been just once before and that was last season, a 2-1 victory over Horndean in the Russell Cotes Cup in November 2015.
This season I hadn’t managed to see Sholing play at all, however this was my fourth time watching the Magpies away having seen them at Hamble (pre-season) and Wimborne & Fareham (both FA Cup).
I have also done a handful of Southampton Senior Cup games too this season with Team Solent’s early round wins against Hythe & Dibden and Upham as well as Brockenhurst versus Hamble Club in the quarter final stage.
The rain hadn’t stopped for well over 24 hours so kudos to the grounds staff at Sholing for keeping the pitch in good condition for the game.
I got there about 15 minutes before and there was a queue for the turnstile, something I’m not all that used to but possibly stuck in my mind more as it was raining!
You enter the ground behind the goal, directly to your left is the hospitality, changing rooms and clubhouse all situated up the corner of the ground.
The ground is pretty indifferent to any other in this level and in recent years Sholing have yo-yoed between the Wessex Premier and Southern League South & West so you would expect something a little extra, however I would say it is on par with Winchester who play a division above.
There is some shelter outside the clubhouse but all the main spectator areas are down one length of the pitch to the right of where you enter. There is a fairly decent sized seated area, which is covered, and then there is a small covered, raised standing terrace that I didn’t realise was for the ‘Sholing Ultras’. However I didn’t fancy sitting down so I stood there next to the four ultras staying out of the rain. One of guys arrived with a rucksack full of flags that he hung along the pitch barrier and at the back of the stand with phrases such as ‘Lee Wort Scores Goals’ and ‘Sholing for the cup’, the mind boggles, but great to have people supporting these clubs nonetheless.
The rest of the spectator area is just uncovered, pitch level standing, perfectly fine if it’s dry but on a night like tonight shelter was most definitely needed.
Sholing progressed to the semi-final of the Southampton Senior Cup with a 3-1 victory over fellow Wessex Premier League side Alresford Town.
The Boatmen scored three goals inside the opening 25 minutes to wrap up the game, despite a spirited performance by the visitors in the second half. Tom Sands scored late on for Alresford however it will be Sholing who are just 90 minutes away from a final at St Mary’s Stadium.
Barry Mason, who was playing alongside his brothers Dan and Byron, opened the scoring on seven minutes when he intercepted Harry Davies’ back pass to ‘keeper Dan Kempson to round the number one and slot the ball into the back of the net.
Alresford had an early penalty decision turned down when home goalkeeper Ryan Gosney clattered Sam Burt inside the area but the referee deemed it fair and continued play.
Sholing doubled their lead on 15 minutes when Barry Mason grabbed his second of the game smashing in from ten yards despite having Alresford defenders around him. Midfielder Jamie Bulpitt sent a fierce effort at goal from 18 yards that Kempson could only parry out to Mason who was in the right place to score.
The visitors were struggling to get a grip of the game and Sands tried an audacious shot from distance but his 35-yard effort went well wide of the post.
Lee Wort made it three on 24 minutes when his shot took a deflection to just wrong foot Kempson and go over the line. Byron Mason’s original effort had been blocked and with his second chance chose to pass to striker Wort to convert.
Just before the break Dan Mason headed just over which would have given Alresford a mountain to climb in the second half.
Sholing continued to make chances in the second half and Wort could only fire into the side netting from a defensive mix up for Richard Luffman’s men.
Alresford had more of the possession in the second half but were struggling to break down Sholing with a lot of the game being bogged down in midfield. They did hit the bar through Burt, which was their best effort of the night after a strong run down the right wing from defender Tom Richards.
Sands then should have found the back of the net when he beat the offside trap but he took too long on the ball and Sholing managed to clear the danger.
Striker Sands came close with a header at the back post that was deflected out for a corner after John Cole put a testing cross into the box.
With three minutes left on the clock, Sands did score a late consolation for the Magpies when Richards’ free kick from the right corner of the area found Sands who tapped in from close range.
Sholing nearly wrapped the game up in injury time when they hit Alresford on the break. Wort picked out substitute Jake Hoole who was through on the ‘keeper but he wasn’t able to keep his shot down as it sailed over the crossbar.
2016/17 Games: 85
2016/17 Grounds: 50 (9)
Total Grounds Visited: 150 (40)