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Match Report: Hartley Wintney v AFC Totton

Post by KOB - 25-01-2017, 10:20

Tuesday 24th January ‘17
Hampshire Senior Cup 4th Round (Quarter Final)
HARTLEY WINTNEY v AFC TOTTON
Report by David Graham

Hartley Wintney’s efforts to reach the semi finals of the Hampshire Cup were thwarted when the match was abandoned at half time with the villagers leading 1-0.

Referee James Robinson decided that the frozen pitch was fit to start the match and advised that a review would be taken at half time. Hartley were quickly on their skates and could have been 3 goals up in the first 6 minutes. First, good play down the right by Dean Stow saw his cross dummied by Dec Shuttleworth, leaving a shot for Sam Argent whose effort hit the post. A minute later a quick break saw Luke Perkins in for a one-on-one with keeper Charlie Searle. The winger's shot was dragged wide of the post.

In another minute, good play down the right by Dean Stow led to a fierce shot from Louie Paget which was pushed over the bar by Searle.

The onslaught continued and on 19 minutes the villagers got the breakthrough. A corner on the right from Stow was pushed clear by Searle. The ball arrived at Adam New who hit a shot over his shoulder which went over the stranded visitors' keeper. (1-0)

On 27 minutes Hartley almost doubled their advantage. Stow and Perkins linked up well down the left and a high looping cross was taken on the volley by Sam Argent, whose shot went straight to Searle.

The visitors' first effort arrived on 33 minutes when Alfie Whittingham made good progress down the right. The cross found Neil Williams who shot well over.

On 44 minutes Dean Stow set up a chance for Sam Argent but the striker's effort went past the post.
HALF TIME: Hartley Wintney 1 AFC Totton 0

Referee Robinson called the captains together and, after a short discussion, abandoned the match with the conditions deteriorating.

It is understood that the re-match will probably take place at Hartley, although this has to be confirmed by the Hampshire FA. [D Graham]
  • KOB

    25-01-2017, 10:56

    They say it's always easy with the benefit of hindsight, but what percentage likelihood of success was the basis for attempting to play the game last night? 20%, 30%? The mid afternoon inspection passed the ground fit to play on, thanks to the few short hours of sun defrosting the top. But underneath it the ground had to still be frozen solid. And with clearing skies and the surely obvious plummeting temperatures that would follow, if the game was anywhere near 50% to go ahead at 3pm, it was surely obvious it wouldn't survive till 21.30.

    Two ways of looking at the referree's decision - and to be fair, for me James Robinson is one of the better officials at our level. 1] He wanted to do his best to get the game played at Hartley, not least perhaps aware that the rules state that a second postponement would have meant it automatically reverting to being played at Totton. 2] Whatever discussion he had on the phone with the inspection referree, he didn't use enough logic, common sense or check the weather forecast, instead deciding to make the decision after arriving. And then still deciding to play.

    There is no way that game would have seen out the 90 minutes safely. Totton's bench and a few of their players would have made sure of that while they were losing the game - and if you consider that an unfair, biased comment, well yes, perhaps it is, but I have to say I heard not one of our boys complain about the conditions; they got on with the job and managed to play some good, skilful football on the pitch... apart from down the line near the stand which fails to get the sun on it. Louie Paget practically did a rendition of Bolero on ice at one point, issuing no more than a "whoaaa". But that part of the pitch was the same at the start of the game, probably hours before it too. What changed at half-time? Well, the referee was swayed by Totton's players and bench. But perhaps they were right, it was too dangerous. I wasn't playing on it. But I was watching what our more skilful players were managing to achieve on it. I do, however, doubt they'd have been so sure footed in the second half and referee Robinson perhaps thought the exact same thing. But it was obvious from well before the start.

    Clubs get penalised by the leagues for all kinds of silly things, so I hope the Hampshire FA will take some responsibility for the decision of its appointed official. There's Totton's transport costs and the expenses of the home side in laying on all that's necessary in putting on a match. Should the clubs cover the costs of a bad decision, especially when the clubs themselves have no say in whether the game gets played or not? We get told, we do it. As fans, we hear the game is on, we turn up. There are costs involved. Personally I'm more than happy for the club to have my money as I know it'll be used well, but that's not the point. Clubs are being bled dry and it's time the leagues take more responsibility for the costs of events like this.

    As for the game, the boys played well, could well have gone in 3 or 4 up at the break. AFC Totton will no doubt blame the conditions but I believe we were playing on the same pitch. Did our visitors do their best to get the game called off because they knew it would then revert to a home tie for them? No, I'm sure that's not the case and they were simply fearing for their health, which is fair enough. As it turns out, I understand there's now a chance it will be replayed at Hartley, but home or away I'm sure we'll be just as motivated to carry on from where we left off last night.
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