Highworth Town 1-1 Sholing
Scorers : Ashley Edenborough 46 (pen) / Brad Targett 61
Date: Saturday 18 December 2021, 3pm – Southern League South Division 1
Venue: Save on Tyres Stadium, The Elms
Highworth Town: Connor Johns, Oliver Case, Charlie McCrae, Daniel Comer ©, Leon Morrison, Joah Hall, Matthew Cheetham, Robert Dean, Ashley Edenborough (Rhys Wells 83), Felipe Barcelos, Toby Holland (Sean Wood 83). Unused subs : Liam Haines, Oliver Rejek & Harry Ayres.
Yellow Card: Leon Morrison & Robert Dean
Sholing: Ryan Gosney, Ryan Cluett, Marv Mclean, Owen Roundell, Josh Batt, Rob Nicholls, Claudio Herbert (Jake Hoole 73), Byron Mason ©, Dan Mason, Conor Whiteley (Stu Green 75), Brad Targett. Unused subs : Martin Buckland, Jack Smith, Luke Deacon
Yellow Card : Byron Mason
Referee: Lewis Sandoe Assistants: John Foster & Peter Doolan
Attendance: 183 (approx 20 Sholing fans)
Man of the Match : Byron Mason
Sholing extended the unbeaten run to 7 games, but had to make do with a point in a game where we created enough chances to have won. Brad Targett fired in a second half equaliser, but will probably be reflecting on a game where he could have scored a hat-trick on another day.
Team News : Dave Diaper was without Dan Miller, Sami Makhloufi, Jake Cope, Charlie Wagstaffe & Mitch Byrne. Joe Adams & Tomasz Gruzewski were at England Schoolboy trials. Josh Batt started alongside Byron in defence with Claudio coming in to initially start on the right of midfield. Highworth had lost their previous 3 games, but their home record is still the 4th best in the league & it's a notoriously hard place to get something for visiting teams.
The home side created the first opening down the right channel, but Josh Batt closed it down with a well timed challenge. Rob Nicholls then broke down the left for Sholing and put over an inviting cross that Dan Mason met with a back flicked header that went a yard wide. Brad broke through the middle and fed Conor, who tried a similar steered shot to his goal last Saturday, but this time it went wide of the far post. Targett's pace was causing the home side problems as he got beyond the defence, checked back, but his shot deflected straight to the keeper. Two minutes later and Brad should have put us in front as he sped clean through, but seemed to get caught in two minds about rounding the keeper or slotting the ball and in the end did neither as the ball bobbled away from him.
All the chances seemed to be falling to Brad and on 15 mins, Dan Mason layed it off nicely into his path, but his shot lacked power. A Highworth player tried a looping dipping shot from outside the area, that Gosney took no chances with as he comfortably pushed it over his bar as the game entered a more scrappy phase with neither side on top. Owen Roundell was on the receiving end of a late challenge that saw Rob Dean booked. Byron did well to block a shot when it looked like the home side were in, then he picked up a caution as the half came to an end. HT 0-0
Highworth were kicking down (and across) the significant side to side slope on the pitch and took the lead on 47 minutes. A Highworth player broke across the edge of the area and a clumsy challenge saw his ankle tapped with the Referee initially giving it outside the box, but his assistant said it was inside. Ashley Edenborough smacked the ball down the middle past Gos to open the scoring and get the home side's confidence up for a short spell where Gosney did well to save with his legs to stop Sholing falling further behind.
On 51 mins, the Boatmen thought we'd equalised when a scramble in the box saw Dan Mason fire goalwards from 8 yards, but Johns pulled off a great save to tip the effort round the post. Brad was then played into a good position, but took too long to get his shot off and it was blocked. Byron went up for a corner and saw his header pushed over the bar as Sholing probed for the equaliser, which came on 62 mins. Ryan Gosney's long kick downfield found BRAD TARGETT down the left channel to hold off a defender, cut in and smash a shot that crashed in at the near post via the underside of the crossbar for his 9th goal of the season.
Morrison then went in the book for clipping Brad as he turned him and then proceeded to argue abusively with the referee about it. We've seen red cards given to Sholing players for less than that this season. Dave Diaper waited until 15 mins to go to bring on Jake Hoole & Stu Green for Claudio & Conor as the Boatmen pushed hard for a late winner.
The best chance fell to Brad once again, who was getting in great positions, and this time the ball sat up a bit and he scuffed a shot that did beat the keeper, but was comfortable for the defender to hack clear near the line. On 89 minutes there was a flurry of chances, firstly a corner was cleared as far as Hoole who hit a fierce shot from the edge of the box through the crowd of players, but Johns again pulled off an impressive save. Then under pressure, he just got something on the ball as Dan went in to try to nod in at the far post. Sholing almost gifted the home side the win in added time when a loose back pass put in Barcelos, who beat Gosney with an angled effort, but also the far post. Boatmen had a couple of late corners, but couldn't fashion a chance as the game ended in a draw. FT 1-1
Thanks to those who travelled to support us today and we wish all our fans, volunteers, players, coaches & sponsors a Happy & safe Christmas.
Next Game (hopefully): Winchester City v Sholing - Southern League - Monday 27 December 3pm