OILERS LAST SIX
J.PAGE, M.HUNT, R.MACEY, J.MCPHEE, M.HAWKINS, P.KEATING, D.SEMMENS, E.EARL, O.BRADLEY, K.ROCHE, C.TANNER (2), SUBS: M.BUCKTHORPE, J.KEEN, K.PALMER, S.GREEN
After picking up a much needed three points away to Whitchurch on Saturday, Fawley were keen to build momentum in what has been a slow start to life in the Wessex Division One. The Fawley management named ten of the eleven starters from Saturday, the only absentee being Mark Lilley who is still shaking off a groin injury. Kieran Roche took the number nine shirt in his absence, hoping to replicate some of the form that won him players player award last season.
Opponents Ringwood were in good goal scoring form, with their last defeat coming against neighbours Hythe & Dibden in late August over a month ago. Their recent run of form was showing in the early parts of this fixture too, as Ringwood dominated possession in the opening exchanges. Their captain was finding pockets of space between the Fawley midfield and strikers, and had plenty of time to pick out his Ringwood team mates with a tidy range of passes. After some good patient Ringwood build up, they managed to find Matt Steer in space to hit his shot low and passed Fawley stopper Jon Page in the 7th minute.
The subsequent ten minutes was more of the same, with Ringwood looking well drilled and tidy in possession of the football, at this stage Fawley were looking like they were in for a tough night of it. However the game soon started swinging in the Oilers favour, as the Fawley midfield two of Dan Semmens and Elliot Earl started to press higher and win their personal battles. Ollie Bradley was growing into the game, supporting the team defensively by coming inside to reduce the amount of space for Ringwood to pass the ball, and he was quickly joining Matt Hawkins on the left hand side when we won the ball back to set up some dangerous attacks.
After a string of half chances and set pieces for Fawley, a Mitch Hunt set piece was met by Reece Macey to direct his header downwards and into the net however the linesman deemed he was offside, to the bemusement of both Reece and the Ringwood defender that was marking him! Would've liked to have seen a video replay of this one...! Fawley were finishing the half stronger and the goal finally came after some great patient build-up work on the left hand side, with the ball working its way to Kieran Roche who slid a perfectly weighted through ball to Callum Tanner who took one touch round the keeper and finished into an empty net.
Second half started with a couple of glorious chances for Ringwood as Fawley were guilty of switching off, perhaps still thinking about the juice to water ratio of the half time refreshments (sort it out Jeff!). Ringwood were unable to capitalise and the Fawley response was to continue the first half success playing down the left hand side where Ollie Bradley and Matt Hawkins had some joy in the first half. Ollie was demonstrating why Fawley were so keen to sign him this summer, with some purposeful runs leaving his opposition for dead at times, running with the ball at feet I can't imagine there's many quicker! He cut inside, and hit a thunderous right-foot strike against the bar, but the signs were there that Fawley still had more to give in this game if they could keep up the level of intensity that Ringwood were struggling to match all over the pitch.
Pete Keating and Mitch Hunt linked up down the right hand side for Pete to eventually whip in a great ball with pace and purpose. Not many players would've even made the box, but Kieran Roche made a powerful run and met the ball with perfect timing and technique to direct a half volley towards the top corner, only for the Ringwood goalkeeper to pull off the save of the night and tip it wide for a corner. The next chance would end up in the net, and all started with some great defending from Fawley which resulted in a lofted pass to Kieran Roche. Kieran held the ball up well and with little other option hit a strike from a tight angle which the keeper parried out into the centre of the goal, which was met by the onrushing Callum Tanner to lace a left foot striker into the bottom corner.
Substitutions were made as Fawley made use of their bench with Steve Green replacing Dan Semmens and Jack Keen replacing Pete Keating in midfield, and Kieran Palmer replacing Kieran Roche in attack to inject some extra pace for the Fawley defence to go a bit more direct for the closing stages of the game. With Josh McPhee and Reece Macey pairing up in central defence for the second time after their clean sheet against Whitchurch, they were maintaining their high standards by winning all their headers, and also being tidy in possession of the ball where possible. Having scored over twenty goals between them, the Ringwood strikers were kept relatively quiet all evening, as Josh and Reece allowed them no time or space to build any dangerous attacks.
We can't go a game without a bit of non-league comedy, as the Ringwood number nine couldn't help but have a little swipe at his 'inbred' opponents, little did he know that's regarded as more of a compliment around our here parts! The little fella earned himself a yellow card anyway. Matt Hawkins was also providing some touchline entertainment by taking what seemed like five minutes for a throw-in, walking up and down the touchline and pointing at his imaginary watch to the frustration of the Ringwood bench. Time ran out for the away side without any further chances on Jon Page's goal, and Fawley pick up their second three points in succession.
Overall the perfect return to football at the LB Roofing Arena, after most of the talk being about off-field activity it's nice for the attentions to return to the football field! Thanks to everyone who came out to support the club and we hope to see you again for our next home match. Fawley will be hoping to climb the table on Saturday as we're back on the road to face Totton & Eling.
TOTTON & ELING v FAWLEY AFC
SYDENHAMS WESSEX LEAGUE DIVISION ONE
LITTLE TESTWOOD FARM, SO40 3ND
SAT 7TH OCTOBER, 3.00 KO