Fawley AFC have been handed a Sydenhams Wessex League opener for 2019/20, home to Downton FC on Friday 2nd August 2019 at The Aliport Arena.
A welcome sight for The Oilers after the past two seasons facing away fixtures on the opening day, Andover New Street 2017/18 and East Cowes Victoria 2018/19. Although no fixture is considered an easy one in this division, especially where Fawley are concerned, losing 17 of their 36 fixtures last season.
Downton finished 7th, four places above Fawley and early signs suggests both teams have retained the same squad of players. This fixture last season saw the home side win 3-2, their fist league win of that campaign after drawing the opener against East Cowes and then losing to Verwood, Romsey and Amesbury. Zac Willis, Ben Murphy and Declan Hartigan were the scorers for Fawley, whilst Matt Steer and Liam Dance netted for The Robins. Paul Gulliver did miss a penalty late on for the away side.
The reverse fixture later in the season saw Fawley win 5-1 at The Brian Whitehead Sports Ground, in a match dominated by referee decisions. The Oilers had three first half penalties awarded, Mark Lilley converting all three. Ben Rankin with a rocket of a goal in between, saw a 4-0 half time away lead. Matt Steer was given his marching orders for dissent towards the referee second half, Tom Munday added a fifth and Ben Smith for Downton converted their own penalty late on. Another note worthy of a mention is Fawley did not have a recognized goalkeeper this match, central defender Tom Rafferty had to step in very short notice.
If last seasons two fixtures are anything to go by for this fixture, you can expect plenty of goals, a busy match official and a few penalty shouts.
The opening fixtures were released as follows:
Friday August 2nd
Fawley AFC v Downton
Saturday August 3rd
AFC Portchester v Shaftesbury
AFC Stoneham v Portland United
Alresford Town v Cowes Sports
Amesbury Town v Baffins Milton Rovers
Bashley v Fleet Town
Brockenhurst v Tadley Calleva
Fareham Town v Bournemouth
Hamble Club v Christchurch
Horndean v Lymington Town
Solent University v Hamworthy United
Alton v Pewsey Vale
Andover New Street v U.S. Portsmouth
Andover Town v Totton & Eling
Bemerton Heath Harlequins v New Milton Town
Hythe & Dibden v Whitchurch United
Laverstock & Ford v Petersfield Town
Newport IoW v Verwood Town
Ringwood Town v East Cowes Vics
Romsey Town v Folland Sports