Hampshire Premier League

Overton United 0

Bush Hill 1

(Cain Prentice)

Attendance: 47 (approx.)

Overton Recreation Centre

I had four games lined up today and ended up with just one when I headed over to Overton in the evening for a Hampshire Premier game under the lights.

Crawley last night really took it out of me. I’ve said in older posts that I don’t particularly like driving so I woke up Wednesday not wanting to go anywhere at all.

My original plan included a triple-header of BUCS football at Portsmouth University, however I bailed completely in favour for sitting inside, not even enjoying the nice weather. On my way back from Portsmouth, I had decided on Clanfield against Hayling in the Hampshire League Cup semi final at AFC Portchester’s ground, however, that plan had fallen apart.

Fast forward to 7pm and I was still sat in my room trying to find something to watch on Netflix and then I made the quick decision to hop in my car and get over to a new ground. Overton against Bush Hill was calling.

Overton have recently installed floodlights and after a bumper attendance for the grand unveiling a few weeks ago, this must have been the second or third evening fixture for the side.

Bush Hill are riding high of the Hampshire League, amazing success on one hand and a tricky situation on the other. Bush Hill’s home pitch, Mansel Park in Southampton is nowhere near the standard it needs to be to ever be considered for the Wessex League. In the middle of a public park with two old shipping containers for changing rooms, they would have to do a lot to get the ground up to scratch for promotion. So for now, they will probably be crowned champions and go again next season in the same division.

Overton on the other hand probably have a solid base should they ever compete for promotion.


The Ground

Overton is a bit out of the way of anything, near Whitchurch, just off the A34, Overton looks like a small countryside town/village. It was pitch black when I got there so I couldn’t really tell you much about the place, but I parked up on the side of a narrow country road, next to a thatched roofed cottage by a small river with ducks lurking everywhere, in the road on the bridge walls and next to the water, you get the picture.

Overton Recreation Centre looks quite an impressive facility for the league, complete with the newly added floodlights, the club really is heading in the right direction if they wish to get out of the Hampshire League.

At the moment they are at the wrong end of the league, but at this level, anything can happen, one season you may be near the bottom but the following season you could be competing for a title.

If Overton were to apply for promotion, I feel that they have the facility to do it. They would obviously have to put in a seated stand and a turnstile but the ground is pretty much there. The car park is reasonable and complete with a barrier around the pitch (which is some blue string at the moment) I could definitely picture an Overton ground in the future being a part of the Wessex set up.

The clubhouse is situated above the dressing rooms, with windows overlooking the pitch the only bit of shelter if it was going to rain.

They have put some slabs down half of one side by the dugouts and if that was all the way around it would give spectators more chance to stand over the other side without having to stand on the grass.


The Game

Bush Hill left it late to snatch a 1-0 victory against lowly Overton United. The league leaders are now four points clear, with six games in hand of second placed Hayling United.

Overton are without a win in 11 games, their last win coming in a 3-2 away game with Colden Common. Bush Hill have won 16 of their 19 games in the league this season.

The hosts were on the front foot and nearly took the lead when Ross Cook smashed the post before sending the rebound over the bar.

If Overton were going to score, Cook looked to be their main attacking threat as he saw his flicked on header land perfectly into the hands of Niall Devereaux.

Bush Hill had their spell of pressure and Cain Prentice had two attempts saved one chip that Sean O’Brien managed to tip away and later his near post header was blocked away by the United number one.

O’Brien was then at pull stretch to tip over Perry Harding’s effort from distance as the visitors started to get a hold of the game.

In an off the ball incident Sean Haines was lucky to have stayed on the pitch when during some afters with John Gurney he twice lunged with his head into his opponent however it went unnoticed by the officials.

Gurney and Cook were doing well up front for United and a little exchange of passes led to Cook having a go at goal which Devereaux had to get low to smother away at the feet of the striker.

Devereaux came to the rescue again when a long free kick went over Haines who missed the header and fell to Cook who could only fire straight at the keeper to block away.

Jack Jewell had the best chance of the half for the visitors when he hit a long range effort that rattled the woodwork and out of play.

Just before the break both sides were reduced to ten men following an altercation between James Whitlock and Ross Cook. After a little coming together with both players in the wrong the referee had no choice but to give both players a straight red.

The pace of the first half really took its toll on the second half that turned into a scrappy affair with little to separate the two sides and little action in front of goal.

Nathan Gray had a great chance to score when he raced through the Overton back line but under the pressure of the one-on-one poked his shot wide with three United players hot on his heels.

Gray was replaced by Dan Smith for some fresh legs in attack and the wide man did well to get a few crosses into the box, one falling to Prentice who headed over the bar.

Tensions were boiling over between home spectators and Bush Hill players with a few of the visiting players reacting badly to some comments from lads on the touchline.

With little time on the clock, Hill did manage to grab a goal when Martyn Randall swung in a great free kick into the box and towering striker Prentice managed to get a touch to send it towards goal and it took a few touches through a crowd of players before crossing the line.

2016/17 Games: 110

2016/17 Grounds: 61 (9)

Total Grounds Visited: 155 (40)