The first pre-season game for the Magpies was a thoroughly entertaining affair. With both management teams giving numerous players the opportunity to show their skills, there was much good football for spectators to admire.
The home side took the lead on 10 minutes when Sam Bayston’s inviting low cross from the right was turned past visiting keeper Mark Childs at the near post by Tony Lee, making his debut. In the next minute Bayston’s run down the right ended with a good save from Childs, and on 25 minutes Lee headed just wide.
As play flowed from end to end, Weymouth equalised on 33 minutes when one of their trialists found space at the far post to thump home a cross from the right. And five minutes later the visitors took the lead when the home defence were dispossessed as they tried to play the ball out.
Wimborne equalised six minutes into the second period when Lee charged down the left and his low cross was fired into the net by the onrushing Bayston. At the mid-point of the half Lewis Gunstone-Grey made an excellent reaction save with his feet to deny the visitors.
With Weymouth making 10 substitutions on the hour mark, play continued with a surprising intensity. The final goal came on 87 minutes when Weymouth’s Josh McQuoid scored from close range.
Wimborne: Wescott (Gunstone-Grey), Maybury, Buck (Penny (Parthenis)), Davidson, Poole, Pettefer (Stokoe), Bayston, Clarke (Prior), Lee (Graham), Doe, Holmes
Next game at Cuthbury: Verwood Town on Thursday (11th) k.o. 19:45 for the Steve Moore Challenge Cup.
A third clean sheet in the final four league games of this historic season was enough to earn that vital point which secured Wimborne’s place in the Southern League Premier Division. The home side played most of the second half with ten men after central defender Sam Davidson was sent off by referee Harris.
Manager Matty Holmes included Sam Bayston and Luke Holmes in his starting XI.
Luke Holmes set Luke Burbidge free on the right in the first minute but his low cross-cum-shot was grasped by keeper Charlie Taylor, who made a comfortable save ten minutes later when Burbidge cut in from the left. In a cagey opening, it was clear that Chesham’s defence was well-organised and that clear-cut chances would be at a premium. But one of those came just before the quarter-hour mark – Burbidge lofted a ball over the back-line for the galloping Toby Holmes but his effort from an acute angle on the right found the side-netting.
On 18 minutes the busy Burbidge created a central opportunity for himself but dragged his shot wide of the post; Franklyn Clarke’s shot from 20 yards took a deflection before Taylor made the save; and after good inter-play down the right, Jordan Lee deceived the covering defender before driving the ball across the face of the goal from the by-line.
Chesham’s mobile mid-field and attack combined well with Ronny Nfinda shooting over on 7 minutes, Gerard Benfield making a catch at full-stretch from a flicked header on 22 minutes, and Dave Pearce firing wide from a short-corner routine two minutes later.
The Magpies’ best chances of the half came just before the break. Luke Holmes inviting cross from the right of the penalty box was met by a leaping Toby at the far post, but, heading back across the goal, he beat both the keeper and the post. Then, after a free-kick was half-cleared to the edge of the box, Bayston’s volley was blocked on the line by a well-positioned defender.
Now with the wind at their backs, Wimborne’s plans for the second period were thrown into disarray on 48 minutes when Davidson was sent off for something he’d said to the referee. The versatile Clarke joined the back-line with skipper Billy Maybury, who had an excellent game, joining Matt Oldring in central defence, and Lee moving over to the left.
A minute later keeper Taylor made a sprawling save at the feet of Toby, but, apart from some typical Burbidge trickery on the right, most of the play was towards the home goal as Chesham began to exert pressure. Pearce headed wide from Bradley Clayton’s cross; Lee hacked the ball away after Benfield made a good save from Billy Adcock’s long shot; Maybury made a vital stretching interception; Nfinda’s cross evaded everyone; and substitute Luke Heneghan’s shot from 20 yards went wide.
The last good chance of the game fell to substitute Aidan Shepherd. After a fine individual run, Burbidge slipped the ball through to the youngster but keeper Taylor made another sprawling save at his feet.
After two minutes of added-on time, Wimborne had that vital point thanks to another determined team performance epitomised by unsung hero Carl Pettefer in midfield. But everyone put in a shift and deserved their lap of honour in front of an appreciative crowd.
Matty’s men finished three points clear of relegation, above Dorchester, in a remarkable 14th place. Given Matty had only three weeks’ notice that we’d be playing our first ever season at Step 3, this is an amazing performance.
Bring on next season!!
*Basingstoke Town joined Staines and Frome Town in relegation to the Evo-Stik Southern Division.
Wimborne: Benfield, Lee, Maybury, Davidson, Oldring, Pettefer, Clarke, L.Holmes, T.Holmes (Shepherd 84), Burbidge, Bayston (Stokoe 56)
Unused subs: Collins, Francis