BUCS Western 6A League
Team Solent Seconds 3
(Dion Gibbs, Ebenezer Onufujabi, Paulo Carvalheiro)
University of Winchester 1
Test Park (3G)
Wet Wet Wet- ‘Love is all around me’ was number one when I was born and today it was wet enough to take my pet goldfish (who is 11 years old and named after the former Czech Republic player Karel Poborsky) for a walk. By the final whistle, I was indeed wet wet wet.
But as I wrote last week, the Western 6A Division couldn’t be tighter. Solent were second bottom (5th) before beating top of the league to go joint on points but sitting in third this time last week.
With two games left all they can do is take maximum points and hope that it is enough to earn promotion.
Today they faced a Winchester Fourths side who they had already beaten 4-0 at home. This was meant to be an away fixture but when the game was called off last month, Solent had travelled to the game before the decision was made, and under BUCS rules, the venue was switched to Test Park.
This was my 21st trip to Test Park this season and it was good to be back on the 3G pitch and not traipsing up to the top pitch in the mud.
Team Solent Second’s late surge as title contenders gathered more pace with a convincing 3-1 victory over local rivals University of Winchester Fourths.
Player/coach Dion Gibbs and Ebenezer Onufujabi gave the Sparks a 2-0 lead inside the opening ten minutes before Jonny Martin reduced the deficit to one goal before the break.
In an evenly matched second half, Solent hit Winchester on the break and ended all hopes of a come back when Portuguese left back Paulo Carvalheiro netted the third.
It took just three minutes for the first goal to go in thanks to a blunder from visiting goalkeeper Will Lewis. Last week’s goal hero Tyler Roche whipped in a good cross and Gibbs was in the centre to glance a header on goal and Lewis fumbled the ball over the line.
A minute later, Roche broke through himself and tried to chip Lewis, but he couldn’t quite sort his angles out as the ball sailed over.
On eight minutes, Onufujabi doubled the lead when he shimmied past Leslie Gower before dispatching a shot into the bottom corner.
It was all Solent as Gibbs magically got around Gower on the touchline before picking out Max Boulter who fired a low shot into the side netting.
Roche was causing havoc on the left wing and he squeezed his way into the box after a pacey run before firing his effort off the outside of the post and out for a throw in.
Yann N’Guessan was making a nuisance of himself on the right wing and his cheeky back heel to Roche enabled the former Cardiff City youngster to cross the ball to Gibbs who hit a low shot that Lewis had to scramble down into the corner to push away.
Winchester’s first effort of the game fell to Ryan Luff who smashed wide at the back post from Martin’s delivery into the box from a set piece.
The visitors did manage to pull a goal back when the ball found Jamie Jones unmarked in the box to shoot and Tatsuya Zosen managed to get a hand on the ball to parry away but Martin was on hand to smash in from close range.
Solent could have had three before the break when Gibbs got the ball stuck in his feet and it fell to Onufujabi who shot straight at the ‘keeper.
The second half took a while to get going as the rain started to get heavier and the ball started to skid on the surface.
Gibbs sent in a corner to the near post and Boulter couldn’t direct his diving header on target.
Winchester were unlucky not to be awarded a penalty when Sami Gharsalli blocked the ball away with what looked like his forearm, but nothing was given and there was little protest from the visiting team.
Blessings Chibamba had a shot on target perfectly blocked by Neel Shah as the game was lacking quality in the final third.
Solent did get a goal 11 minutes from time when they attacked on the break in numbers, Roche went on a mazy run with the ball down the centre of the pitch drawing three defenders near before playing a perfectly weighted pass to the supporting Carvalheiro to take a touch and curl the shot into the bottom corner.
Solent were solid in defence and substitute Oz N’Jie did well to block Jones’ shot that was probably on target.
From a corner, Zosen did well to get a little punch on the ball but Winchester weren’t clinical as the rebound whistled high and wide.
In the final minute, Solent countered again and Gibbs fired a low shot at Lewis that he couldn’t hold before the ball was cleared away to the sound of the referees full time whistle.
2016/17 Games: 106
2016/17 Grounds: 58 (9)
Total Grounds Visited: 153 (40)