Date: Saturday 22nd February 2020 - 3:00pm - Betvictor Southern League South Division One
Venue: Mackoy Stadium
Sholing: Ryan Gosney, TJ Cuthbertson, Marvin Mclean, Owen Roundell, Dan Miller, James Lauder (Owen Royl 72), Bradley Targett, Bryon Mason ©, Stu Green, Dan Mason, Jake Hoole (Jack Nicholas 83). Unused Subs: Tobi Falodi & Joe Smith
Yellow Cards: Owen Roundell, Dan Miller
Frome Town: James Carey, Mark Cooper, Martin Leniham (Kane Simpson 65), Samuel Teale ©, Marcus Mapstone, Joseph O’ Loughlin, Christopher Peck (Alex Monks 53), Robert Hobbs, Matthew Smith, Rex Mannings, Jonathan Davis. Unused Subs: Warren Maidment, Daniel Cottle & Rory Gorman
Yellow Cards: Christopher Peck, Kane Simpson
Dansach Man of the Match: Marv McLean
Referee: Tom Moisey Assistants: Michael Ballard & Lewis Ward
In the 23rd league game of the season, Sholing registered their first draw, after a goal-less stalemate with top-of-the-table Frome Town. A point was the least the Boatmen deserved in an excellent defensive performance in which they also threatened the away goal on multiple occasions, but couldn't convert the chances created.
Team News : Dan Miller returned to the starting line-up to partner Byron in defence with Owen Roundell pushed into midfield. Lee Wort was away on holiday and Jamie Bulpitt was watching on from the sidelines as his niggling injury still needs to be rested. Elsewhere, Alex Sawyer has dual-signed with Lymington Town for the remainder of the season.
With groundstaff unable to work on a pitch that was too soft all week to get a roller or a cutter on, it meant the surface wasn't the best, but at this level with little money available, it was the harsh reality of the dealing with freakish weather. At least the game was able to go ahead. It was Frome that had the first shot in scrappy start to proceedings. Winger Matthew Smith found space to fire over the crossbar, with the only danger being the ball hitting the roof of the new clubhouse in the seventh minute.
Sholing quickly got themselves going, looking calmer in possession and moved the ball faster than their opponents, which allowed them to have a flurry of opportunity around the fifteenth minute. Their first chance was the best as TJ Cuthbertson played a low switched pass into the feet of Dan Mason, who spun and shot, but tamely into the gloves of the keeper.
The sixteenth minute saw Stuart Green collect a long ball on the edge of the penalty area, before showing great feet and skill to delicately lift the ball over a defenders head. However, the midfielder’s volleyed effort from an angle presented an easy catch for the Frome keeper. It didn’t seem to stop Sholing from pushing forward as both Jake Hoole and Daniel Mason fired over the bar in successive half chances just before the half hour.
After Christopher Peck was booked for a late tackle on Jake Hoole and this free-kick was arguably wasted, it became apparent that Frome were content to be a threat on the counter attack with Jonathan Davis looking their most dangerous player down the left. The winger firstly saw a shot blocked after jinxing forward, before setting up Robert Hobbs to poke well wide with their best opportunity of the first half. Up the other end and Brad Targett hit a well struck curling effort from just outside the area, but was another comfortable save for the keeper. The first half had lacked goalmouth action, but Sholing looked the better side. HT 0-0
In the 54th minute, Marv McLean cut in from the left wing and was brought down as he sped into the box. There were calls for a penalty, but the referee said the foul had occurred inches outside the area. Stu Green whipped in the freekick towards the near post where it was met by Dan Mason, who probably had more space & time than he was expecting and he nodded the ball narrowly past the upright.
Although Sholing were dominating the half chances by seeing Bradley Targett fire wide and Stuart Green having an effort blocked, it was Frome who had a decent shot on target on 62 mins. Jonathon Davis advanced down the wing before cutting inside and sending an effort towards goal. However, Ryan Gosney showed quick reflexes and a strong left hand to stop the ball, before it was smothered away from danger by resolute home defending.
Substitutions and a series of stoppages made the final twenty minutes a bit stop-start, with the referee deciding to book three players in just five minutes. Both Owen Roundell and Dan Miller were cautioned, as was Kane Simpson for the visitors just minutes after coming off the bench. Frome were coming up against a brick wall of the Sholing back line, with Byron Mason especially, seemingly winning every challenge in the air and on the ground.
The game did look set for a draw, although there was the nagging feeling for home fans that league leaders, Frome, might do a smash & grab late winner, but it was Sholing who almost got it. The Frome keeper, Carey, decided to try dribbling inside his area in the 89th minute, getting closed down quickly by Dan Mason and scuffing a clearance, that almost fell for Green, but ended up luckily sticking under the keeper's body.
That was somewhat typical of Sholing's luck, with a number of good build ups that just needed a better final ball or cross. However, a point against the Champions' elect, can't be sniffed at and the visitors certainly seemed happy to come away from a very tough match with something. It was also Sholing's 4th clean-sheet in a row in the league as they head into the local derby at Totton on Tuesday. FT 0-0
Report by Connor Steel
Thanks to our fans for their support yesterday. Always tough on us when both Saints & Eastleigh are at home at the same time as it does impact both our attendances as well as availability of volunteers.
Next Game : AFC Totton v Sholing - Tuesday 7:45pm - Southern League
Next Home Game : Sholing v Melksham Town - Saturday 3pm - Southern League