Monday, 16 September 2013

Fareham Town 0 v 1 Weymouth

Saturday 14th September 2013
FA Cup 1st Qualifying Round
Cams Alders, Fareham
Admission: £6.00
Programme: £1.00
Attendance: 323
Match Rating: 3

For the third consecutive FA Cup Saturday this season, I headed to a Wessex League venue today, although on this occasion the home club had a much tougher assignment to negotiate, with a giantkilling opportunity against one of the historically big names of non league football.

The Cams Alders is about a 15 minute walk south from Fareham train station and is part of a large recreation ground, with a rugby club adjacent. The ground is an interesting one. Much of it has had a recent lick of paint, and full credit for that, yet there also seems to be a lot of work in progress around the ground, with quite a lot of ground dug up and materials scattered messily around. There are a couple of attractive brick buildings either side of the entrance, one housing the changing rooms and the other with plenty of overhang for covered standing, although it is set a long way back from the pitch. Also along this length, an all-seater stand straddles the half way line. It has seen better days and is not particularly pleasing on the eye, but it does offer very good elevated views of the action, albeit with a floodlight pylon slightly obstructing one's view. A bar is located on the ground floor of this stand. Around the rest of the ground is just hard standing. Despite a scattering of trees around the ground and a peaceful location, for me, it is one of those grounds that would always seem to be bleak no matter what the weather conditions on any given day. The programme wouldn't win any awards for design or style, but no matter when the content is comprehensive, giving more than enough information about the background to today's game, a good effort.

Fareham came into this game in good early season form having secured three wins and two draws from their opening six games in the Wessex League Premier Division, and won impressively at Bemerton Heath Harlequins and Newport (Isle of Wight), the two clubs currently second and third respectively in the Wessex Premier, in the previous two rounds to set up today's game. Weymouth are two steps up the pyramid and 50 league places above Fareham, in eighth place in the Southern League Premier Division, although they were without a win in their previous four games, after winning their opening three games. Today was their debut in this season's FA Cup competition.

On a cool and very overcast afternoon, this game followed the expected pattern of the higher ranked side dominating possession and doing much of the attacking, although Fareham battled well and more than held their own, creating the odd chance themselves, and they deserved to go into the interval on level terms.

Fareham started the second half with plenty of intent, however on 49 minutes, Weymouth scored the crucial opening goal of the game, when a cross was dinked in from the left and Stewart Yetton headed across the keeper and into the net. Three minutes later and Weymouth saw a fizzing drive across goal hit the woodwork. They squandered several other golden chances to score, a couple of times when it looked easier to score, although that is not to say Fareham were overwhelmed. Far from it, they still had a fair share of possession and managed to create some good chances themselves. They applied a lot of pressure on the Weymouth goain the last ten minutes with a number of corners and close range free kicks, but they couldn't quite find the goal to force a replay and so it was Weymouth who narrowly progressed to the next round.

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