TUESDAY APRIL 30TH
Alresford Town 6-0 GE Hamble (Premier Division - By Greg Boughton)
SATURDAY APRIL 27TH
Bournemouth Poppies 0-5 Alresford Town (Premier Division - By Bob Everett)
Fareham Town 2-3 Hamworthy United (Premier Division - By Paul Proctor)
Newport (IOW) 1-0 AFC Portchester (From Newport IOW Website)
SATURDAY APRIL 6TH
Alresford Town 3-1 New Milton Town (Premier Division - By Greg Boughton)
MONDAY APRIL 1ST
Alresford Town 4-1 Alton Town (Premier Division - By Greg Boughton)
developed - in spite of the now customary easterly wind doing its best to chill the marrow of the Arlebury Park spectators. There was little to choose between the two sides until the 23rd
minute, when Alton midfielder Alex Lowley hauled Suharl Odeh to the ground as he stretched for a left-wing cross. At once the assistant referee signalled a penalty, and Warren Bentley drove it low past Justin Courtnage in the visitors' goal for the opening goal of the afternoon. Three minutes later another free-kick, on the right corner of the Alton box, proved equally costly. This time Zach Glasspool looped his shot over the wall and in at the near post to put the home side two up and seemingly on cruise control. On 39 minutes, however, the visitors halved the deficit. From a corner of their own James Hammond rose highest and although his header wasn't the most powerful, it was perfectly placed, beating straining players of both the sides to bounce in at the far post. In the second half the Magpies had the wind at their backs and were looking to build on their advantage. But they had to survive a bizarre incident on 58 minutes. Keeper Steve Phillips did well to knock the ball away from Alton's Matt Jackson, but the referee initially gave a penalty. After consultation with his assistant - who was in agreement with most of the spectators and players - he reversed his decision, gave a drop-ball instead, and Alresford scrambled it away. Justice was done in that instance, and the home side gained in confidence while Alton seemed to get the feeling that it wasn't to be their day. As if to underline the point, Alresford grabbed a third goal from another free-kick. Lowley was again the culprit with a foul five yards outside the box, and Bentley completed his brace with a low drive that Courtnage was helpless to keep out. A fourth goal followed on 68 minutes. A left-wing corner was allowed to bounce in the Alton six-yard box, and centre-back Stuart Mott stole in to nod the ball home from close range. It was his 9th of the season, while strikers Glasspool and Bentley now have 29 and 28 goals to their credit respectively. With Blackfield winning comfortably at Fawley, a close tussle for the championship would seem to be in prospect.
FRIDAY MARCH 29TH
Alresford Town 4-1 Brockenhurst (League Cup Final - By Greg Boughton)
The Magpies were crowned Wessex League Cup winners for the first time in their history at chilly Christchurch after a fine match against Brockenhurst.
Alresford, top of the Premier Division, were on paper favourites against Division 1 leaders Brock. But the Badgers had reached the final the hard way, defeating four Premier sides en route, and any hopes the Magpies had of an easy ride were soon dispelled.
As early as the first minute Zach Glasspool brought Brock keeper Scott O'Rourke into action with a shot on the turn, but at the other end Steve Phillips had to be at his best to beat out Warren Kenna's drive. Mark Barker fired the rebound into the side netting.
Brockenhurst were causing problems with their long throws and determination not to let Alresford settle. The Magpies, struggling to come to terms with playing downhill with a strong wind at their backs, tried their usual tricks and flicks but most of their moves failed to come off.
The Division 1 side took the lead on 23 minutes after striking the goalpost from a set-piece. After a scramble in the six-yard area Declan Edwards got the vital touch from close range.
Alresford equalized in added time at the end of the first half. They had just had a strong penalty appeal rejected when Warren Bentley was flattened by Jordan O'Donnell. But in their next attack, Dominic Cope got through on the left, cut inside and scored from ten yards with the aid of a deflection. It was the fifth game running that the winger had fund the back of the net.
In the second half Alresford gradually took control, with Stuart Green and Simon Everett increasing in influence in the middle of the field and Bentley popping up everywhere, to the discomfiture of the Badgers back four.
Bentley gave the Magpies the lead with a near-post strike from Glasspool's low cross on 73 minutes, and Alresford never looked back.
Alresford seemed to be the fitter side, and as the second half progressed gaps began to appear in the Brock rearguard. Suharl Odeh took full advantage on 80 minutes, breaking through on the right and laying the ball back for man of the match Bentley to score his second of the afternoon with a curling shot that went in off the far post.
Substitute Ash Ledger added a fourth on 87 minutes, skipping through onto Bentley's pass and deftly clipping the ball over O'Rourke's dive.
