Sholing 1-0 Evesham United
Scorers : Conor Whiteley 62
Date: Saturday 27th November 2021, 3pm – Southern League South Division 1
Venue: Mackoy Stadium
Sholing: Ryan Gosney, Ryan Cluett, Marv McLean, Owen Roundell, Dan Miller, Rob Nicholls, Brad Targett, Byron Mason ©, Dan Mason, Conor Whiteley (Stu Green 76), Jake Hoole (Claudio Herbert 60). Unused subs : Sami Makhloufi, Josh Batt, Joe Adams
Evesham United: Lewis Clayton, Jordan Lymn, Adam Mace (Charles Johnson 76), Kyle Belmonte (Jack Horrell 86), Ryan Paddock, Jordan Staten, Brandon Smalley, Calvin Dinsley ©, Michael Symons, Callum Ebanks, Toumani Sidibe (Thomas Chamberlain 72). Unused sub : Joseph Hunt
Yellow Card :
Referee: Tim Godfray Assistants: Rado Illev & Kai Morgan
Man of the Match selected by Mike Simmons : Conor Whiteley
Sholing dug in for a hard fought win in a gale force wind, that keeps the Boatmen hot on the heels of the league leaders. The only goal came in the second half when Conor Whiteley drilled in a low shot and another strong defensive performance kept a battling Evesham at bay to secure the 3 points.
Team News : Dave Diaper was still without Jake Cope, Mitch Byrne & Charlie Wagstaffe through injury, but welcomed back Dan Miller from injury and Claudio Herbert from suspension. Miller lined up alongside Byron at the back, with Roundell & Nicholls continuing their impressive central midfield partnership, with Hoole on the left and Targett on the right as Whiteley joined up with Dan Mason in attack. Evesham's results had improved after a change of manager 3 weeks ago and they also had a couple of new players added to their squad in the past week.
Storm Arwen might not have been as strong down here as elsewhere in the country, but the exposed Mackoy Stadium was still the victim of some minor wind damage overnight and there were gusts of 50mph straight down the length of the pitch throughout the whole match. The wind also brought a blast of artic air with it, to make it very challenging conditions for players and spectators alike.
The first shot of the game came on 7 minutes when the ball sat up for Dan Mason to try a volley from the edge of the area that went narrowly over. The wind was at Sholing's backs, as from a change from normal, we kicked towards the clubhouse in the first half, but it wasn't proving to be an advantage as any normally weighted pass was being blown out of touch or picked up speed to be claimed by the Evesham keeper.
Evesham created a decent chance on 11 mins when after an exchange of passes in the right channel, it opened up for a shot that was swept just wide of the far post. Sholing were trying to keep the ball down and knock it around and from a good move on 20 mins, Dan Mason made space on the left side of the box and looked to pick out the arriving Brad Targett, but some good defending saw the ball cut out and put behind. From the corner, D-Dan's back header looked on target, but it hit the back of Conor Whiteley and was cleared.
When Conor Whiteley lined up to shoot from a freekick almost 40 yards out, on any other day, it would look very optimistic, but the wind certainly helped him as he shot dipped late and Lewis Clayton did very well to tip it onto the crossbar. Sidibe looked lively for the visitors, shooting just wide and he even tested Marv a few times for pace. HT 0-0
Kicking into the wind and Sholing were finding their passes better and almost scored on 51 mins when the ball fell to Conor just outside the area and he spotted the keeper was out of position and tried to steer a sidefoot shot into the far corner, but it went narrowly wide. Jake Hoole made way for Claudio on the hour mark and the next two minutes were to be crucial for the outcome of the game. Following an Evesham corner, it opened up in the middle of the box for a visiting player to fire in a goalbound shot that was superbly beaten away by Gosney. A minute later and Sholing were in front as Brad Targett released CONOR WHITELEY into the Evesham half, he ran with the ball to the edge of the area, cut across and drilled a low shot past the keeper from 18 yards.
Conor almost doubled his account a few minutes later as he again connected well with a shot that cannoned back off the crossbar. Evesham were having plenty of possession and pressure, forcing a number of freekicks and corners, but the Boatmen defence held firm and continued our record this season of not conceding a goal from a corner kick.
Playing on the counter-attack saw Brad Targett released in a similar fashion as for our earlier goal and it looked like he would make the game safe as he lifted a lovely chip over the advancing keeper, but it agonisingly hit the inside of the post and stayed out. With the obligatory 5 mins of stoppage time added, Evesham piled forward and came close to grabbing an equaliser when a spinning shot was shovelled round the post by Gosney and another corner cleared and greeted by the final whistle.
That's 4 wins on the trot and only 1 goal conceded in Sholing's last 5 games as we stay second in the league, conceding just 10 goals this season in 15 games, the best in the division. It's also our 4th game without a booking, which must be a club record !
Credit to both teams for trying to play football in terrible conditions and many thanks to everyone who came out to watch, including the few vocal Eastleigh fans. FT 1-0
Next Game : Plymouth Parkway v Sholing - Southern League - Saturday 4 December 3pm
Photos courtesy of HR Media & EspieJaz (swipe to view pics)