Tuesday 29th November 2011 ko 7.45pm
Wessex League Premier Division
LAVERSTOCK & FORD 1 (Wykes 58)
WINCHESTER CITY 4 (Smeeton 54 Allen 74 81 Dunford 82)
The small town of Laverstock lies on the River Bourne, a mile opposite the city of Salisbury. Although it predates it more famous neighbour, its clear that the city has completely dwarfed this rural settlement.
The Dell lies in Church Road, and reveals both the club’s ambitions and limitations. Its at one corner of a large area of common land, and as late as 2004 the club were playing in the Hampshire League, on a roped off pitch. The pitch has now been rotated through 90 degrees leaving a large net previously behind a goal rather redundant. A homeowner behind has hung bird-feeders on it! The club are rather proud of what they’ve done to the ground, with the lights, 100-plus seats, and hard standing on all 4 sides. The two quirky bits are the fact that the seats are via two prefabricated stands set across one corner, and the burger bar, built as a block with the dugouts at the half way line. Neither are ideal but still do their respective jobs. The club are pleased to have made it this far, and maintained their status.
And all of that is in contrast to how the visitors view the world. Unashamedly ambitious, when Laverstock were in their final Hampshire League season they won the FA Vase and secured Southern League football a year later. Although now back in the Wessex, they view a return upwards as the number one priority, and to be honest my choice of game was based on the hope that this differing set of priorities might get me a few goals!
It did, but for over half the game I wondered whether I be watching a heroic nil nil draw as Winchester threw everything they had at their hosts but a mixture of poor shooting and committed defending maintianed parity. Inevitably the deadlock was broken, but the response wasn’t capitulation, as a well worked indirect free kick was rifled in by Elliott Wykes. A that point I wondered, even hoped that Laverstock could at least get a point, but it wasn’t to be as in the last 15 minutes as the defence finally tired, and the visitors ran in 3 goals they scarcely deserved.