Southampton Senior Cup Quarter Final

Team Solent 3

(Jim Orvis, Tyrell Mitford, Jesse Waller-Lassen)

AFC Stoneham 0

Attendance: 30 (rough guess)

Test Park

I’m running out of things to say about Team Solent. I have definitely developed a soft spot for the team. Their style of play for the level they play at is very attractive. The £2 admission fee is also incredible and a massive deciding factor on why I watch so many of their games.

Of course their BUCs fixtures are free to watch which isn’t quite the same standard of the Wessex League side but still entertaining if I find myself with nothing to do on a Wednesday.

Add that to Test Park being so close to home and everything just falls into place. Go and support your local team really comes to mind.

Growing up supporting Crewe Alexandra was never easy. Manchester United and Liverpool (and later Manchester City) all being on your doorstep it was hard to explain to your friends that you actually go to the stadium and watch your team, talk to the players and meet your heroes. Not just sat at home watching Match of the Day with the closest you get to meeting your idols would be getting their Match Attax card.

Away from Crewe I would watch a few other smaller Football League sides (Stockport and Port Vale) and I would also watch a handful of local Non-League sides (Nantwich Town and Newcastle Town mainly.)

That is probably why I love football so much now, I have never been drawn to the massive games, I’ve never been one for watching games on the TV and nothing quite replaces going to a live match, regardless of the level.

So pulling it back to Team Solent, this is probably the team down on the South Coast that I would say I support, if I had to pick. I would also pick Southampton to some extent. I used to go more than I do now but a trip to St Mary’s is a treat and allows me to watch world-class players and it also allows me to appreciate the game as a whole.

I will never be someone to say ‘Always watch Non-League football’ or ‘Always watch Premier League’. I am a great believer in watching all levels and expanding your understanding of what we call, The Beautiful Game.

I did find myself questioning what I was doing tonight however. The rain was coming down, I even contemplated turning around and going home and just walking from my car to the ground I was wetter than an otters pocket (credit dad for that phrase).

But once in the ground and undercover, and assured that the game was definitely on I was content to be watching game 89 of the season.

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The Game

Current Southampton Senior Cup holders Team Solent progressed to the semi-finals with a 3-0 victory over Wessex Division One side AFC Stoneham.

On a wet Test Park pitch, Jim Orvis had given the Sparks a first half lead before late goals from Tyrell Mitford and Jesse Waller-Lassen put Jim Taylor’s students into the final four.

Solent played most of the second half with ten men when Tobi Adekunle received his second booking of game with the home side 1-0 up at the time.

Solent got off to a slow start and found themselves picking the ball up out of their own net from a Stoneham corner that had crept over the line, only for the referee to blow his whistle for a foul on home ‘keeper Bradley Banda.

The ball was struggling to roll along the surface and Stoneham forward Sergio Caballero tried a shot from the half way line that Banda was able to catch with little trouble.

Visiting goalkeeper Sam Whieldon was forced into a good save at his near post when Adekunle jinked his way into the box before unleashing a shot on goal.

Stoneham, a league below their cup opposition, were giving a good account of themselves as Caballero sent another long range effort into the hands of Banda.

Orvis went close for the students, dragging his shot just wide of the far post from a tight angle after receiving a well-placed pass from Matt Sheedy.

The surface was causing plenty of mistakes and Ashley Ledger latched onto the ball but Orvis, filling in at right back, made a great double block to deny Ledger and Caballero to keep the score at 0-0.

Stoneham managed to save their blushes after Whieldon had spilled the ball on the floor in the box, the Purples back line stayed firm to clear the danger and block Jamel Wiseman’s shot.

The home side did make the breakthrough midway through the first half, Adekunle sent a deep cross into the box from the left wing and Orvis was on hand to take a touch at the back post before firing a venomous shot at goal which Whieldon could do nothing about.

A minute later, Stoneham could have equalised when Tom Hogan slipped the ball through to Alex Welch, who poked the ball past Banda and off the base of the post, a lucky escape for the hosts.

The Sparks were getting a grip of the game and Ryan Dacres-Smith’s low drive looked destined for the bottom corner before Whieldon smothered the ball on the line.

Adekunle then picked up a yellow card for diving in the box when Whieldon came out to collect a loose ball. It looked like a penalty but the referee gave the benefit of the doubt and showed the Solent winger a yellow card.

Stoneham came out for the second half in good form, Hogan raced through the Solent defence before Banda managed to close the angle and save with his legs to keep his side ahead.

Solent were forced into shooting from range as Stoneham kept a solid back line, Lewis Pitts sent one straight at the ‘keeper before Adekunle fired high moments later.

On the hour mark Solent were reduced to ten men when Adekunle was given a second yellow for a late tackle on Scott Bullock and the student went into the changing room for an early shower.

Tyrell Mitford was brought on to help Solent increase the lead and he didn’t need long to score a goal of the season contender. The fresher was on the pitch for four minutes when he curled a beauty in off the post after some good interplay with Waller-Lassen.

Caballero had the ball in the back of the net for Stoneham after some one touch passing around the penalty box but the linesman had his flag raised for offside.

Stoneham pressed on but the game was slowly slipping away as Welch sent one onto the roof of the net minutes before Hogen forced a smart save from Banda.

Waller-Lassen put the game to bed in the final minutes of the game when he was fouled on the edge of the box by Ben Clarke. The Solent number 10 stepped up and curled a low shot into the corner of the net with the Stoneham ‘keeper left stuck in the mud.

Solent head into the semi-finals against Hamble Club reserves in March.

2016/17 Games: 89

2016/17 Grounds: 51 (9)

Total Grounds Visted: 150 (40)

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