Bemerton Heath Harlequins 0-1 Sholing

Scorers : Stu Green 55

Date: Saturday 12 September 2020 - 3pm - Emirates FA Cup Preliminary Round

Venue: Moon Park

Bemerton Heath Harlequins: Patrick Creese, Charlie Rayfield, Eddie Perrett, George Bennett, Jack Smith ©, Jack Vallis, Danny Young, Charlie Burden, Greg Peel, Justin Bennett, Arshia Sheibatzadeh.  Subs : George Plank, Sean Wain, Brandon Mundy, Stefan Williams, Ollie Davies, Danny Finnigan, Scott Hassell

Red Card : George Bennett
Yellow Card : Justin Bennett

Sholing: Ryan Gosney, TJ Cuthbertson, Marv McLean, PJ McLean, Dan Miller, Owen Roundell, Claudio Herbert, Byron Mason ©, Dan Mason, Stu Green, Brad Targett (Nick Watts 64).  Unused subs : Luke Deacon, Joe Smith, Charlie Wagstaffe, Jamie Bulpitt, Aidan Radford & Rafa Ramos

Yellow Card : Claudio Herbert

Referee: Ben Duffill  Assistants: Adrian Berry & Andrew Brown

Man of the Match: Marv McLean

Attendance: 101 (approx 40 Sholing fans)

Sholing dug out the win to advance in the FA Cup thanks to Stu Green's 55th minute goal.  It was the best move of the match in a game where both sides cancelled each other out in the first half, but the Boatmen looked more like their usual selves once we took the lead. The game also saw a nasty accidental head injury and a late red card as Sholing pocketed a much needed £1,444 prize fund and can now look forward to Monday's First Qualifying round draw.

Team News : Dan Mason passed a late fitness test and Dan Miller also return from injury. He partnered PJ McLean in defence, allowing Byron to go back into centre midfield where he was joined by Owen Roundell.  Missing out through injury were Barry Mason & Alex Sawyer.  On paper a step 4 side against a step 6 would see Sholing as clear favourites, but a look at the Bemerton line-up revealed a squad with lots of Southern League experience, several former Salisbury players, a recent AFC Totton captain and up front, they had the all time Gosport Borough record goalscorer, Justin Bennett.

On a lovely sunny day on a decent pitch, it was an even opening to the match with only a comfortable save for Gosney as a noteworthy effort in the first 15 mins.  Sholing were forcing several freekicks and corners, but wasting the opportunities against a well drilled Bemerton defence. From a Green corner, Dan Mason had a free header, but was challenged by his own brother for the ball and nodded well over.  That typified a frustrating first half for the Boatmen.

After Herbert was brought down from behind and saw not even a talking to by the ref to the Bemerton player, Claudio Herbert can feel aggrieved that a similar foul by himself a minute later saw him receive a yellow card.   Sholing probably got away with one just before half time.  A shot from just inside the box appeared to deflect off the hands of Marv McLean, who raised them to protect his face.  Bemerton screamed for a penalty but both officials pointed for a corner instead, which after a scramble, was hacked clear.  HT 0-0

From a corner after the restart, Bemerton had a good chance, but Vallis headed just over at the far post.  On 55 minutes, Sholing finally found some rhythm in their passing and took the lead with a well worked goal.  Marv Mclean floated an excellent pass over the Bemerton defence to find Dan Mason in the middle of the box, who first time chested it into the path of STU GREEN to knock it past the advancing keeper.

Immediately, the Boatmen looked a different side, with much improved passing and movement and should have doubled their lead on the hour mark. After some quick interplay, Brad Targett was released down the right to cut in and shoot, with the keeper palming the ball to the arriving Claudio Herbert, but his first time volley towards a gaping goal, saw the ball smack the underside of the bar and somehow come out.

Nick Watts replaced Targett on 64 minutes to make his first appearance for Sholing since 2015.  From a corner on 67 minutes, a scramble in the Bemerton 6 yard box saw PJ hammer an effort that was blocked near the line.  A minute later the game was halted after a worrying injury to Charlie Burden.  He went up for a header with Roundell and appeared to knock his head against Owen's shoulder and you could immediately tell by the way he landed he was unconcious.  Thankfully the quick response of our physios, Charlie Kirby and Joel Whitfield to assist him & the Bemerton staff, saw the lad kept still and calm before being stretchered off.  Burden was taken to hospital with concussion, but the latest news is he's ok and we wish him well for a speedy recovery.

The game restarted, but Sholing lost the momentum they had built and Bemerton created their best chance of the match and it fell to a player you thought would gobble it up. Justin Bennett found himself in the middle of the box with a clear chance to shoot, but delayed and was closed down by Sholing.   It must have been catching for usually lethal strikers, as soon after, Dan Mason found himself in a similar position and he too opted against a first time shot.

On 82 mins, Bemerton were reduced to 10 men. Stu Green raced with George Bennett to a clearance out of the Sholing area, with Greener just getting there first and being hacked down by a high challenge by Bennett.  Everyone was expecting a yellow card, but the referee pulled out a red, with it later being confirmed that some verbals by Bennett had escalated his punishment.

With a man advantage, the Boatmen stayed in control for the remainder of the game and were again denied by the woodwork. After Marv Mclean had turned a Bemerton player inside and out and given him twisted blood, he set the ball to Claudio Herbert who hit a 20 yard curling right foot effort that thudded off the crossbar.  There was also time for Nick Watts to fire a low angled shot that the keeper saved.  Despite a 5 minute stoppage in play for the bad injury, the referee only played 3 minutes of added time to further annoy the home team bench where former Boatmen keeper coach, Jamie Cotton is soon to take over as manager from Sus Saunders.

For Sholing, it was job done and a banana-skin avoided in a game that was always going to be much tougher than it may have looked to a neutral.  Another clean-sheet and a strong defensive performance, although still some work to be done on set pieces and our forward play ahead of us starting our league campaign next Saturday.  FT 0-1

Good luck to Bemerton Heath for the season.  Many thanks to the Sholing fans who backed us in good numbers.

Next Game : Evesham United v Sholing - Southern League South Div 1 - Saturday 19 Sept 3pm

Many thanks to Ray Routledge for the excellent match photos (click an image to enlarge)