BUCS Western Conference Cup Quarter Final
Team Solent Firsts 2
(Duarte Martins, Giovanni Landu)
University of Bath Thirds 2
(Matias Morgan, Harry Osborne)
*Bath win 4-3 on penalties AET
Attendance: 8 (approx. headcount)
Monday’s last minute decision to bail on Team Solent reserves and Tuesday night being spent with my girlfriend on Valentines Day, I was keen to get to a game on Wednesday.
Today was supposed to be a Team Solent double header, their BUCs team playing a cup game with the University of Bath third team and then I was going to take the long drive to tick off one of the few Wessex League grounds that I haven’t done yet, Portland United who were playing Solent.
With the 120 mile round trip to Portland set for the evening, I contemplated giving the BUCs game a miss and what I mistake that would’ve been. The rain had been on and off all day and the Portland game was called off whilst I was watching the university game.
There was other options for an evening game, Alresford, Whitchurch and Verwood all had games and all are fairly close to home, however I opted for a night in.
Anyway, back to the afternoon game, I haven’t missed a Team Solent BUCs home fixture this season and today was no different. They were playing Bath Thirds in the Quarter Final of the Western Conference Cup.
This season has been an inconsistent one for this Solent side, winning only twice in the league and only picking up one point away from home leaves them joint bottom of the Western 2A league, joint with Bath.
If this was a league game then it would be a classic six pointer, but this was the cup and anything could happen. Solent have already beaten Bath 2-1 in the league in November so should have been confident to beat them again.
Isaac Gosling scored the winning penalty in a dramatic shootout to put Bath into the semi-final of the BUCs Western Conference Cup.
With the game all square at 1-1 after 90 minutes, Solent thought they had won the game when Giovanni Landu scored two minutes into extra time, only for Harry Osborne to force penalties in the last seconds of the game.
Bath had taken a first half lead through Matias Morgan, which was later cancelled out by Portuguese defender Duarte Martins’ header in the second half to take the game to extra time.
The weather had made conditions tricky with the pitch wet and muddy, making the game scrappy as both teams battled for possession.
Gosling was lively in attack for the visitors and went close with a header that went just wide. The Bath forward had another chance moments later, shooting from the edge of the box that Solent ‘keeper Max Boulter scrambled to keep hold of.
Solent’s first real chance of the game fell to Randy Spence who was in a great area to score but hit a soft effort straight at Lucas Loayza.
Bath opened the scoring on 29 minutes through Matias Morgan who slid the shot under Boulter after Solent had been caught in possession on the edge of the box. Ben Littlemore had lost the ball wide on the edge of his area and Gosling, who had made the tackle, squared the ball to his strike partner to put the Yellows in the lead.
Bath were the stronger team in the first half and nearly made it two when Boulter had to go full stretch to parry away Daniel Tram’s curling effort.
The visitors went close again when Osborne fired a shot from a tight angle, which looped up off Solent defender Cairo Duhaney-Burton and just evaded the top corner of the goal.
Solent were forced into a change at half time when Jordan Godfrey limped off with an injury and was replaced with former QPR youngster Sham Abufalah.
O’Shea McDonald went close to putting the ball into his own net when his routine back pass missed the keeper and rolled inches wide of the post and out for a corner.
Solent improved as the second half went on and nearly found the equaliser from a quick free kick. The ball was sent quickly to Abufalah who tapped the ball inside for Landu to hit a good shot at Loayza to save at the near post.
The equaliser did come on 54 minutes when Jacob Noonan sent in corner and Duarte Martins rose highest at the near post to smash a strong header over the line.
Bath were still looking strong and should have taken the lead after Boulter missed the catch from a cross and Osborne put it wide at the back post.
Solent then went close to taking the lead when Noonan played a ball over the top for Landu who poked the ball through the ‘keepers legs, only for it to bounce off the post and into Loayza’s hands whilst he was still on the floor.
Loayza then made a good save from Spence after Martins had done well to retain possession in the attacking box.
With the score at 1-1, extra time couldn’t have started better when Landu latched on to Martins’ cross to tap the ball into the back of the net.
The hosts were wasting a lot of time to run the clock down and were throwing everything at their opponents to hold their slender lead.
It was fairly scrappy as legs became heavy and Solent looked like they had done enough as the game reached injury time at the end of 120 minutes of action. With the referee close to blowing his whistle, Solent ‘keeper Boulter spilled a routine cross from the right wing, straight to the feet of Osborne who had time to take a touch and smash the ball in from close range, sending the visitors into a frenzied celebration by the corner flag.
Noonan scored first in the shootout to give Solent the lead, helped further when Boulter did well to get his body in the way of Bath’s first spot kick, taken by Anthony Corner.
Martins and Owen Futter dispatched their spot kicks before Abufalah missed for the home side, allowing Juan Kermode to pull the shootout level at 2-2.
McDonald then missed his spot kick for Solent and Bath made no mistakes with the next kick as Osborne put the visitors 3-2 ahead. Solent substitute Sam Hartley scored to give the hosts a glimmer of hope but Gosling secured Bath’s place in the final four when he smashed in the winning penalty.
2016/17 Games: 91
2016/17 Grounds: 52 (9)
Total Grounds Visited: 150 (40)