by Pete Martin – Cover image by Roger Elliott

Salisbury started off 2024 in style with a 4-2 win at home to Tiverton Town. The first game of the New Year saw Brian Dutton make 3 changes to his starting lineup; Aaron Simpson returning from injury to replace Josh Sommerton, and Sam Perry and Noah Coppin in for Charlie Gunson and Wayne Robinson.

Images by Michael Berkeley.

It was the visitors who had the better of the opening exchanges, after 5 minutes Jamie Richards lashing the ball wide from a half-cleared set piece before 7 minutes Josh Jones clattered the crossbar, although the linesman’s flag would have denied him had it been a few inches lower. The first 30 minutes saw Tiverton continue to look the more likely, seeing the lion’s share of possession and playing mostly in Salisbury’s half. It wasn’t until 32 minutes that the Whites really threatened; a quick break through the middle of the defence saw the ball worked across to Aaron McCreadie but he could only blaze his shot high and wide from the edge of the area.

The game’s best chance came 3 minutes later and it saw the visitors wondering how they didn’t take the lead. Jack Rice forced the ball goalwards and when it rebounded off the bar and then off the back of keeper Lewis Gunstone-Gray, attacker Niall Thompson was unable to force it home with the defence managing to hack the ball clear. On 39 minutes they were made to pay as Salisbury took the lead, somewhat against the run of play. Excellent link-up between Simpson and Josh Hedges saw the latter dig out an excellent cross to the back post where Dan Fitchett had the simplest of tasks to bundle it into the back of the net for his first goal in 11 games. Just before halftime, the Whites were forced into a change in goal; Gunstone-Gray was involved in a clash with Jones and appeared to injure his shoulder, meaning midfielder Theo Lewis had to step up from the bench and don the gloves. Lewis had nothing to do before the referee brought an end to the half with Salisbury slightly fortunate to be ahead at the break.

Dutton made a change to his team at halftime, Ryan Penny coming on for Harry Williams with a slight change of formation as a result. It had the desired effect as the Whites started the half very much on the front foot and looked a different side to the opening half. Inside the first 10 minutes of the half Hedges had 2 shots that went over the bar before on the hour mark Salisbury doubled their lead. The ball was played into the box from the right-hand side and saw Coppin coming in off the left to get a shot away. His initial effort was blocked however he showed good determination to lash home the rebound giving keeper Zak Baker no chance. 4 minutes later they added a 3rd with Coppin again the man to apply the finish. McCreadie won the ball back in the middle of the pitch and a fine ball forward opened the Tiverton defence up for Coppin to pounce and slide home a composed shot into the bottom corner.

Images by Roger Elliott

Tiverton reacted well to the double blow and on 71 minutes got a goal back as a great strike from outside the area by Jack Rice gave Lewis no chance. 3 minutes later Coppin had a chance for his hat-trick, curling an effort inches wide of the post from the edge of the box before Jamar Smith did likewise shortly afterwards. As the game ticked into time added on the scoring wasn’t finished and Coppin was presented with his hat-trick opportunity when substitute Robinson was adjudged to have been bought down in the box. The young attacker stepped up to smash the ball home and complete his first treble for the club in style. There was still time for Tiverton to get a late consolation, River Allen firing home a freekick on 97 minutes but it was Salisbury who took all 3 points to complete a league double over the visitors.   

The Whites are back in action next Saturday when they welcome local rivals AFC Totton to the Ray Mac for a 3 pm kick-off. 

Team: Gunstone-Gray(Lewis), Simpson, Smith, Leggett, Jombati, Perry, McCreadie, Hedges(Robinson), Coppin, Williams(Penny), Fitchett Unused Subs: Gunson, Harding. 

Ian Pearson
January 8, 2024

Ian Pearson

Media & Website Manager