TUESDAY MARCH 19TH
Moneyfields 2-4 Alresford Town (Premier Division - By Greg Boughton)
Alresford produced a stunning last-gasp comeback to come from a goal down, scoring three goals in the last four minutes to keep up the pressure on top of the table and notch their twentieth league win of the season.
Bad weather had kept the Magpies off the pitch for a fortnight, but there was no sign of rustiness from either side. The visitors almost scored in the first minute when Dominic Cope cut in from the left and his shot squirmed away from Moneys keeper Dave Hook, but Warren Bentley's follow-up clipped the bar.
Moneyfields had marginally the better of play after that, almost scoring when Warren Hunt's clever chip drifted just wide. But they did take the lead on 35 minutes when ex-Alresford midfielder Stuart Green - not to be confused with current Alresford midfielder Stuart Green, who was also playing (!) - ran through the inside right channel and rounded Steve Phillips to net from an acute angle.
The Magpies had a great opportunity to equalize three minutes later when Bentley was sent crashing by Dan Sackman, but Hook saved his penalty.
One down at the break, Alresford came out all guns blazing. The equalizer duly arrived on 50 minutes, Cope cutting in and curling a superb right-foot shot over Hook and into the top right corner of the net.
But Moneyfields came steaming back. On 54 minutes Jack Slater drew a good save from Phillips, but was able to regain control and square the ball for Warren Hunt to make it 2-1 to the home side.
Both sides had chances after that, but the key moment came midway through the half. Moneys striker Steve Hutchings, already cautioned for dissent, fired the ball into the advertising hoardings when the referee had already whistled for offside. A second yellow and an early bath was the inevitable outcome.
Alresford pressed, but Moneyfields defended stoutly and with four minutes to go the hosts still clung on to their slender lead. Then, the game turned on its head. First, Stuart Mott rose to flick a second equalizer home from a free-kick.
Next, with the 90 minutes just about up, Bentley stole in to guide a header of his own past the advancing Hook.
And then, with two minutes overtime already played and the home side committed to attack, Bentley won a vital tackle on the edge of his own area and released strike partner Zach Glasspool through the middle. Glasspool turned on the afterburners, shaking off an attempted tackle before coolly slotting the Magpies' fourth goal past Hook.
So it was very much a night to remember for an Alresford side who have already exceeded the season's expectations by a long way.
TUESDAY MARCH 5TH
Alresford Town 2-1 Sholing (Hampshire Senior Cup - By Greg Boughton)
Alresford wrote another chapter in their fairytale season on Tuesday night by reaching the final of the Hampshire Senior Cup, defeating Southern League Sholing in extra-time at Arlebury Park to book a final date with mighty AFC Bournemouth at Dean Court as a fitting finale to a fantastic campaign.
In the early stages it was all Sholing. By Wessex League standards they were big, strong and frighteningly quick up front, where Lee Wort and Byron Mason had alarm bells ringing in the home defence whenever they came forward.
It was no surprise that the Boatmen took the lead with just 9 minutes played. Wort cut in from the left flank and fired low and accurately to Steve Phillips' left, giving the Magpies keeper no chance.
If another Wort shot, after good work by Marvin McLean, had bounced in rather than out after rattling the underside of the crossbar, the outcome might have been very different. But gradually Alresford hauled themselves back into it with Lee Wood and Stuart Mott growing in confidence at the back as they grappled with the task of marshalling the Sholing strikers.
On 32 minutes they equalized through Dominic Cope, who got rose highest to nod home Warren Bentley's corner - a rare headed goal from the wide man.
The second half produced thrills and spills aplenty. Both sides had chances, perhaps the most memorable coming in the 90th minute when Wort blazed wide with Phillips' goal seemingly at his mercy.
The Boatmen were to pay for that in a big way. As the game went into extra time it was anyone's guess who would triumph. But a few moments of madness just before the midway point were decisive. Sholing, who were regularly incurring referee Colin Lymer's displeasure, were relieved when Wood's header clipped the top of the crossbar. Seconds later they were reduced to ten men when Lee Bright was shown a second yellow card, seemingly for dissent.
The Magpies sensed their chance, and got the winner on 107 minutes when Zach Glasspool's free-kick hit team-mate Chris Manning in the back and deflected wickedly to leave Sholing keeper Matt Brown stranded. Glasspool and Manning will argue over who should be credited with the goal for a long time - but the management team decided Glasspool (by a narrow majority)!
A Sholing onslaught ensued, but the home side now had the belief to go on and win it. With the Boatmen leaving gaps at the back for the hosts to exploit they might even have added a third.
SATURDAY MARCH 2ND
Verwood Town 0-2 Alresford Town (Premier Division - By Bob Everett)
It wasn't pretty. It wasn't slick. It was dogged, determined and never say die.
And as a result this Alresford performance produced three points. It was worth exactly the same as their previous eighteen league victories.Because, of course, they all count the same. The sensational counter-attacking victory over Bemerton. The scintillating comeback against Moneyfields.
