Sherborne Town 0 – 3 Warminster Town
Western League – Division One
Saturday 28th September 2019
Raleigh Grove, Sherborne
The Season So Far:
Both sides came into this clash off the back of defeats. Sherborne crashing out of the league’s Les Phillips cup after a home loss to Radstock Town; while the visiting Maltmen lost at home in the league to Hengrove Athletic. Overall, though, the hosts have had the better start to the season, lying 6th in the league compared to Warminster’s 15th. Away from the league, the Zebras’ FA Vase campaign was cut short after a replay loss to Petersfield Town. Warminster march on after beating Alresford Town in the same round, and will face East Cowes Victoria in the 1st Round Proper. So to summarise – a mixed bag for both sides which would suggest the result of today’s meeting is anyone’s guess!
Sherborne is a historic town just east of Yeovil, but within the county of Dorset. For me to get there from Trowbridge meant taking a train south to Salisbury and then another west towards the aforementioned Yeovil. In all, rather nicely, it took about 90 minutes. I arrived in the town with enough time to have a wander around, and I was very pleased with this! The town centre consists mainly of crooked old buildings housing independent businesses, while the abbey is an impressive sight. To get to Raleigh Grove – home of the Zebras, and shared with the local rugby club – you head southwards out of town and up the mystically named Dancing Hill. The football team’s share of the complex is a friendly one. I paid my £6 plus £1 for a (very impressive) programme and found the club house where I was able to add to my embryonic pin badge collection. I made my way into the ground itself and found it to have no shortage of character. A covered seated stand for around 100 stands on side. This side is slightly raised above pitch level, especially so towards the far end of the ground and so offers a great view of the action. At the near end is the clubhouse, tea bar and a reasonable amount of covered standing room. The remaining 2 sides consist of uncovered, pitch-level standing.
Kicking off in uncertain weather – it had threatened to rain, but also showed glimpses of autumn sunshine since I arrived in Dorset – it wasn’t long before away keeper Nathan Ball was called into action. An easy save from forward Joe Smith. Not long after and the visitors were saved by the referee’s whistle after a defensive mix-up. Down the other end Warminster’s number 4 couldn’t get over a far post cross and headed over. Ball and Smith battled again on 9 minutes, and Ball again came out on top, saving with his feet. Despite the early dominance from Sherborne, it was the Wiltshire side who would take the lead just a minute or two after that latest save from Ball. A clever pull back was stabbed home by James Vincent, wearing number 9 for Warminster. A couple of minutes later Vincent could have doubled his tally but could only find the side netting after a jinking run. The next Sherborne chance was foiled by a Sherborne player when a header from a corner deflected off a teammate and out for a goal kick. On 26 minutes the impressive Smith almost managed to lob Ball but couldn’t quite loft it over the Warminster keeper. By now the Zebras were very much on top – really pushing for the equaliser – and it took a good tackle from the Maltmen’s left back to deny Anthony Herrin. A cross from Smith found the Sherborne number 9 but he couldn’t control it and the ball bobbled harmlessly out of play. With a minute left Joe Smith finally had the ball in the back of the net, but the linesman’s flag was raised. Half time: 0-1.
Warminster came out for the second half on the front foot – a speculative effort from wide out was sliced over from captain Charlie Walton. Shortly after, the athletic James Vincent out-paced the entire Zebras defence but couldn’t find a way past Jamie Beale in the home goal. Beale was called into action again after defensive hesitancy was pounced upon by winger Jack Miluk. An impressive pair of saves to keep the home side in the match. Miluk would soon find himself in the middle of the action again but for the wrong reason – becoming the first in the referee’s notebook after a bad tackle. However, Warminster embarked on another attack, the ball finding captain Walton who in turn found the bottom corner with a nice finish which even Beale couldn’t keep out. A rare Sherborne attack saw the visitor’s number 6 produce a last-ditch challenge to deny the home striker. On 65 minutes, the Maltmen almost put the game to bed – I couldn’t quite see what happened but the end result was another corner for the away side. With quarter of an hour to go, Ryan Baggs became the second Warminster player to be booked – in my opinion it was deserving of a bit more than a yellow but not quite worthy of a red, so probably the right decision. A cynical tackle on a Zebras midfielder. From the resultant free kick, Sherborne’s face mask-wearing centre back Josh Williams shot just wide. He was immediately substituted though i’m sure it was tactical rather than a direct result of the off-target set piece. Indeed that was part of a triple substitution as the Zebras’ management team realised they had nothing to lose. It would not pay off, though. Warminster scored from the ensuing play – a lofted ball towards the far post was finished first time by George Butler. Surely that was 3 points in the bag for the visitors. The last real chance went to the home team – a foot race between keeper Ball and the Sherborne number 10 was won by the latter who got a toe to the ball, but a Maltmen defender bailed his keeper out. A succession of substitutions from the away team followed and helped to break the game up. Sherborne heads never really dropped but they couldn’t find a way past Warminster. Full time: 0-3.
It was a fair result in my eyes – the Wiltshire side took their chances and after a slightly shaky start looked solid at the back. I thought the game was a good advertisement for this level of football and would argue that the quality of football was higher than the level it was being played at. Sherborne Town is well worth a visit for the friendly club officials, fans and good facilities. Not to mention the picturesque town of Sherborne itself which would be worth a visit alone. But what’s the point in that?!
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