Sholing1 0Blackfield

Scorers : Dan Mason 62

Date : Thursday 28th April 2016 - 7:45pm - Sydenhams Wessex Premier

Sholing : Ryan Gosney, Alex Sawyer, Marv McLean, Pete Castle, Owen Roundell, Jamie Bulpitt, Barry Mason (Kieran Winman 70), Byron Mason [c], Dan Mason (Nick Yeomans 81), Zach Glasspool (Dean Faithfull 86), Lee Wort. Subs not used: Kevin Brewster, Liam Attrill

Yellow Card :  Lee Wort

Blackfield & Langley : Lloyd Thomas, Matt Page, Josh Buck (Dave Allen 73), Joe Byrne, Sam Poole [c], Liam Green, Liam Robinson, Manny Soetan, Rico Wilson, Emil Salama (Mike Owdey 90) Carl Preston. Subs not used: James Ford, Sam Lanahan

Yellow Card : Emil Salama

Attendance : 126

Man of the Match : Ryan Gosney

Referee : Stephen Graham  Assistants: Lee Nowacki & Mark Catterall

SHOLING seized the chance to leapfrog Blackfield & Langley, claiming a hard fought victory to climb to second place for the first time in 224 days. A Dan Mason wondergoal was enough the separate the sides and secure back to back 1-0 wins, and seventh consecutive victory overall.

The sides only met a month ago, but a draw in the reverse ignited Sholing’s pursuit of second place and after claiming 24 of a possible 27 points, they have now moved above Blackfield & Langley.  With two games to play, Blackfield are still in the box seat for the runners up spot, but the pressure is now on them not to slip up.

If the script was already written for this pivotal clash then Sholing certainly followed it too the letter. At the soon-to-be renamed Silverlake Arena, the hosts have won 24 of their fixtures and have only conceded four goals since the turn of the year.

Before kick-off Dan Mason and Jamie Bulpitt were presented with Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year respectively, however neither showed their potential in a dour first half. Ryan Gosney had to be aware of Rico Wilson to usher away an early threat but both side struggled to create chances.

When a chance did come it was a golden one. With 20 minutes gone former Eastleigh midfielder, Liam Robinson, was played through with a defence splitting pass. After composedly rounding Ryan Gosney the number 7 then inexplicably knocked his shot off of the near post and it rolled across goal and was cleared.  Ten minutes later Emil Salama’s free kick reached the far post, however it was poked wide by skipper, Sam Poole.

Sholing’s first opportunity came shortly after the half hour mark as - following a fluid spell of play - Lee Wort found space to deliver a low cross, however Dan Mason couldn't apply the finishing touch.

The Watersiders Sam Poole then had a second header, but fellow centre back Joe Byrne could only flick the knock down over the bar. The closest Daipes side came to even testing the goalkeeper was a late Lee Wort effort. The striker fashioned a half-chance on the edge of the box but couldn't whip the ball enough to trouble Lloyd Thomas. HT 0-0

Indeed the first time Thomas was called into action was to collect Joe Byrne’s calm backwards header, as Blackfield & Langley continued to look the better side in the early exchanges of the second half. Liam Robinson, looking to make amends for his earlier miss, scuffed a half volley as his side pressed.

When Zach Glasspool and Lee Wort were sent through with successive long-balls, Thomas was quick to the danger on both occasions. Rico Wilson, also found himself with a chance, although the big striker failed to get the ball out of his feet and a combination of Alex Sawyer and Jamie Bulpitt were able to scramble the ball to safety amid shouts for handball. The resulting corner was stabbed wide, once again by Poole, with the defender proving the be the visitors most likely source for a goal.

The game was crying out for a moment of individual quality and on 62 minutes it got exactly that... and it came as no surprise that it was to be from Player of the Season & Leading scorer, DAN MASON. A long ball was collected by Mason 22 yards out. In one slick movement, he feinted, cut inside and hammered a right footed shot into the top corner in trademark fashion.

Moments later the floodgates opened - on and off the pitch - as the rain poured, Wort was able to steal in front of his defender and force the goalkeeper into spilling the ball. Dan Mason almost doubled his tally, but even in failing to apply a finished touch, Thomas also missed the ball only for Matt Page to clear it from slowly rolling over the line.

Jamie Bulpitt whipped in a perfect low cross, but once again Lee Wort didn't gamble on the ball reaching the far post.

As the Watersiders looked for a way back into the tie - with a draw being enough to stay above their hosts - Wilson once again sent a header over Gosney and onto the roof of the net. Substitute, Dave Allen, volleyed softly at the ‘keeper from 30 yards and Wilson was again afforded a free header but failed to hit the target.

The last action saw Wort sent through again, this time Thomas failed to race off of his line and with the forward bearing down on goal it looked as though the contest would be settled. Unfortunately the striker, who previously won the golden boot in 2014, miscued his shot and dragged it horribly wide.

Fortunately, Sholing have a ready-made replacement in this seasons hot property, Dan Mason, who once again proved decisive. FT 1-0

Photos by Ray Routledge (click an image to enlarge)