Wiltshire Publications

Off-colour united fall at first hurdle

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Sat. 10th August. FA Cup Extra Prelim Westbury United 0 Fareham Town 1.

Two strong sides from the Western and Wessex Premier Divisions fought out a tough encounter in gusty conditions at Meadow Lane. Too many home players had off days and the visitors took advantage in the 2nd half.

While United came into the match on the back of two wins in the league, Town were also full of confidence after picking up 4 points in their opening fixtures.

The teams did well to keep the ball moving in such blustery weather and there were several lovely moves both ways. Early on Ryan Bole, Jason Henley and Steve Hulbert combined to set up Dan Kovacs who got in behind the visiting defence before being clattered by the advancing Ross Casey, the keeper received a yellow card.

Scott Hamilton and Simon Woods were a constant threat to the hosts and when they linked up on 17 minutes Ed Baldy did well to hold Woods’ 20 yarder.

Fareham’s best player was attacking left back Will Harris and he showed his intentions with a flying 35 yard shot that crashed off the post midway through the half. 

Henley tried his luck from a direct free kick but his effort was blocked.

Curt Robbins and Woods were both off target after being allowed openings due to sloppy midfield play by Westbury. Dan Jordan and Dan Price also played their part in keeping the score goalless with good blocks inside the box.

One of these blocks led to a counter attack during which Kovacs, Joe Stradling and Ollie Webb were all involved before the ball fell to Steve Hulbert inside the penalty area, but with just Casey to beat, he found the keeper in top form.

Another brilliant move by Webb and Steve Hulbert led to Henley receiving the ball out wide from where he fizzed in a cross which Sam Jordan stretched to reach, only for his finish to hit a post!

There was nearly a goal at both ends just before the break; firstly Baldy parried Archie Wilcox’s 25 yard attempt, then Sam Jordan excellently muscled his way past several markers before making Casey save again.

Play was even again after the break, but without so many chances.

Nerves seemed to get the better of some home players and, after Casey had saved from substitute Mark Robinson, Town got on top and it took more fine work by Price, as well as poor finishing by Robbins and Hamilton, to keep the score at 0-0.

It seemed like a goal was coming for Fareham and this proved correct when the impressive Harris arrived on the end of a passing move (which was aided by rather static United defending) and finished well on 71.

With nothing to lose Price was pushed up front. Ricky Hulbert had a header blocked and Price headed over but, with gaps understandably occurring, Fareham almost made it 0-2 through Ash Tattershall.

There was almost a rousing finale when Robinson came within millimetres of forcing a replay, but his fierce strike from long range crashed off the post.

TEAM; Ed Baldy, Jason Henley, Ryan Bole, Steve Hulbert, Dan Price, Dan Jordan, Jordan Pinder, Ollie Webb, Sam Jordan, Dan Kovacs, Joe Stradling . SUBS; Ricky Hulbert, Mark Robinson, Joe Kirkpatrick (used) Zayn Alime, Lewis Porter (unused).

See the photo of Sam Jordan attacking the Fareham Town defence on the back page.