Scorers : Harry Jackson 26, Liam Kyle 39, Miles Everett 44 / Byron Mason 10, Dan Mason 22, Lee Wort 63 & 67
Date: Tuesday 10th April 2018 7:45pm - Sydenhams Wessex Premier Division
Venue: The Universal Stadium
Horndean: Lloyd Thomas, Benny Reed, Sean Wain (Jamie Winter 82), Danny Boyle, Dan Sackman, Liam Kyle, Jack Maloney (Fuzz Kanjanda), Ash Howes [c], Sam Hookey (Liam Kimber 69), Miles Everett, Harry Jackson. Subs not used : Josh Mound, Matt Brown
Yellow Cards: Lloyd Thomas
Sholing: Ryan Gosney, TJ Cuthbertson, Owen Royl, Pete Castle, Jamie Bulpitt, Alex Sawyer, Jake Hoole (Marlon Mason 88), Byron Mason [c], Dan Mason, Lee Wort, Marv McLean. Subs not used : Harry Butler, Frazer McLean, Owen Roundell, Kevin Brewster
Yellow Cards: Jake Hoole, Dan Mason
Referee: John Foster Assistant Referees: Jason Giddings & Alan Gower
Man of the Match: Lee Wort
Sholing edged a seven goal thriller in a game that had just about everything. Hordean came from 2 down to deservedly lead at half time, but a much improved second half performance by the Boatmen was rewarded by two spectacular Lee Wort goals.
Team News: TJ, Marv & Byron returned to the starting line as the teams came out onto Sholing's pitch, although in the record books it will be deemed a home fixture for Horndean. Credit goes to Horndean & the Wessex League for being flexible to ensure a game went ahead, although everyone is also indebted to the hard work by Michael Simmons to get the Universal Stadium pitch in a playable condition.
If the game had ended after just 4 minutes, everyone at the game would have gone home saying they had seen something quite remarkable as Horndean managed to hit the woodwork FOUR times in pretty much the same attack! First an angled shot by Jackson hit the post and quickly after he did it again, but this time when it looked easier to score, rebounds were also struck against the woodwork by Maloney & Smith in an incredible passage of play.
The home (away) side remained on top, but Sholing hit them with a sucker punch on 10 minutes when an Alex Sawyer corner saw BRYON MASON evade his marker to power in a header from 8 yards for his 12th of the season. After Jake Hoole had stung the palms of the keeper with an 18 yard shot, Sholing doubled their lead on 22 minutes. Alex Sawyer was freed in the right channel and his pass into the area found DAN MASON, who took a touch and drilled in a powerful low shot under the diving keeper.
Horndean couldn't believe they were two down, having created a lot of chances with some good quick passing football, but they finally made one count on 26 minutes when Harry Jackson fired past Gosney. Jackson went close two more times before Horndean grabbed the equaliser on 39 mins when a corner saw a free header land at the feet of Liam Kyle to knock into the net from close range.
As half time approached, the game swung again on two big moments. Firstly, Horndean went in front, with Miles Everett taking fully advantage of a Sholing defence at sixes & sevens. Then in the last action of the half, Jamie Bulpitt won a race with the out-rushing goalkeeper to nod past him, but the midfielder was taken out by Lloyd Thomas in the process. The debate was whether it was inside or outside the area, but after consulting his assistant, John Foster gave a freekick outside the box and booked Thomas. Jake Hoole curled the freekick just over to end a breathless first 45. HT 3-2
Sholing came out a more focused side for the second half, much sharper in the tackle and not allowing Horndean to settle on the ball. Pete Castle, Owen Royl & TJ all getting in well timed tackles before launching the Boatmen on the attack. On 54 minutes, Byron Mason headed across goal towards the far post where Lee Wort was coming in, but the ball somehow evaded the striker. Sholing had the ball in the back of the net on 58 mins, when a ball into the centre of the box was well controlled by Dan Mason, who rolled the defender and finished past the keeper from 12 yards, but the referee adjudged he had fouled the Horndean player. The "Deans" were still dangerous going forward and Gosney did well to deny Jackson.
Boatmen were cranking up the pressure and it paid off with two spectacular quick fire goals to once again, turn the game on it's head. On 63 mins, Sawyer's left wing corner was flicked on by TJ to Byron, who headed to LEE WORT, who, with his back to goal on the edge of the 6 yard box, executed an overhead kick to equalise. Four minutes later and Sholing were in front as the front two combined for another brilliant goal. Again, Dan Mason showed good strength to control and hold off the defender in the area and he flicked the ball to the arriving LEE WORT, who hit it on the volley with his left foot from 10 yards and it screamed into the roof of the net. It was the 50th goal the front two had scored this season.
Dan Mason forced Thomas into a good diving save on 75 minutes as for the final 15, Horndean pushed forward for an equaliser, leaving gaps at the back, that on a couple of occasions, Sholing's final ball just let them down. The Boatmen defence were determined not to allow Horndean back into the game and were well organised and strong in the tackle to see out a fantastic match. Full credit to both sides for putting on such an entertaining game, full of good football on a slippery pitch. FT 3-4
Dave Diaper reflected on an eventful game : "I thought Horndean were excellent in the first half tonight and they impressed me with their pace,tempo and passing game and we were very disappointing and 2nd best all over the park even tho we raced into a 2-0 lead through excellent finishing from Byron and Dan it came as no surprise when Horndean hit back with 3 quick goals taking us into the break with a 2-3 deficit."
"A few words were said at half time and we changed the formation and started the 2nd half with a look of a team that wanted to get back some pride and i thought we shocked Horndean as we looked like a completely different team. We upped the tempo and movement but more importantly we were full of desire and passion and it came as no surprise to me when we equalised and eventually went on to win the game. It was certainly a game of two halves and give credit to my players for their attitude and desire in the 2nd half but well done to Horndean for their first half performance which showed me that if they can keep that group of players together they will certainly be getting some silverware next season."
Next Games : Team Solent v Sholing - Thursday 7:45... then on Saturday, Alresford Town v Sholing 3pm
Photos by Ray Routledge (click an image to enlarge)