Winchester City turn to youth in bid to arrest slide

Daily Echo: BEN WILSON (left) BEN WILSON (left)

WINCHESTER City have signed two former Eastleigh young guns in a bid to arrest their slide down the Evo-Stik Southern One South & West table.

Left-back Ben Wilson made his Winchester debut in Tuesday’s 3-0 defeat at Bridgwater and has been followed to the Denplan City Ground by attacking midfielder Liam Robinson, who is due to make his debut away at Taunton Town tomorrow.

The pair were part of the Eastleigh reserve team set-up and Wilson – still only 18 – made three Blue Square Bet South starts for Spitfires last season during Ian Baird’s time in charge.

Wilson joined City’s South & West rivals Sholing during the summer and made five league appearances before parting company with the bottom-of-the-table Boatmen.

Robinson also turned out for Sholing in pre-season, going on as a substitute and scoring a late consolation goal in the 2-1 pre-season friendly defeat by Saints under-21s.

He had a successful loan spell with Romsey during his Eastleigh days and has most recently been on the books of Sydenhams Premier outfit Fareham Town.

With Mike Byrne, Kyle Williams, Dan Smith and Jordan Sako all back available after missing the Bridgwater game, City owner Paul McCarthy is hopeful of fielding a stronger side for tomorrow’s must-win survival clash at Wordsworth Drive.

The two clubs are locked together on 19 points – nine clear of basement boys Sholing.

But while Taunton have won their last two games against Evesham and promotion-chasing Hungerford, Winchester’s new-look young side are in a worrying downward spiral of nine defeats from their last ten league outings. “I’m concerned about where we are, but I’m sure we will pick up enough wins to stay in the league,” said owner Paul McCarthy.

“We’re a young group that needs to grow and the players need experience.

“Ideally when you’re blooding young players you want to be in the comfort zone, but we’ve got no cushion at all.

“This is a great league to be playing in and we’ve got the numbers now, but not the experience.

“But we’re not getting smashed every week, we just lack the finishing touch.

“Andrew White has not scored as many goals as we’d hoped he would and we’re without Ben Penfold again tomorrow because of work commitments.”

Former QK Southampton hotshot Penfold should be back in the fold for the Boxing Day game at home to Wimborne Town (3pm).

For more non-league preview news, don't miss today's Daily Echo.

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