by Pete Martin – Cover image by Pete Martin.

A drama-filled afternoon saw Salisbury FC clinch promotion to the National League South with a penalty shootout victory at AFC Totton. For this crucial game, Brian Dutton made 2 changes to his starting lineup; Ryan Penny and Dan Fitchett replacing Jayden Perez and Charlie Gunson.  

Early on it was clear that it would be a cagey opening to the game. With so much at stake neither side wanted to concede an early goal, although Penny and Josh Hedges both put early shots over the bar from distance for the Whites. Both sides saw plenty of midfield possession but it wasn’t until 29 minutes in that either keeper was called into action; Totton’s Jordan Ragguette driving down the left hand side and stinging the palms of Ryan Gosney in the Salisbury goal. 5 minutes later Joe Oastler put a shot over the bar and then at the other end Penny’s long range effort was straight at former Whites keeper Josh Gould in the Totton goal. In the dying seconds of the half, Ethan Taylor shot straight at Gosney and a fairly tense opening half was brought to an end with neither side able to make a breakthrough.   

Photos by Roger Elliott

The opening exchanges of the half were pretty much more of the same, neither side was able to conjure a moment of magic to unlock the game. The breakthrough for the Whites nearly arrived just before the hour mark, Gould doing well to get down at the feet of a Whites attacker and claim the ball. On 72 minutes Totton substitute Leon Maloney shot over the bar and then 5 minutes later the deadlock was broken. The Salisbury defence was unable to fully clear the ball and it was clipped over to the back post where Tony Lee powered a header into the back of the net to the delight of the home fans. That opened the game up and it took just 7 minutes for Salisbury to respond. The ball made its way down the right hand side and, with Aaron Simpson attempting to get the ball across, a Totton defender’s hand was out and the penalty kick was awarded. Top scorer Noah Coppin stepped up and confidently despatched the ball into the back of the net to level the game. With the game in injury time Whites captain Sido Jombati glanced a header wide from a corner and that was all for the 90 minutes of normal play.  

Photos by Michael Berkeley

Into extra time and it was Salisbury who started it strongest looking to play on the front foot, and they were rewarded just before half time in extra time as Hedges found space to fire home what looked to be the winning goal. Totton responded though and with just 3 minutes left in the game they snatched an equaliser; Gosney making a fantastic save from a goal bound effort but the ball was recycled and worked to Ethan Taylor at the back post who converted to send the game to penalties. Totton keeper Gould stepped up to take the first kick but saw his effort denied by opposite number Gosney and, after 4 nerveless penalties from Coppin, Hedges, Jombati and Dore, it was the Whites gloveman who was the hero as he beat away Lee’s penalty to send the Whites large travelling fans home jubilant with the team heading into the National League South for next season.   

Team: Gosney, Leggett(Bragg, Sommerton(Simpson), Jombati, Ball, Dore, Penny(Gunson), McCreadie, Hedges, Coppin, Fitchett Unused Subs: Rutter, McIntyre

Ian Pearson
May 7, 2024

Ian Pearson

Media & Website Manager