Jam Boys proud at top of the Wessex League

Ryan Lambert, right, with manager Carl Bennett, has started the season on fine form

Ryan Lambert, right, with manager Carl Bennett, has started the season on fine form

First published in Sport

Whitchurch United sit proudly top of the Wessex League for probably the first time in their history as they continued their fine start to the campaign with a straight forward win at Totton and Eling on Tuesday night.

It was the third game in a week which began last Tuesday with a fine victory over Bemerton Heath Harlequins at Longmeadow.

The Jamboys made a fine start and Tom Lockyer, Josh Green and man of the match Jack Garner from the penalty spot made it 3-0 with three strikes inside ten minutes.

A Shaun Prentice goal in the second half did little to dent the victory in a game which boss Carl Bennett said: “We controlled and looked good.”

On Saturday at home to fancied Blackfield and Langley who had beaten Andover Town on the first day, Whitchurch were caught early as Blackfield took the lead from a David Ewen penalty.

Jack Garner’s volley was kept out by Gareth Barfoot only for Danny Phillips to knock home the loose ball to level but straight from the kick-off Jake Rowley put his side back in front.

In what was an end to end game Phillips got behind the back four to make it 2-2 before the break in what Bennett described as ‘a very even game’.

After the break Ryan Lambert was involved in a build up before his cross was met by a thundering volley from Phillips which was kept out by Barfoot only for Lambert to make it 3-2 to the delight of the home support.

With 15 minutes left substitute Jamie Mansell set up Garner who missed from close range which proved costly as visiting sub Michael Durdey netted from the penalty spot with seven minutes to go to give his side a share of the points.

Bennett added: “It was a good performance against one of the favourites but we have got to take our chances to kill teams off.”

On Tuesday Whitchurch were at Totton and Eling for their third game of the week and according to Bennett ‘should have had double figures.’ He added: “Meaning no disrespect to Totton and Eling but we missed a hatful in what was a strange game.

‘We were the superior side and my decision to start Ben Thomson against his old side happily paid off.”

Thomson put the Jamboys ahead on 20 minutes then Adam Pearson hit the bar with a header and it should have been 5-0 at the break as chances were squandered.

“We had too much time and lost our shape as we changed our game plan” admitted Bennett who was forced to watch his side struggle after the break. Totton equalised from a disputed free-kick which took away the clean sheet Bennett had been looking for and could have crumbled but instead upped their work rate and got on top again.

Ryan Lambert’s cross found Mitch Fear who made it 2-1 with a fine effort then Jack McCarthy clinched the points with a third.

Jamie Mansell and Tom Lockyer were both denied by the keeper as United went for more but it mattered little as with Blackfield and Langley only winning 1-0 at home to Alresford Town, they sit on top of the table by two goals.

Bennett added: “We have the same targets as we did at the start which were to stay in the division and look at a mid table position. They are a great group and the dressing room atmosphere is the best I have known.

‘They are gelling already and the morale is superb.”

Tomorrow Whitchurch are in FA Cup action as they once again take on Bristol-based Western League side Hallen at Longmeadow.

The sides met three times in Cup and Vase last season with United faling to get past them but Bennett is all too aware that a Cup run could swell the coffers as well as keep the momentum going.

If it ends all square the replay is in Bristol on Tuesday but should there be a result then United will be home to Division One champions Petersfield Town on their new midweek day of Wednesday next.

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