By Pete Martin
Salisbury got their league campaign underway with a dramatic late draw at home to Beaconsfield Town. With only 3 players in the starting lineup at the club last season, it was very much a new-look side that took to the pitch at the Ray Mac Stadium.
As is often the case on opening games of the season, it was very much a cagey start with both sides feeling out the other. The Whites had the lion’s share of the possession early on but the closest they came to any sort of chance saw Noah Coppin hit a half-volley high and wide from an acute angle with 10 minutes on the clock. The visitors did have a sight of goal themselves on 14 minutes but Sam Granville screwed the ball well wide when the ball reached him at the back post in their 1st real foray forward. It was Beaconsfield who took the lead on 20 minutes as a wide free kick from James Dobson swung all the way across and into the back of the net with the White’s defence holding a high line and keeper Josh Gould unable to claim the ball.
Images by Michael Berkeley
Despite being behind Salisbury still saw plenty of the ball and continued to probe in an effort to find an opening. On the half hour mark, centre-back Tom Bragg stepped up into midfield and fed the ball into Dan Fitchett, who did well to turn his marker but was unable to generate the power required to properly test Sam Beasant in the visitor’s goal. There was a scare for the White’s defence 5 minutes later when a fine move from Beaconsfield saw Elliot Buchanan get down the left before crossing into the danger zone, where Asher Yearwood met the ball on the run but could only flick his header onto the bar and over the top. Salisbury ended the half on top, 2 further chances were worked but firstly Charlie Gunson, and then Fitchett were unable to keep shots on target at the end of well-worked moves as the teams went in for half time with a narrow advantage to the visitors.
There was a change at half time for the Whites; Jamar Smith replacing Aaron Simpson at full back, as they looked to get back into the game. As had been the case for most of the half the home side dominated the possession but were only able to create one real opportunity in the first 20 minutes of it; Gunson mishitting the ball wide after a good spell down the right hand side. Beaconsfield gave a reminder of the danger they could cause on 62 minutes, Granville disappointed to fire wide of goal when he was put through with only Gould to beat.
Images by Roger Elliott
Salisbury continued to probe and try to find a way through an organised defence but it was Beaconsfield who came the closest to another goal when on 79 minutes Granville again came close, his shot bouncing back off the stantion behind the goal when well placed. 3 minutes later, the visitors were reduced to 10 men; Ibrahim Sankoh was shown a 2nd yellow for simulation thus meaning his side would have to try and see out the game a man short. The Whites pushed for an equaliser as the game drew to an end, on 89 minutes a weak Theo Lewis header didn’t trouble Beasant before deep into injury time substitute Josh Hedges raced into the box and was brought down with a penalty awarded. Fitchett stepped up and struck a powerful effort goalwards only to see Beasant deny him with a brilliant save to his right, but the Whites were given a reprieve as he was deemed to be off his line when the ball was kicked, thus meaning a re-take. This time it was captain Sido Jombati who took the responsibility and he made no mistake to draw the teams level. With virtually the last kick of the game, Salisbury could have snatched the win but Lewis was just unable to get on the end of an inviting cross in from Hedges.
Salisbury are on the road next Saturday, August 12th as they make the short trip to newly promoted AFC Totton for their first away game of the season.
Team; Gould, Simpson(Smith), Sommerton, Jombati, Bragg, Penny(Leggett), McCreadie, Lewis, Gunson, Fitchett, Coppin(Hedges)
Unused subs; Osei, C Arnold