Wyvern Combination Division One West

Romsey Town Reserves 2

(Lewis Price-Lloyd, Mark Gardner)

Fawley AFC Reserves 3

(Ben Murphy, Alfie Cole, Shaun Auger)

Attendance: 42 (approx. headcount)

The Bypass Ground

I always remember my stepdad questioning why I always came home from the football on a Saturday evening really hungry and ready for tea. “Didn’t you have a pie or anything at the ground” he would ask, his shocked face when I informed him that I very rarely purchased food at football still cracks me up all these years later.

On a Saturday I would eat lunch whilst waiting for dad to pick me up for our latest football adventure and that would be my last food until my evening meal. Fast forward to 2017 and I am having the same conversation with the parents of my girlfriend, explaining that I have enough self control not to buy a burger from the food van at every game I go to, because I am sure I would have put on a few stone if I had consumed 123 burgers this season.

That isn’t to say that I never eat at football. I have eaten at a few grounds this season, enjoyed a hot dog at Petersfield, chips at Fleet Town, a burger at Chichester, Woking and a few other places and not to forget the sausage rolls at Hythe & Dibden.

Tonight was one of them nights where food at the football was definitely on the agenda. I left work at 19:15 knowing that I no food at home as I drove back into Romsey, past the rapids I saw the floodlights on at the Bypass Ground. I knew the reserves were playing but hadn’t decided if I was going to watch, however I pulled up, paid my £2 as the teams were coming onto the pitch and headed straight to the tea bar and ordered a cheese burger (with onions of course).

As I stood their eating my burger, I felt a few rain drops and the thought of heading home a few minutes into the game did cross my mind, after all, I had got my food and anything else was a bonus. The early goal probably changed my mind about leaving when the first goal went in inside two minutes, Ben Murphy lobbing Jake Graham after getting around Phillip Maddock and what a game it turned out to be.

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The Game

Fawley’s hopes of winning the Wyvern Division One West were kept alive with a spirited 3-2 victory over current leaders Romsey Town. The Oilers second string, along with Team Solent are the only two sides that can catch Town at the top of the table, with Romsey just needing a point to secure top spot.

Romsey found themselves behind with less than two minutes on the clock when a long ball forward found its way to Ben Murphy who lobbed the onrushing Jake Graham to open the scoring. Phillip Maddock had tried to shield the ball until it reached his goalkeeper on the edge of the box but Murphy managed to wrap a leg around the defender and lift the ball into the back of the net.

Fawley were unfortunate not to double the lead when Murphy did well to round Graham in no mans land before Will Wiseman slid in with a last ditch tackle to deny a goal, getting stamped on by accident in the process.

Dec Cleft had Romsey’s first real chance on goal when he fired a shot across the goalmouth before it was put out for a corner by a Fawley defender.

Graham made a great save to keep out Murphy’s shot after he had beaten the offside trap and latched onto Shaun Auger’s searching pass. The visitors were having the better of the chances and after Auger fired a shot straight at Graham, Murphy scuffed the rebound to keep the score at 1-0.

There was a brief stoppage in play as Dan Fry was booked for the visitors for a late barge with his elbow on Wiseman who needed a bit of treatment on the touchline before returning to the field.

Just before the break James Kilford spurned a good chance at the back post, firing wide when a long throw wasn’t dealt with a bounced through the box to the Fawley 11 to shoot.

Romsey were not clinical enough with their time on the ball and maybe should have been trailing by more than one at the break as Fawley looked busy in attack.

Some calamitous defending by Graham and Wiseman could have given Fawley a chance to double the lead early in the second half when Graham, outside of his area, scuffed a pass straight to Fawley’s Kilford who couldn’t punish Romsey.

However, the home side did find an equaliser when Lewis Price-Lloyd headed in a long searching diagonal ball past Fawley’s Sam Robinson. Romsey had been given a free kick tight on the left touchline that had been sent into the box and a group of players jumped to win the ball and Lloyd-Price was there to nod the ball over the line.

Romsey nearly took the lead with a carbon copy of their first goal, Robinson completely missed the catch from another long ball into the area and Wiseman sent his header at goal, but Matt Hawkins was on hand to head the ball off the line and keep his side in the game.

Romsey were having the better of the play in the second half as the visitors made their first change, Kilford being replaced by Tom Walker.

Alfie Cole nearly put the ball into his own net when Lloyd-Price blasted a low cross into the box that the central defender managed to deflect out for a corner.

The hosts were really piling on the pressure, with much of their possession keeping Fawley penned into their own half and the second goal came in controversial style when Hamad Haidar dragged a shot hopelessly wide before Mark Gardner diverted the ball towards goal and into the back of the net. There were shouts for offside but the linesman kept his flag down and the goal was given.

The lead didn’t last too long and again there was plenty of controversy surrounding the Fawley equaliser. Fawley had managed to force a corner and after the ball wasn’t cleared properly another shot was fired in which was too hot to handle for Graham and Cole headed in the rebound on the line. The linesman on the near side (a Romsey substitute player) had his flag up for offside but after some deliberation with the referee and protests from the players, the ref gave the goal with the game now at 2-2.

This gave Fawley the momentum and Murphy blasted a long range shot at goal which dipped a little too late over the crossbar to cause any real problems.

Murphy, who had been a menace upfront all game, played his part in the winning goal when he latched onto a through ball to poke at Graham who looked like he had made a good save but the ball bounced back onto Auger and sent it over the line.

Romsey introduced Elliott Mitchell-Lee and Ibrahima Goswell to the game to try and freshen things up in attack and Town did start to pile on the pressure to get that all important point to confirm the league title.

Fawley replaced Murphy for another defender to try and see out the game as Liam Waterhouse slotted into the defensive line that seemed to consist off all of the Fawley outfield players.

The closest Romsey got to equalise in the final minutes fell to Lloyd-Price who couldn’t direct his header on target from Cleft’s cross.

2016/17 Games: 123

2016/17 Grounds: 65 (10)

Total Grounds Visited: 155 (41)

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