Portchester1 0Sholing

Scorers :  Alex Baldacchino 75

Date : Saturday 8th August 2015 - 3:00pm kick off - Sydenhams Wessex Premier Division

AFC Portchester : Lloyd Thomas, Rob Evans, Gary Moody, Shaun Thurgood (Miles Everett), Josh Warden, Craig Hardy [c], Louis Castles (Jack Eves 72), Ash Howes, Jason Parish (Luke Sweeney 20), Alex Baldacchino, Joe Noakes.  Subs not used: Simon Stone, Max Whittingham

Yellow Card : Rob Evans, Ash Howes

Sholing : Ryan Gosney, Dean Faithfull, James Davis, Pete Castle, Dan Miller, Jack Smith, Barry Mason (Tobi Adekunle 79), Alex Sawyer (Lewis Kelly 79), Dan Mason, Byron Mason [c], Marvin McLean.  Subs not used: Kev Brewster, Jack Shiner, Owen Roundell

Yellow Card :   Pete Castle, Byron Mason

Attendance : 178 (approx 30 Sholing fans)

Man of the Match : Dan Miller

Referee : Mike Desborough  Assistant Referees: David Partner & Paul Hicks

Sholing were undone by a former player, as Alex Baldacchino bundled in a goal with 15 minutes to go.  A draw was probably a fair result, but the Boatmen were made to pay for a failure to work the keeper when chances were created under a baking hot sun.

Team News:  New boys, Dean Faithfull & James Davis made their competitive debuts for the Boatmen and slotted in as the two full backs in front of other new boy, Ryan Gosney in goal.  With Dave Diaper on holiday, Stu Hussey was in charge and went with Dan Mason up front, with brother, Byron playing a number 10 role. 

The Portchester pitched looked excellent under the fierce sunshine as the season got underway. Sholing started very brightly and inside the first minute, Marv McLean was played into space just inside the left corner of the penalty area, but his shot rippled the side netting.  There was almost a carbon copy passage of play, 4 minutes later and once again, the side netting was thumped by Marv. The home side slowly worked their way into the game and on 21 minutes, Ryan Gosney did well to dive low to his right to pull off a good save.   The Boatmen were struggling to put their passes together, allowing Portchester to break up play in midfield and try to exploit space on the right wing.   Gosney had to punch a couple of testing crosses clear as the Boatmen defence saw most of the action.  From a breakaway, Dan Mason did well to pull the ball back to the onrushing Jack Smith, but he didn't connect cleanly and his effort bobbled wide.

The nearest to a goal, came on the half hour when a soft freekick was awarded 25 yards out from the Sholing goal and the Portchester player curled his effort round the wall and it hit the base of the post, before being cleared.   This was greated by the Tannoy suddenly springing into life with a quite dreadful boy-band song being played to the bemusement of everyone in the ground.    The Boatmen's best move of the half saw Dean Faithfull get forward done the right wing and put over a good cross that was met by the head of Dan Mason, but the keeper sprung to his right to pluck the goalbound effort out of the air.    Sholing probably should have had a penalty a few minutes later when Dan Mason got goalside of his marker, who then went through him to hook the ball clear.  He got the ball, but he took the man first to do so (see photo in gallery below).  Sholing's muted appeals were met with a blank face by the Referee.   HT 0-0

The heat seemed to be turned up another notch as the second half got underway.  Sholing were first on the attack, with Alex Sawyer, dinking a pass into Dan Mason, who connected well on the volley, but it was straight down the keeper's throat.   Boatmen were starting to show some control of midfield, but the goalmouth action was lacking.  On 68 minutes, a corner by Barry Mason dropped to Jack Smith 10 yards out, his shot was blocked near the line with some of the Boatmen players appealing for handball, but not given.

Sholing were on top and once again, Dan Mason tried his luck with a volley on the half-turn, he got a lot of power into this shot, but not the direction and it sailed over the bar.  Portchester's defence seemed to be tiring the most in the heat and you wondered if the game was about to take a significant turn... and it was, but not for Sholing.  The Boatmen lost the ball in midfield and Portchester broke forward, which ended with a weak shot taking a deflection, wrong footing Gosney and slowly hitting the right hand upright.  Alex Baldacchino was quickest off the mark and he bundled in the rebound.  Up to that point, he was a virtual spectator in the game, but I guess if anyone was going to score, it would be an ex-Sholing player. 

Tobi Adekunle & Lewis Kelly came on to replace Barry Mason & Alex Sawyer.  Lewis Kelly had a great chance when the ball fell to his feet on the edge of the box, but he went for power and over the bar it went.  Sholing forced a succession of corners, but some poor delivery summed up the frustration for Boatmen players & supporters alike as Portchester were able to run down the clock to start their season with a win.   FT 1-0

Photos by Ray Routledge (click an image to enlarge)