Romsey 3 8-0 Gosport 1898

After a disappointing result away at Bournemouth, the Romsey Men’s 3rd XI had a point to prove going into their home game against Gosport. The pre-match rain set the scene for a dramatic comeback by Romsey’s Pete Cooper, who had been sidelined for around half a season by a knee injury.

The rain let off as the first half began, and Romsey were on the front foot from the off. As opposed to the week before, their play was direct, incisive and purposeful. This resulted in a great chance early on as good play out wide by strikers Ben Ellis and Matchey Lincoln created space for winger Alex Halcoussis to make a run down the middle. The keeper was, however, lithe to the danger and his presence helped the attacker royally fluff his opportunity. However, the resulting long corner resulted in the game’s opening goal as vice-captain Pete Cooper found Matt Clark in the D who chipped the ball over a defender’s stick before volleying across the face of goal to find the backboard. Romsey displayed improvement in their play as they decided not to go to sleep after going a goal up, instead opting to double their lead through Danny Nicole. A short corner, won by Lincoln, bounced softly into the goal after being miss-struck at the top of the D by the midfielder. Although Romsey did their fair share of defending during the first half it is no exaggeration to say the home side dominated proceedings, adding to their goal tally as Ben Ellis put his trademark on the game by dancing round the keeper after being played in on the left hand post by captain Clark and scoring gently.

Romsey’s midfielders once again showed their prowess, and were back on form for this game. Instead of being dragged out wide the trio of Jon Marsh, Pete Cooper and Danny Nicole were able to dictate play and continually created opportunities for the wingers and strikers. Nicole played his part in another goal before half time, winning a short corner before his drag flick was deflected into the top right by defender Mark McArdle, who had taken the injection. McArdle has been at the heart of a defence that has so far kept four clean sheets over five games, and was once again influential in ensuring the Thirds did not slip up. The final goal before half time was from a ball played by Marsh to striker Ollie Robley, who drove up half the pitch before striking from an impossible angle and watching the ball dribble over the goal-line.

The half time team talk focused on keeping heads, and not sacrificing the fluid team play exhibited in the first half in the pursuit of individual glory. Romsey’s 6th goal came soon after half time, as Nicole’s long corner found Cooper who, in turn, found Clark. The balled was played around the top of the D by Clark and Lincoln, eventually finding its way to Nicole who scored with a strong hit into the bottom left. The final two goals of the afternoon came from sublime pieces of individual skill, as Zak Cooper first dribbled round the majority of Gosport’s defence before scoring and as McArdle ran the entire length of the pitch, converting on his reverse. Romsey’s performance was solid in the second half, if not emphatic, and the defence must be credited for keeping another clean sheet, in particular keeper Lukasz Suleja.

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