And this one. As hard-won a three points as you could find against equally determined opponents, whose game plan was to press, press and press again, pumping high balls forward - not letting any Alresford player settle.
If the league leaders thought they were going to process prettily to victory here, they'd been disillusioned by the end of the first fifteen minutes, a frantic bustling hundred mile an hour start on a bumping pitch in - for this winter - a blinding light too.
After that, Alresford created chances: Zach Glasspool dragged wide after typical marauding down the left from Dominic Cope; Cope hit the bar with a looping cross-cum-shot, and Warren Bentley did likewise after busy work from Simon Everett and Danny Edwards, while Glasspool's free kick brought a flying tip round the post from Verwood keeper Chris Lynch.
And after a spate of bookings, including a harsh one on Joe Wright as the home side threatened to break through, they scored goals too.
Stuart Mott's flicked near post header from Bentley's pacy free kick three minutes before the break put them a goal up. Cope's flicked touch from a low corner in first half injury time made it two.
But Verwood wouldn't lie down or go away. Their pressure created several good chances in the first half. They also created half a dozen half chances in the second. They were "in your face" - and they stayed there. Mike McEnery, on for Glasspool, terrorized Verwood's defence as they pressed, hitting the post, forcing two other saves.But even in the 92nd minute, Verwood were creating chances - in that case a volley which flashed wide with Alresford's defence spread-eagled.
All credit to the home team then - but all the points to the leaders. If you don't "turn up" in this league, you get turned over. Alresford turned up. They passed the Potterne test.
Alresford showed that most indefinable of values, character, to win this game - and if they show it in every game, the promise of their season so far can be fulfilled. So maybe all victories aren't equal after all. Because those earned in this fashion are worth their weight in gold - and team spirit.
SATURDAY FEBRUARY 23RD
Alresford Town 4-2 Downton (Premier Division - By Greg Boughton)
Warren Bentley bagged four goals as Alresford opened up a two-point gap at the top of the table with this excellent victory over the club who started the day in second place.
Alresford were quickly onto the front foot, with Dominic Cope making progress down the left flank. He was denied by a Matt Palmer bock after being set up by Bentley and Simon Everett and scissor-kicked over the Downton bar from a Bentley cross. Bentley, meanwhile, showed his intent with a volley that was deflected over the bar.
Downton left-back Brandon Mundy made a good impression with some penetrating runs down the left, and from a corner he forced Jack Brooks volleyed narrowly over the home bar.
But it was the Magpies who opened the scoring on 20 minutes. Advancing Downton keeper Charlie Aldridge was the victim of a comical misunderstanding with one of his own defenders, who knocked the ball past him to allow Bentley to walk it into an empty net.
Ten minutes later Downton equalized. With their greatest threat coming from set-pieces, it was no surprise that centre-back Ben Smith was the scorer, expertly heading a free-kick over Phillips and into the far corner.
But Alresford restored their lead five minutes before the break when Cope made a scintillating run down the left, reaching the bye-line and picking out Bentley for an easy finish at the far post.
The temperature on the pitch rose in the second half as Downton tried to win the physical battle. But it was Alresford who scored again, the goal coming on 57 minutes when top scorer Zach Glasspool was fouled by Matt Scott in the box. Bentley's penalty kick gave Aldridge no chance.
A fourth goal, on 76 minutes, sealed Alresford's victory. Cope was again the provider with another scorching dribble into the box from the left flank. Again he was able to supply the ball on a plate for Bentley to tuck away his fourth of the afternoon and 21st of a wonderful season.
Bentley nearly added another goal after Glasspool's pass left him in a one-on-one with Aldridge, but his 79th-minut chip trickled agonizingly wide with no defender able to get back in time to clear.
Downton's desperation grew as full time approached, and the visitors gained a little consolation when Smith headed a left wing cross home from close range to drag it back to 4-2. But that did little to dent the home side's delight in racking up another three points against a club challenging for the title.
Andover New Street 0-3 Pewsey Vale (Division One - from www.pewseyvaleafc.co.uk)
A Tom Ritchie brace and a Martin finish provided the Vale with what was in
the end a comfortable victory. This however hid the truth of what actually was
one hell of a battle for at least 75 minutes.
Vale took the lead after a Martin through ball to Ritchie wwho slotted home. Field was taken down just after half time and Tom Ritchie slotted the resulting penalty.
The game was finally finished off with Martin slotting home after a one on one.
However, Vale gave away a penalty shortly after the first goal that was expertly saved by La Touche, who also went on to make a number of crucial interventions. Andover certainly played to their strengths giving the Vale team a hard work out. However Vale had that extra bit of quality that won the day. One down side was the loss of Haydn Amor after 20 minutes with a hamstring strain.