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Sholing win nine-goal thriller
7:00am Wednesday 30th October 2013 in Sport
Hards was in charge for his first match since replacing Graham Kemp at the City helm and it looked to be the return from hell as a Nick Watts brace and goals from Byron Mason, Barry Mason, and Lee Wort gave the Boatmen a 5-0 lead.
But Hards’ team were transformed in the second half as they ignited into action with goals from Chris Mason, Leigh Mills, Chris Flood, and Danny King. The result confirmed a trilogy of defeats at the hands of the Boatmen this month – with an aggregate score of 9-4.
First was the 3-0 Sydenhams Premier defeat at the beginning of the month, followed by a 1-0 defeat two weeks ago. It was Hards’ men who had a brief spell of domination in early phases of the latest encounter.
Four fouls by Sholing meant Ryan Holloway and Liam Green could whip balls dangerously into the box – which proved fruitless but nonetheless created a positive start for Winchester.
The best chance fell to City winger Dan Thompson, but his shot went into orbit from just inside the box after Flood had skipped past defenders Lee Bright and Mike Carter to create space for Thompson’s miserable effort.
The Boatmen then showed the quality that has taken them to top spot in the Wessex Premier by destroying the Denplan City Ground side in 15 minutes of pillaging. Watts took his first with composure on 11 minutes, after Byron Mason powered through the Winchester midfield and threaded in Wort, who delivered a precise square ball, from the left of the box, which bypassed Stuart Kearn in the Winchester net – and was finished into an empty goal by the stocky wide man.
Watts struck again minutes later as he turned Holloway – creating space 25 yards out – and unleashing what seemed to be a wayward shot. But it caught Kearn rooted and nestled into the net – to the right of the helpless keeper.
The powerful figure of Byron Mason then stormed through for the third – outmuscling King, rounding Kearn and slotting home from the right of the box from a narrow angle. Barry Mason rounded off the quarter of an hour mauling as he released a pile driver from 25 yards out which arrowed powerfully into the middle of the net – with Kearn unable to block. After the break Wort grabbed himself a goal as he sprung the offside trap from a Byron Mason through ball and with a bit of neat footwork turned Kearn to fire home.
Mason then smashed home for Winchester to spark the match into life for the beleaguered home side from just inside the box.
Lee Bright then fouled Flood in the box for a penalty which Mills dispatch to the right of goal with quarter of an hour to play. Winchester dominated after that – but that spell was cut short by a floodlight failure – plunging the City Ground into darkness for five minutes.
But the potential comeback was palpable as Flood managed to fire home as the lights were turned back on – then King slotted a shot under Renouf to tee up a gripping final few minutes. Despite some last-minute tension Winchester failed to find an equaliser.
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