Monday, 19 August 2013

Horndean 7 v 2 Calne Town

Saturday 17th August 2013
FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round
Five Heads Park, Horndean
Admission: £6.00
Programme: Donation
Attendance: 30
Match Rating: 4

For the opening round of this season's FA Cup, I decided to take in a visit that would be a rather long walk from the nearest train station and so would be a far more attractive prospect in August than in the winter months.

The interestingly named Five Heads Park is about a three mile walk from Rowlands Castle train station, taking just under an hour and has plenty of character about it. As one enters in one corner of the ground, it is not possible to walk behind the goal. Along the length on entering the ground, one walks past a wooden tea hut, then along a balcony of a building that houses the changing rooms and committee room, and then past a stand with benches inside although hit currently has no roof on it. Straddling the half way line on the other side is a small stand with a couple of rows of benches, and this stand is situated between the two dugouts. Along the rest of this length and behind the other goal is just hard standing. The pitch does have a pronounced slope from end to end, apparently with one goal around 15 feet higher than the other. Programmes were produced but without a cover, and so they were not charged for although donations were invited. It was a pretty dismal effort anyway, with only a potted history of the visitors, current league table and Horndean's season's results, fixtures and penpics of any relevance to today's game.

This match would pitch Wessex League Premier Division Horndean against Western League Division One Calne Town, so a step below in the pyramid. Horndean have had an average start to their league campaign, winning one, drawing one and losing the other of their three games so far, and lost 0-3 in the League Cup. Calne have won one and lost the other of their opening two league games.

On a cool afternoon with frequent heavy drizzle, the pattern for this game was set early on with Horndean taking the lead with just two minutes on the clock, Gavin  Spurway slotting home low across the keeper from just inside the area. On 18 minutes, the home side doubled their lead when Lenny Burney received the ball on the edge of the box and curled a lovely shot over the keeper and into the net. Six minutes later and Horndean extended their lead to three when a glancing header by Dan Hayes from a corner found the far corner of the net. On 31 minutes Horndean scored their fourth when Burney ran onto a low diagonal ball forward, and eventually dinked the ball over the keeper. It really was game over already on 37 minutes when a real scramble around the six yard box eventually resulted the ball being tapped into the net by Burney for his hat-trick. 5-0 was how it stood at half time, and Horndean missed several great chances to score more - a ten goal lead wouldn't have flattered the home side, and this was all with Horndean playing up the steep slope.

It was hard to imagine that things could go much worse after the break for Calne, and indeed they didn't. In fact, for long periods in the second half they were the better team and did most of the attacking as Horndean, perhaps unsurprisingly, had the air of a team who felt it was job done at half time. Calne pulled a goal back on 53 minutes when a ball was played low forward and Neurin Jones beat the offside trap and eventually slotted low past the keeper. Calne could easily have scored further goals in the next half hour, but it was Horndean who scored next when a cross was headed home in off the post from close range by Rob de Sport to make it 6-1. Into added on time and Horndean scored their seventh, Nathan Paxton with a clipped finish over the keeper. There was still time for Calne to score a second virtually straight from the kick off. The ball was played wide to a player in acres of room, and he crossed the ball into the box and was headed in from close range by James Sharratt. That was just about the last action of the game and so it was Horndean who comfortably progressed to the next round to set up a local derby away at Petersfield Town, the Wessex League Division One outfit who surprisingly beat Premier Division Blackfield and Langley today. Credit to Calne for putting in a very decent second half performance after a shocking one in the first half.

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