Wessex League title favourites Sholing lost their first home league game in almost a year and a half – thanks to a superb individual goal by one of their former players.
Daniel Mason, brother of Boatmen stalwarts Barry and Byron, signed for Folland Sports last summer.
And he notched an eye-catching opening goal to send his side to an Easter Monday 3-2 victory that allowed Alresford to extend their lead to five points.
It was the first time Dave Diaper’s side had lost at home in the league since a last minute 3-2 Southern League South-West Division One defeat to Cirencester on November 17 2012 – 16 months ago. That was partly down to resting many of the first-team with the FA Vase final on May 10 in mind.
As reported in yesterday’s Daily Echo, Diaper’s plan for the potentially feisty encounter with Danny Bowers’ Folland was to withdraw many of his big guns for the game.
Diaper was mindful that a sending-off would rule the offender out for the Wembley final. Instead, he handed chances to many of the club’s youthful reserve side, which last week lifted the Southampton Senior Cup at St Mary’s, to play in a Wessex fixture.
Diaper also handed the management reigns to reserve manager Dave Fear for the match.
The hosts were 2-0 down at the break thanks to Mason’s stunning chest and volley from the edge of the box and an effort by Michael Turvey.
Sholing hit back in the second-half through Alex Baldacchino’s brace, but a penalty by Ryan Long extended Folland’s unbeaten run to 16 games – all but one of them victories. “I’m very pleased with how it worked out,” said Diaper.
“They are all youngsters and it was really good to learn about them as players. “They weren’t overawed by the occasions and it was good to see them doing so well, despite the result.”
The squad included Southampton Senior Cup heroes Coby Wilson, who scored two in the 5-0 win over Hedge End Rangers at St Mary’s, as well as Jamie Mansell who notched one in the final.
Sholing need nine points from their remaining four games to win the Wessex Premier.