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Title-chasing Whitchurch leave it late
Whitchurch United 2 Fleet Spurs 1.
AN INSPIRED substitution minutes into the second half transformed Whitchurch United’s match with Fleet Spurs tonight and put them second in the Wessex League Division One just a point behind leaders Cowes Sports.
It was Paul Coventry who turned the match as he latched on to a through ball to beat Ryan Bone with almost his first touch just before the hour then found Luke Walker with a defence splitting pass with ten minutes left and the skilful striker did the rest to give United the three points.
“We got away with that to be honest” was boss Jim Macey’s blunt assessment of the game afterwards, adding “We didn’t take our chances but I told them that at half-time if we scored we would go on and win it and we did just that.”
Few could have seen that outcome after a first half where the visitors took up where they left off a week earlier when they brushed aside Stockbridge with two goals from huge striker Sam Knowles. The same man almost gave his side the lead from the kick-off only for a last gasp block from Alex Pickering and when the equally vast Dave Richards had a goal disallowed for pushing Whitchurch knew they were in for a battle.
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abcchildcareservicescheshire.co.uk Walker wasted a clear chance when clean through soon after as the Jamboys showed signs of settling into the game and Isaac Sedu had a shot saved by Bone but on 25 minutes they were given a wake up call as a cross was not cleared and Chillery’s pass found Chris Musgrove who nodded in. It was a fact not lost on Macey who put seven day’s notice in for the player recently.
Sam Argent twice went close around the half hour mark and Ashley Childs also tested Bone but Macey was left with a job to do at the break.
Walker volleyed over from close range soon after the restart then a superb flowing move down the right ended with Walker again shooting wide but once Coventry was given a centre forward roving role the game changed.
His clinical finish under Bone gave his side the edge and alongside fellow substitute Nick Jupp and Pa Touray, who burst into life in the second half, the win was always on the cards.
To their credit Spurs had arrived to play football and they could have regained the lead with 15 minutes left when keeper Tom Hindmarsh was forced to bring down Chillery. To add to their frustration Knowles’ free-kick beat Hindmarsh but hit the bar and went safe.
It was the break Whitchurch were looking for as moments later Coventry’s precision pass found Walker who walked around Bone and rolled in the winner to spark joyous scenes. With Stockbridge due at Longmeadow on Saturday Whitchurch could go top of the table.
“We have given ourselves a real chance now but Stockbridge and everyone else will want to beat us and we have got to be right on our game” said Macey who gambled in leaving out Nick Jupp for Jordan Seward and put Ashley Childs on from the start. “I gambled on Ashley as he was carrying a knock and it was hard to tell Nick (Jupp) that he was on the bench but Jordan was outstanding again.”
Looking forward to Saturday’s game Macey said : “ We will have Ali Brown back and we will need to play better than that – Tadley would have beaten us on that showing tonight.”
The fixture confusion which threatens to make things awkward next week showed no signs of being resolved last night as Whitchurch have an Andover League Open Cup semi-final with Hampshire 2004 League Broughton scheduled for Tuesday, unbeknown to the league who rescheduled last Friday’s postponed game with Tadley for the day after.