Scorers : Byron Mason 16, Lee Wort 29
Date: Saturday 21st April 2018 3pm - Sydenhams Wessex Premier Division
Venue: Universal Stadium
Sholing: Ryan Gosney, TJ Cuthbertson, Marvin Mclean, Pete Castle, Dan Miller, Jamie Bulpitt (Owen Roundell 77), Alex Sawyer, Byron Mason [c] (Frazer McLean 66), Dan Mason, Lee Wort, Jake Hoole. Unused Subs: Kevin Brewster, Marlon Mason & Harry Butler
Yellow Cards: TJ Cuthbertson & Lee Wort
Andover Town: Luke Cairney, Joe Chamberlain (Aaron Nesbeth 68), Liam Hibberd, Ben Cook, Adam Costello, Luke Dempsey, Reece Rusher, Michael Hubbard (McAulie Stubbs 71), Zack Glasspool, Manny Soetan, Mike Gosney. Unused Subs: Connor Cocklin, Brendan Holmes & Kieran McHardy
Referee: Derek Pratt Assistant Referees: Catalin Tanase & Des McCulloch
Man of the Match: TJ Cuthbertson
Sholing secured 3rd place in the Wessex Premier with another good energetic performance, that belayed the fact it was the team's 7th game in 15 days. First half goals by Byron Mason & Lee Wort did the damage against the current league leaders, who struggled to create much against a strong Boatmen defence.
Team News: Jake Hoole returned following his 3 match suspension but Owen Royl missed out with shin splints. There was a welcome return for Marv McLean & Pete Castle as Jack Smith & Owen Roundell were rotated out of the starting line-up. Dave Diaper changed his formation for the visit of the league's leading scorers, reverting to a back 4 with TJ & Marv back in their more familiar full-back positions.
Already promoted Andover, had three ex-boatmen in their team, Luke Dempsey, Zach Glasspool and Micky Hubbard. It was "Hubsey's" last ever game, with the much travelled and popular midfielder deciding to hang up his boots after a career that contained many highlights with Poole Town, Hamworthy, Winchester and two cup wins with Sholing last season. Club wish Micky all the best for the future.
The game started quite slowly in the hazy sunshine, with Jake Hoole firing high and wide in the 8th minute. This was quickly followed by a chance in the 11th minute from the away side, when Manny Soetan beat two defenders with fine trickery but his shot was straight at Ryan Gosney.
Andover were having a lot of the ball, but not doing much with it as Sholing began to grow into the game and took the lead on 16 minutes. TJ Cuthbertson collected the ball outside the right corner of the box and stood up an inviting cross to the far post where BYRON MASON towered above the Andover defence to nod downward into the bottom corner.
The visitors looked a bit edgy and that was typified by a wayward backpass by Dempsey that almost caught out the keeper, but went a yard wide, earning Sholing a corner that they should have scored from. Sawyer's corner flashed across the 6 yard box where Dan Miller didn't get a clean connection as it spun off his forehead and wide.
Boatmen doubled their lead on 29 minutes thanks to some quick thinking and good movement. A freekick 35 yards, saw Alex Sawyer slide a pass down the side of a sleeping Andover defence. LEE WORT let the ball run across him and calmly rolled his right foot shot back past the keeper and it gently found the net.
Sholing were playing full of confidence and the hold up play by Dan Mason & Lee Wort and the breaks from midfield by Hoole, Sawyer & Bulpitt were causing Andover all sorts of problems. Sawyer broke into the box, but the ball wouldn't sit down for him, meaning his rushed shot went into the side netting. Bulpitt was next to have a shot that went just wide. The biggest danger to Sholing players were their own teammates, as TJ hit a full blooded clearance straight into Jake Hoole's most tender area. Unsurprisingly, Jake took a few moments to recover. HT 2-0
No doubt after getting a rocket at half time, Andover created two chances in the first five minutes of the second half. Firstly a 25-yard free kick by Mike Gosney was fired goalwards, but Ryan Gosney scampered across his line to save and gather. Then a shot by Reece Rusher was well blocked by a quick reacting Sholing defence.
Sholing then hit back with three shots forcing great saves from Luke Cairney. Firstly Lee Wort and TJ Cuthbertson hit shots that were well saved by the goalkeeper low down to his left post. Alex Sawyer was denied twice first when his corner (identical to his goal at Team Solent) was headed off the line at the back post. Then his shot from the edge of the box seemed to be flying into the top corner until the fingertips of Cairney stopped it from being 3-0 to the home side in the 56th minute.
The game then hit a lull whilst Andover huffed in attempt to get a foothold back, but Sholing’s strong and resolute defending blocked and cleared nearly everything that came their way. The best chance for the visitors fell to the usually lethal, Zach Glasspool, so it was a bit of a shock when with only Gosney to beat, he poked his effort wide.
On 84 mins the ball pinged around the Andover box, with Dan Mason's effort looking like it would be knocked in at the far post by Pete Castle, but the ball took a bobble to bounce over his outstretched leg. D-Dan almost grabbed a goal in the last knockings of the game as his first time effort from a cross, was well saved by the feet of Cairney. For Andover, their last league game of the season was a bit of a damp squid as they now must wait to see if Blackfield pip them for the title. For Sholing, it was another good performance as we finish the season strongly, with two more home games to come before the lads can at last get some much deserved rest. FT 2-0
Good luck to Andover in the Southern League next season.
Next Games : - Sholing v Portland Utd (Monday 8pm) - Sholing v Cowes Sports (Wednesday 8pm)