By Pete Martin – Cover Image by Michael Berkeley.
For the 2nd time in 11 days, Salisbury were victorious over Poole Town, this time running out winners by 2 goals to Nil at the Ray Mac stadium. Whites manager Brian Dutton made just 1 change to his starting lineup, Aaron Simpson coming back in with Richard McIntyre dropping to the bench.
Salisbury saw more of the ball in the early stages, but it was Poole who had the game’s 1st chance after 6 minutes; Wes Fogden latching on to a poor clearance from Whites keeper Harrison Lee, only to put his effort well wide from 30 yards out. The home side kept the pressure on and inside the opening quarter of an hour put a number of dangerous balls into the Poole area, none to any avail however. The first real sight of goal they had came on 13 minutes, Noah Coppin’s weak shot taking a deflection and ending up comfortably in the arms of keeper Lloyd Thomas. As the half progressed the away side saw a lot more of the ball and managed to push the Whites deeper into their own half.
Images by Roger Elliot
On 25 minutes, they created a good chance to take the lead; Declan Rose’s 1st-time cross finding Jamie Whisken in space at the back post but he could only volley high of the goal from a tight angle.
The confidence of Poole was growing and on 29 minutes Joshua Staunton fired over the bar from a half cleared free kick as they dominated the possession. Salisbury gave a reminder of what they could do on 40 minutes when Dan Fitchett headed over the bar from a good position inside the box before 3 minutes later the home side took the lead. An inch perfect through ball from Jaden Perez found Simpson marauding forward from fullback and, after taking a touch, he crashed home a beautifully struck half-volley from the angle of the penalty area to put his side in the lead. In time added on Poole could have levelled the score up, but Tom Leggett was on hand to clear the ball from off the line when Cameron Murray had looped a header goalwards and the Whites went in a goal to the good.
Images by Michael Berkeley
A half time change saw McIntyre come on to replace Hedges, with Salisbury switching to a back 3. They could have doubled their lead just 2 minutes into the half but Fitchett could only put the ball wide of the post following a great low ball across from Ryan Penny. As had been the case in the opening half Poole had plenty of possession, although unable to turn that into clear goalscoring opportunities. Just before the hour mark they changed that though, a long throw into the box causing panic in the home defence and needing Lee to pull off a fine double save to deny Whisken and former Salisbury striker Toby Holmes. That double save proved crucial as from the resulting break, the Whites went up the other end and doubled their lead. Substitute James Harding received the ball just inside his own half and when he broke forward his clever pass found Ryan Penny bursting into the box, where the midfielder set himself before curling a right footed effort into the top corner for his 1st Salisbury goal.
The 2nd goal settled the game down for the Whites and, although Poole continued to see plenty of the ball, the home side maintained a good shape and defence discipline. They continued to show they were a danger on the break and on 79 minutes Harding again found Penny but this time his low shot was touched wide by Thomas. Poole continued to battle and as the clock ticked past 90 minutes they were awarded a penalty when Sido Jombati was adjudged to have pulled Holmes to the floor. The striker picked himself up to take the spot kick, but his weak effort was comfortably held by Lee down low to his left and Salisbury held on for the victory and the 3 points.
Post-match with Theo Lewis
The Whites are on the road next Saturday 17th February, travelling to play off chasers Gosport Borough for a 3 pm kick off.
Team: Lee, Simpson, Smith, Leggett, Jombati, Perez, Penny, Gunson(Dore), Hedges(McIntyre), Coppin(Harding), Fitchett Unused Subs: Robinson, Took-Oxley
Alan Goulding presents Aaron Simpson with the MOTM award. Image by Roger Elliott