Folland Sports robbed of key men for cup clash

Daily Echo: JAMES RODEN JAMES RODEN

DANNY Bowers’ one regret about tonight’s Hampshire FA Senior Cup third round tie against on-song Whitchurch United is that he hasn’t got his full Folland Sports squad available.

Although Ryan Long recently returned after a four-match suspension and Richard Gregory is now free from work commitments, defender Jimmy Vinton and midfielder James Roden are both ruled out for family reasons while new dual-signing Ryan Fuller is ineligible to play in the Follands Park showdown.

Fuller made an impressive debut at right-back in Saturday’s 3-0 Sydenhams Premier win at home to Horndean, but the Eastleigh youngster has already played for his parent club in a previous round.

“Ryan did really well on Saturday and, fingers crossed, we’ll keep him for a few months, but he can’t play tonight,” said Follands boss Bowers.

“Jimmy Vinton’s wife is about to have a baby and James has flown to Barbados for personal reasons.

“If we play anything like we did against Horndean tonight, we’re in with a chance, but it’s just a shame we’ve got key players missing.

“Whitchurch have only lost two in 16 – and they were against Sholing and Blackfield! – so it’s going to be a big ask.

“Mike Turvey’s been out with ankle problems since the Vase game against Sholing, but hopefully he might make the bench.”

On the plus side, Follands skipper Jamie Barron was outstanding against Horndean and fit-again striker Daniel Mason scored one and made one on his first start for three months.

Barron, Alex Easton and Ryan Long were all involved in the build-up as Mason controlled the ball on his chest before by-passing a defender and expertly nicking the opener round the goalkeeper.

Jake Long and Pip Nolan had chances to double the lead before Barron actually did, bending the ball round the ’keeper after combining well with Ryan Long.

Mason had a ‘goal’ disallowed for offside after the break before Horndean missed a sitter from eight yards. But Ryan Long capped a pleasing Follands performance, latching onto Mason’s cross before finishing from an acute angle.

“It’s the first time I’ve had the chance to put Ryan and Daniel up top together and they did well,” said Bowers.

“That’s no slight on young Jamie Betteridge who’s done well. But he’s been playing four times a week, for us and his college, and he needs a rest. We’ve got to take responsibility before he burns himself out.”

Ryan Long has turned down the opportunity to return to his old club Blackfield & Langley. Follands, in return, have lodged notice of approach for Blackfield defender and former Hamble striker Ross Bottomley.

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